is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Amman. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Jordan.
For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Jordan country page for
original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of
which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC
The current U.S. Department of State Travel
Advisory at the date of this report’s publication
assesses Jordan at Level 2, indicating travelers should exercise increased
caution due to terrorism. Do not travel to the border with Syria and Iraq due
to terrorism and armed conflict. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding
the Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and
U.S. Department of State has assessed Amman as being a LOW-threat location
for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Jordan
remains a low-threat crime country. Although criminal activity targeting Western
expatriates is uncommon, foreigners should exercise vigilance at tourist sites
and crowded locations. Common petty crimes, include pickpocketing and bag
snatching, have targeted foreigners in the tourist areas of Amman’s city center.
When carrying a purse or bag, hold it close to your person by wearing it over
your neck and shoulder. Conceal wallets and other valuables and avoid
displaying credit cards and cash. Try to maintain a low profile by not drawing
unnecessary attention to yourself through behavior, jewelry, or clothing. Travelers
can increase their personal security by traveling in pairs or small groups and by
varying routes and times in daily activities. Jordanian police warn the public
to exercise vigilance when leaving banks and ATMs to avoid targeting from
opportunistic thieves. Review OSAC’s reports, All
That You Should Leave Behind,The
Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud,
U.S. Embassy is aware of scams in Jordan affecting tourists and Embassy
personnel. In the tourist areas of Petra and Wadi Rum, there have been reports
of individuals acting aggressively as unofficial tour guides attempting to
extort money from tourists. Romance schemes have also occurred in which local
men attempt to develop relationships with female tourists to solicit money.
harassment and assault are concerns for women in Jordan, including Western and
foreign women, with most cases involving inappropriate staring, verbal harassment,
stalking, indecent exposure, and touching. The Embassy continues to receive
reports of sexual assault and harassment against women. Foreigners should be
mindful of cultural differences; some Jordanians may see seemingly innocuous
behavior such as riding in the front seat of a taxi or even polite conversation
with the opposite sex as forward and/or inviting. To avoid any
misunderstandings, women should ride in the back seat of taxis, dress modestly,
carry a charged cell phone, and avoid solo travel to unfamiliar areas,
especially at night.
2019 and consistent with previous years, the U.S. Embassy received several
reports of minor thefts at diplomatic residences, to include theft of patio
furniture, propane tanks, and diesel fuel.
theft and vehicle break-ins are infrequent but do occur. Park vehicles in
well-lighted or secured areas, and ensure nothing of value is in plain sight
inside the vehicle.
possession, transport, and sales remain a serious concern for Jordanian
authorities. Criminal and terrorist elements have used available firearms against
police and security personnel conducting law enforcement operations. Although
against Jordanian law, celebratory gunfire, especially during weddings,
funerals, and upon the release of academic results, is common and a concern. Additional
issues include altercations between tribes and retaliatory attacks.
year witnessed a growing trend of internet scams, primarily using fictitious
social media accounts purporting to be current or former U.S. government
officials. In some instances, those perpetrating the fraud have claimed to be
U.S. embassy employees offering jobs or visas to the United States. Remain
vigilant to protect against cyber solicitation, identity theft, and scams. Do
not send money to any person or business entity that you do not know
personally. For more information on international financial scams, see the Consular
Affairs website. Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity
Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling
with Mobile Devices: Trends & Best Practices, and Satellite
Phones: Critical or Contraband?
Other Areas of Concern
In 2019, the Syrian regime regained control of land in southern
Syria near Jordan’s northwest border, which had been held by opposition forces.
On multiple occasions in 2018, explosive ordnance landed inside Jordan within
10km of the border with Syria. Travelers should avoid Jordan's borders with Syria and Iraq, given the continued
threat of cross-border activity, including the risk of terrorist attack. Due
to ongoing conflicts in the region and border security concerns, the U.S.
