Traveling on an Indian passport can be restrictive at times with all the visa requirements and their onerous application processes. However, Jordan is one of the countries that offers visa on arrival for a 2 week stay to Indians. The requirements that are outlined to get a visa on arrival are quite unique and might be problematic for some.
The general requirements for a visa on arrival are:
- Confirmed flight tickets out of Jordan within two weeks
- Confirmed hotel reservations for the full duration of your stay
- 1000 USD cash per person (or equivalent in EUR, GBP or another major currency)
- 40 JD visa fees
It is the cash requirement above that seems to be most problematic. Most travelers do not want to carry 1000 USD cash with them. Also, for those whose native currency is not the USD, they perhaps don’t want to pay a 3% spread on two conversions. However, it’s not really as bad as it seems since you can use the 1000 USD for your expenses in Jordan. The JD is pegged to the USD so you will receive very good exchange rates on cash. The rates will most likely be far better than your bank since most banks charge 2-3% on currency conversions for international withdrawals. So bring the 1000 USD and use it for all your expenses. Please note that you should exchange your money into JD in the city since the airport currency exchanges carry a surcharge. Since the USD is pegged to the JD, the exchange spread is very low (around 0.20%) so you can get about 70.8 JD for every 100 USD in the city.
The Jordan Pass is a new scheme that has been launched by Jordan Tourism. The Jordan Pass costs 70 JD and grants you entry into Petra for one day and several other sites around Jordan. If you pay for a more expensive pass, you can get multiple days in Petra. The key factor however is that if you hold a Jordan Pass, your entry visa fees are waived. Since a one day entry to Petra is 50JD and the visa costs 40JD, you effectively save about 20 JD if you get a one day Jordan pass (70JD) and are hence not required to pay for an entry visa. This only applies, of course, if you are going to visit Petra. You can buy the Jordan Pass online with a credit card before you arrive in Jordan. In fact, to have your visa fees waived, you MUST buy your pass before you arrive in Jordan.
So armed with a print out of the Jordan Pass, and all the requirements above (except for the 40JD fee since that is supposed to be waived), I arrived in Jordan. For those who might not want to carry money, or want to carry a different currency, there is an ATM and a currency exchange before immigration at Queen Alia Airport (Amman airport).
The process for those holding a Jordan Pass is slightly different. You go to the “Tourist Voucher” counter, where the officer will look at your Jordan Pass and write something in Arabic in your passport. Then, you go to another counter and the immigration officer will stamp you in. It appears that the Jordan Pass is processed as a group visit type of visa since the stamp says “Tourist Collective”.
Although I was carrying all the documents and required cash, the officers did not ask me any questions or ask for any documents or cash. They just went about their business with the print out of the Jordan Pass that I showed them. The whole process took less than 5 minutes.
Once we were through immigration we collected our bags and were on our way to a new adventure in Jordan!