Electricity

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are most common, though occasionally UK flat three-pin plugs are used.

Language

Arabic is the official language, but English is understood by most people involved in the tourist industry, and by middle to upper-class Jordanians.

Money

The official currency is the dinar (JOD), which is divided into 10 dirhams, 100 piastres or 1,000 fulus. Foreign currency can be changed at any bank or moneychanger. Banks are closed on Fridays. Better hotels will also exchange money. American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club are the most widely accepted credit cards and can be used at major hotels, restaurants and tourist shops; cash can be withdrawn from inside banks. ATMs are available throughout Amman and in other major cities, but are harder to find in rural areas.

Tipping

The better hotels and restaurants add a 10 percent service charge to the bill, but smaller establishments usually expect a tip. It is customary to round up the price of a taxi trip instead of tipping.

Health

Proof of vaccination is required if travellers are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs, and a vaccination for typhoid is recommended for most travellers, particularly those who are venturing to rural areas, travelling for a long time or visiting friends or relatives. It is advisable to drink bottled water, which is cheap and widely available, though better hotels have their own water filtering systems. Medical facilities are basic outside of Amman and travellers should seek treatment in Amman or Aqaba in the event of an emergency. Adequate travel health insurance is essential and should cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Safety

The vast majority of tourist visits to Jordan are safe and trouble free, but there is a risk of terrorist attacks. Travellers should maintain a degree of vigilance at all times, particularly in public places and at tourist attractions. They should also avoid all areas near the borders with Iraq and Syria due to military activity, the threat of kidnapping by terrorist groups, and the lack of emergency facilities. Public demonstrations and political gatherings could potentially turn violent, so travellers should steer clear. Crime levels are generally low, and incidents mostly involve pick pocketing, bag snatching and theft from cars; visitors should take sensible precautions to keep their money, passports and valuables secure. Women travellers should exercise caution when hiking in some of Jordan's more remote areas, as they may receive unwanted attention from men or groups of men.

Local customs

Visitors should respect religious customs around eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours, particularly during the month of Ramadan. The consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden in the streets and it is advisable to respect local Muslim conservatism regarding dress. Women in particular will be better received if their legs and shoulders are covered in public places. Jordanian law doesn't explicitly prohibit homosexual acts, but locals generally don't tolerate public displays of affection between homosexual couples. Bedouin hospitality is genuine, though custom requires that visitors leave some small gift in return for a meal or a glass of tea. Bargaining is expected with merchants, especially in the markets.

Doing business

Jordanian business people generally prefer dark, conservative suits and ties for initial meetings, though casual dress is becoming more acceptable in certain industries. Conservative yet stylish attire is a good choice for women. As is the case in most Arab countries, business is very male-dominated, so women should clarify their role early in meetings. Meetings often start very late, but it is always advised to be punctual nonetheless. Most business is conducted in English, though using a few words of Arabic (particularly for titles) will be appreciated. Business cards are often exchanged. It is common to be invited for meals by one's host, who will usually pay the bill, though it is appreciated if the guest pays for the final meal or gives a small gift. Business hours are usually 9.30am to 1.30pm and 3.30pm to 6pm Sunday to Thursday.

Duty free

Travellers to Jordan who are older than 18 years of age do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, normal cigars with a value not exceeding JOD 20, or Cuban cigars with a value not exceeding JOD 70; 1 litre of alcohol; and gifts to the value of JD200. Restricted items include firearms, sporting guns and other weapons without prior approval from authorities of country of origin and destination country. Prohibited items include all narcotics and birds or bird products.

Communications

The international dialling code for Jordan is +962. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). Free WiFi is available in most prominent hotels and international coffee shops; travellers can purchase prepaid SIM cards for unlocked phones.

Passport & Visa

All foreign passengers to Jordan must hold return or onward tickets, and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and most nationalities require a visa to enter Jordan, which can be obtained on arrival, if travellers are arriving by air. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry requirements

US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival.

British citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required and can be obtained on arrival.

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival.

Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival.

South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days. It is possible to apply for an extension.

Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival.

New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Jordan. A visa is required, and can be obtained on arrival.

Useful contacts

Jordan Tourism Board, Amman: +96 26 5678 444 or www.visitjordan.com

General: 911

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Embassy of Jordan, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 966 2664.

Embassy of Jordan, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 20 7937 3685.

Embassy of Jordan, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 8090.

Embassy of Jordan, Canberra, Australia (also responsible for New Zealand): +61 2 6295 9951.

Embassy of Jordan, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 346 8615.

Embassies / consulates in Jordan

United States Embassy, Amman: +962 6 590 6000.

British Embassy, Amman: +962 6 590 9200.

Canadian Embassy, Amman: +962 6 520 3300.

Australian Embassy, Amman: +962 6 580 7000.

South African Embassy, Amman: +962 6 592 1194.

Irish Honourary Consulate, Amman: +962 6 553 3616.

New Zealand Consulate, Ankara, Turkey (also responsible for Jordan): +90 312 446 3333.

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