Embassy maintains a strict travel policy for personnel. All
U.S. government employees must receive prior permission to
visit refugee camps and any area within 10km of the Syrian border, and all areas
east of Ruwayshid toward the Iraq border. Embassy personnel must use
armored vehicles equipped with tracking and communication devices for travel to
these areas. Prior to any such travel, the Regional Security Office consults
with Jordanian security officials to ascertain hazards and, if necessary,
arranges additional security measures.
Al-Karama border crossing between Iraq and Jordan opened in 2017, and the Jaber
border crossing between Syria and Jordan reopened in 2018. The U.S. government
warns U.S. citizens against travel to Syria or Iraq due to terrorism, civil
unrest, and armed conflict. Lethal force is authorized to prevent anyone from
crossing illegally into Jordan from Syria.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
road conditions in urban environments are generally good. Driving conditions in
rural areas can be hazardous, as roads are less developed. Avoid driving
outside Amman city limits at night; poor
lighting increases driving hazards associated with unmarked traffic patterns,
livestock crossings, construction detours along major highways, and erratic
accidents are common and can result in serious injuries/fatalities. Excessive
speeding and failure to obey traffic regulations are common. Drive defensively,
wear seatbelts, and use caution. Drivers may resolve minor accidents at the
scene, although some parties may escalate tensions and demand immediate
compensation. It is typical for drivers in Jordan not to signal for turns or
lane changes. Drivers tend to be aggressive, and cars operate very closely
together on highways.
roads are particularly treacherous during the rainy season, which runs from
October to March. Heavy snowfall can occur in winter months (December to
February), making many roads – even major highways – impassable for several
days. Driving in Amman also is hazardous in the summer months of June to
September when Jordan experiences an influx of visitors from other countries in
the region. Highway traffic is heavy around the Muslim holidays, when Jordanian
expatriates return to Jordan for family visits.
Desert Highway outside Aqaba, as well as the Dead Sea Highway from Amman, both
popular tourist routes, are dangerous because they are narrow, winding, steep,
and crowded with trucks. Avoid using these roads at night. When driving in both
urban and rural areas, beware of unmarked speed bumps and livestock, including
camels, sheep, and goats. Collisions with livestock are common.
must have a valid Jordanian license or a valid foreign license with an
International Driving Permit to drive in Jordan. U.S. visitors who intend to
drive should obtain an International Driving Permit before travel to Jordan.
Temporary visitors may use their valid U.S. driver's licenses only to rent green-plated
and passengers must wear seatbelts. All cars must have a fire extinguisher and
warning triangle in the vehicle. Child car seats are not required by law. Fines
for speeding can exceed $140. Cameras enforce speeding laws on many roads. Talking
on a cell phone while driving is prohibited. If police stop you, you may face a
fine. Police may pull over speeding drivers, as well as those believed to be
driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
drivers must carry local third-party insurance with sufficient coverage for
accidents resulting in injury or death. Drivers involved in an accident should
remain at the scene and immediately call the police and emergency personnel in
case injuries have occurred. Police frequently hold the driver’s license or
passport to prevent the driver from fleeing. Drivers may recover identification
documents at the police station. It is common for foreign drivers to receive
blame for accidents, regardless of the actual circumstances. Following an
accident, the other party may file criminal or civil charges to seek damages. Police
have occasionally detained U.S. citizen drivers as a result.
OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad,
Driving Overseas: Best
Practices, and Evasive Driving
Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving
and road safety abroad.
Public Transportation Conditions
only licensed commercial taxis, which are available at most major hotels and
tourist sites. Insist that the driver not pick up additional passengers. Although
not an issue unique to Jordan, commercial taxis have been overcharged
foreigners and taken indirect routes to increase fares. This is more prevalent
when taking taxis to and from major hotel chains. Ride sharing services such as
Uber and Careem are available in Jordan.
personnel may not ride on public buses due to security and safety concerns. In
recent years, individuals targeted private bus lines with rock throwing and
other forms of harassment throughout Jordan, primarily on the Desert Highway
between Amman and Aqaba. The are no restrictions on Jordan Express Tourist
Transport (JETT) buses for Embassy personnel. Review OSAC’s report, Security
In Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
2018, Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) and Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
implemented heightened security interviews for passengers at check-in and
security screenings in line with Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
recommendations. This is in addition to enhanced screening of personal
electronic devices at the last point of
departure to the United States. Currently, RJ operates regular direct flights
to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and New York John F. Kennedy
International Airport (JFK). The U.S. coordinates
with Jordanian authorities to further bolster security.
Hussein International Airport (AQJ) in Aqaba primarily serves regional
commercial passenger and cargo flights, as well as regular flights to and from AMM.
There are no direct flights to the United States from AQJ.
Civil Airport (ADJ), commonly known as Marka International Airport, is
approximately 3 miles (5km) northeast of Amman’s city center. Primarily a
military airport, it also serves as a civilian airport for chartered and VIP
private flights, as well as for air cargo. There are no direct commercial flights
to the United States from ADJ.
to ongoing military activity throughout Syrian airspace, the U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration issued a Special Federal Aviation Regulation
prohibiting flight operations over Syria by all U.S. air carriers, commercial
operators, and code share partners with minor exceptions.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Amman as being a HIGH-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting
official U.S. government interests. The threat of terrorism across Jordan remains
high. Local, regional, and transnational terrorist groups/extremists have
demonstrated a willingness and capacity to plan and execute attacks in Jordan. Jordan
is a key U.S. ally in combating terrorism and extremist ideology. Jordanian
security services participated in military operations of the Coalition to
Defeat ISIS, and bolstered defenses against terrorist incursions on the
country’s borders. Jordan hosts U.S. military personnel for anti-ISIS
operations, joint exercises, and training. Jordan has shown itself to be a
willing and capable partner in the fight against terrorism. Jordanian
authorities have taken proactive measures to secure tourist sites. However, it
is prudent to maintain a level of vigilance and awareness of your surroundings.
are the most notable terrorism-related events in Jordan in 2018-19:
November 2019, a lone actor attacked tourists with a knife and cleaver at a
popular archeological tourist location in Jerash. The attacker wounded eight
people, four of whom were foreign tourists. Jordanian authorities arrested the
attacker and conducted an investigation to determine the motive for the attack.
August 2018, an improvised explosive device (IED) placed underneath a Jordanian
Police bus killed one officer and injured six others in Fuheis, approximately
12 km from Amman. The following day, Jordanian security forces targeted the
suspected responsible terrorist cell in the city of Salt. Security forces
exchanged gunfire with the suspects, destroying the building housing the
suspects. Three suspected terrorists and four officers died during the
Religious, and Ethnic Violence
U.S. Department of State has assessed Amman as being a HIGH-threat location for political violence directed at or
affecting official U.S. government interests. Political violence has
traditionally focused on Arab-Israeli relations, government subsidies, and
local grievances (e.g. corruption, access to water, government services, and
jobs). Violence in the West Bank and Gaza has led to demonstrations and anti-government/anti-U.S.
sentiment in Jordan. While most instances of political unrest in 2019 did not relate
directly to U.S. interests, the potential for directed political violence
in 2017, protest activity at the U.S. Embassy swelled with the announcement
that the U.S. would move its Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In
reaction to this announcement, nightly protests continued outside of the U.S.
Embassy in Amman for approximately two months. On the first Friday following
the announcement, approximately 5,000 demonstrators gathered outside the
Embassy. As the month progressed, the numbers decreased. All protests outside
the Embassy concluded without violence and featured appropriate security force
at universities continues to be a problem. Disagreements stemming from
university elections, tribal affiliations, and perceived grievances and
injustices incited disturbances at universities. The U.S. Embassy noted 11
instances of non-violent campus demonstrations in 2019.
are frequent rallies, demonstrations, and protests in Jordan. In 2019, the Embassy noted over 1,000 demonstrations
throughout the country. Most of these demonstrations were small, contained, and
non-violent. Of note, several large protests occurred in Amman due to economic
number of large anti-government demonstrations has increased this year
throughout Jordan. During these events protestors burned tires, destroyed
vehicles, blocked roads, and clashed with Gendarmerie and security forces. Government
policies and corruption, few job opportunities, taxes, wages, reduced
subsidies, and other perceived injustices continue to fuel demonstrations.
and protests can escalate to violence or disorder, sometimes resulting in road
closures and confrontations with security forces. Demonstrations require permits;
security personnel closely monitor these events to ensure public order.
large crowds and demonstrations and exercise particular vigilance in areas
where protests are most likely to occur (e.g. city centers, universities,
refugee camps, government buildings), particularly during periods of increased
tension. Review OSAC’s report, Surviving
to the Syrian refugee crisis, Jordan hosts the second-highest share of refugees
per capita in the world. According to a 2019 UNHCR report and Jordanian government
reporting, Jordan’s population is approximately 10 million, including 3 million
non-citizens. In addition to Palestinian refugees, Jordan hosts approximately 654,000
UNHCR-registered Syrian refugees (though government officials report as many as
1.3 million Syrians live in Jordan) and 67,000 Iraqi refugees. Since the
reopening of the Syrian border in October 2018, approximately 34,000 Syrian
refugees have returned to Syria. The refugee influx has strained government
resources as the country confronts its own socio-economic challenges, which
include unemployment, rising inflation, and increased costs of basic
between feuding tribes, clans, or families can exacerbate tensions and fuel
unrest. Disagreements can lead to violent clashes without notice and often
involve the use of firearms. Violent clashes have escalated to the point where
Jordanian security forces intervened.
issues can inflame anti-U.S./anti-Western sentiment. U.S. involvement in Iraq
and Syria as well as U.S government policies
on Israel have fueled anti-U.S. sentiment. Certain segments of the Jordanian
population view U.S. policy and military operations in the region unfavorably. Recent
surveys of Jordanians show that more than 80% of the population holds an
unfavorable view of the U.S. government. According
to surveys, this sentiment does not generally extend to unfavorable views of U.S.
citizens or U.S. culture, though U.S. citizens should always maintain a high
level of vigilance.
2019, five protests took place in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy. All
protests were small in scale and remained peaceful. The protests were in
opposition to U.S. foreign policy in the region.
region experiences regular seismic activity. Recent small-scale seismic tremors
have not caused significant damage.
Flash flooding continues to be a concern throughout Jordan. The
areas around the Dead Sea, Jordan Valley area, and Wadi Musa experienced heavy
rainfall in 2018, resulting in flash flooding. In October 2018, flash flooding
in the Zara Maeen Hot Springs area near the Dead Sea resulted in at least 18
deaths; many of those killed were students on a school trip. Search and rescue
personnel launched a major operation, rescuing 34 people.
In November 2018, heavy rains and
flash floods throughout the country caused 12 deaths. At the popular tourist
site of Petra, authorities evacuated nearly 3,500 tourists to safe areas due to
severe flash flooding.
inform the public of severe weather conditions, the Jordanian government
instituted a nationwide emergency SMS alert broadcast (911) in Arabic to all
cellular devices in the country.
suffers from a lack of water, and drought is a major concern; the country may
experience six months or more of no significant rainfall.
dust storms that envelop the country for days or weeks each spring may
significantly aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma or sinus
Throughout 2019, the economic situation in Jordan continued
to be the cause of protest activity. Beginning in September, the Jordanian
Teachers Syndicate organized a nationwide strike and large numbers of
demonstrations calling for increased salaries. As the protesters began to
organize, authorities attempted to prohibit the protestors from gathering by
blocking traffic thoroughfares into Amman and the desired protest site near the
Prime Minister’s office. As a result, small-scale protests erupted in areas
leading to the location. The authorities resorted to the use of tear gas to
disperse the demonstrators. On October 5, the government addressed the
protesters demands and agreed upon a tier pay raise for the teachers.
May and June of 2018, Jordanians angered over a new draft income tax law took
to the streets and protested in numbers not previously seen in Jordan. Upwards
of 5,000 demonstrators converged on critical traffic hubs and the Prime
Minister’s office (Fourth Circle) in Amman, forcing the government to address
the protesters’ demands. In response, the King called for a new government and replaced
the Prime Minister, along with many other ministers. However, in November 2018,
Parliament passed the controversial new tax law. At the onset, public
disapproval was relatively muted, but altercations soon erupted between the
protesters and security forces. To disperse the protesters and keep major
roadways open, the police took the uncommon step of deploying tear gas.
of digital media and counterfeiting of computer software is prevalent, despite
efforts by the government to stem the flow of counterfeit products.
have seized counterfeit currency in numerous arrests over the last several
years, often in conjunction with illicit drugs and firearms.
Personal Identity Concerns
plays a significant role in Jordanian society. Be cognizant of gender-specific
norms and cultural insensitivities. The U.S. Embassy is aware of cases where
U.S. citizens have been subject to domestic violence and abandonment by their
spouses, including incidents of restrictions of movement through travel holds,
loss of custody of children, or forced marriage. Women and children should pay
particular attention to any warning signs, including husbands or other family
members withholding money or travel documents after arrival in Jordan. Report cases
of domestic violence to the Family Protection Department. Review the State
Department’s webpage on security for female
is largely tolerant of religious minorities, but the Jordanian government
considers proselytizing to Muslims (including the distribution of religious
material) illegal. Those who the government believes to be engaging in this
activity are subject to deportation or non-renewal of visa or residency permits,
sometimes with little or no advance notice. Religious differences can
exacerbate any arguments or disagreements, sometimes causing Jordanian
authorities to intervene and/or deport individuals for their own protection. Due
to regional tensions, practitioners of certain faiths may experience increased
scrutiny and unwelcome attention. Review OSAC’s report, Freedom
to Practice, and the State Department’s webpage on security for faith-based
same-sex conduct is not illegal; however, societal discrimination against LGBTI+
persons is prevalent, and LGBTI+ persons are sometimes targets of abuse. Conservative
cultural and religious norms restrict Jordanian LGBTI+ persons from being open
about their sexual orientation. Same-sex displays of affection in public may
elicit severe reactions. Authorities may use laws forbidding adultery or
breaches of modesty against LGBTI+ travelers. In previous years, some
parliamentarians and public commentators called for the arrest/expulsion of
U.S. diplomats who voiced public support for LGBTI+ rights. Gay and lesbian
Jordanians frequently hide their sexuality, even from family members. Family
members who discover that a relative is LGBTI+ may target them for “honor”
crimes. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+
making strides to accommodate individuals with disabilities, Jordan does not
have uniform mechanisms to accommodate persons with wheelchairs and other
disabilities. Outside of a few of the more upscale hotels in the capital,
individuals with disabilities will find almost no accessible accommodations.
Similarly, there are very few accessible restaurants, shops, or historical
sites. Transportation is not accessible and sidewalks and crosswalks, even in
the main cities, are not accessible. Handicap-accessible toilets and bathrooms,
even in major hospitals, are generally not available. However, at least one
local NGO has created an on-line service reporting accessibility of tourist
sites and other locations in Jordan. Travelers who rely on accessibility
assistance should research before planning travel to Jordan. Review the State
Department’s webpage on security for travelers
is illegal to use and/or distribute drugs in Jordan. Jordan has strict drug
laws and authorities make arrests for possession, use, or simply being in the
proximity of drugs. Penalties for drug offenses are severe; authorities view drugs
as threats to state security. Captagon (fenethylline), heroin, hashish, and
marijuana remain the predominant illegal drugs in Jordan.
geographic location between drug producing and drug consuming countries makes
it a primary transit point for smugglers. Jordan’s northern border with Syria
is an area of concern; Jordanian border guards have responded to illegal
crossings for those seeking to smuggle drugs and weapons.
threat of kidnapping by terrorist and criminal groups is a concern. In recent
years, Jordanian authorities have foiled plots targeting U.S. citizens and
November 2017, authorities arrested and charged five people with plotting to kidnap and kill foreign
tourists from the Roman amphitheater in Amman; the five received multi-year
prison sentences involving hard labor.
OSAC’s report, Picture This: Dos and
Don’ts for Photography.
Jordanian constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, with
some restrictions. Insulting the King or members of the Royal Family may lead
to detainment or imprisonment. Review OSAC’s report, Lèse Majesté: Watching what you say (and type) abroad.
Jordanian government currently prohibits use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
or drones without approval. Authorities at airports or border crossings are
likely to confiscate drones brought into Jordan without authorization; their
use in Jordan may draw the attention of the security services. Read the State
Department’s webpage on customs
and import restrictions for information on what you
cannot take into or out of other countries.
emergency line in Jordan is 911, with
services in Arabic, English, and international sign language. The Jordanian
Public Security Directorate (PSD) is proactive and responsive when dealing with
criminal activity. The PSD is the primary law enforcement entity that responds
to emergencies in Jordan. The PSD is responsible for law enforcement,
protection of visiting dignitaries, routine crime prevention, traffic control,
locating missing persons, and protecting public venues. The Director General of
Public Security heads PSD and reports to the Interior Minister. For local first
responders, refer to the Embassy’s Emergency Assistance page.
December 2019, the King of Jordan called for the General Directorate of the
Gendarmerie and Directorate for Civil Defense to merge under PSD. The
Gendarmerie is primarily responsible for maintaining internal security, to
include riot control and the protection of diplomatic missions. The Gendarmerie
also supports other security agencies as needed. The Civil Defense is
responsible for fire, natural disaster, and hazmat response.
Directorate of Military Security (DMS) is subordinate to the Jordanian Armed
Forces (JAF) and is the military’s primary security and counterintelligence
General Intelligence Directorate (GID) is one of the most important and
professional intelligence agencies in the region.
authorities may treat Jordanian-Americans as Jordanian citizens, and not promptly
notify the Embassy. In such cases, a family member should contact the Embassy
on the detainee’s behalf.
the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.
Modern medical care and medicines
are generally available in Jordan’s main cities, but not always in outlying
areas. Facilities can handle most acute and chronic medical conditions appropriately.
When called, ambulances are often slow to arrive, and personnel generally have
only a basic level of training. For medical assistance, refer to the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.
Most hospitals in Jordan,
especially in Amman, are private. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate
cash payment or a high deposit for services. Because serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States could
cost more than $150,000, the U.S. Department of State strongly recommends
purchasing international health insurance before traveling internationally.
Review the State Department’s webpage on insurance overseas. All visitors should have
insurance coverage for hospitalization and medical evacuation (medevac).
The CDC offers additional
information on vaccines and health guidance for Jordan.
OSAC’s reports, The
Healthy Way, Traveling
with Medication, I’m
Drinking What in My Water?, Shaken:
The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad, Health 101: How to Prepare for Travel, and Fire
OSAC Country Council
Amman Country Council meets intermittently. Contact OSAC’s Middle East and
North Africa Team for more information or to join.
U.S. Embassy Contact
Al-Umawiyeen Street in the Abdoun
neighborhood of West Amman.
Hours of Operation: 0800-1700
Sunday to Thursday.
Embassy Operator: +962-(0)6-590-6000
Emergency calls after normal
business hours: +962-(0)6-590-6500
Department Emergency Line: +1-202-501-4444
you travel, consider the following resources: