There are a few land border crossings between Jordan and Israel and if you are not concerned about getting any evidence in your passport from your visit to Israel then which crossing you go to and what stamps you get is less important. I was told that the Allenby/King Hussein crossing (easily accessible from Amman) can take hours to cross, and was given the advice from an Aqaba local to cross from there at the Wadi Araba crossing.
I, however, did not want any evidence of an entry into Israel because I would like to at some point visit Iran and Lebanon, two countries that automatically refuse entry if you have evidence of an Israeli visit in you passport. To do this you need to avoid two things:
- An Israeli visa stamp in your passport – most border immigrations will give you one on a separate piece of paper, but best to ask.
- A Jordan exit stamp which will obviously tell them you exited Jordan at a border with Israel. But this will only work if you then re-enter Jordan within the timeframe of your original Jordanian visa, so that it appears that you never left the country. Then later exiting Jordan from either one of the airports or at the ferry terminal from Aqaba to Egypt, hopefully getting a ‘real’ exit stamp in your passport next to your original Jordanian entry visa.
Here I will outline how I crossed the border from Jordan to Israel at Wadi Araba without any stamps:
NOTE: There may be changes to the border rules without notice (or the immigration officer might jut be having a bad day) so I can not guarantee that this will work for everyone.
- Get a lift from Aqaba to the Wadi Araba border crossing – approx 10mins. Either by taxi or from a kind local (Isaac from Aqaba Anchor Dive Centre helped us out a lot – a very kind guy with an awesome dive set up too!). The crossing is open 6:30am-8pm (Sun-Thurs), 8am-8pm (Fri/Sat) – but double check these at the time!
- I arrived there at approx 5pm and it was very quiet.
- Jordan border:
- Bag security check
- Pay the Jordan exit tax is 10JD (for some reason we never had to pay that, but I have no idea why?).
- Pass through Jordan immigration – here it is really important to speak to them about not stamping your passport with an exit stamp. This took a bit of a discussion and questioning, but basically I explained that I didn’t want a stamp because I would like to visit Iran and Lebanon etc and I will be returning to Jordan via this border again before my Jordan visa expired. Eventually I was given a form to write down my details and then this was stamped with the exit stamp instead of my passport. BUT, make sure to watch the whole process, the officer almost stamped my passport because he was working on automation. Luckily I was watching and stopped him just in time!
- Walk from the Jordan border to the Israeli border.
- Israeli border:
- Pass through security check. They only scanned my bags and took surface samples for drugs/explosives, but I have heard that they often go through your whole bags too.
- Pass through immigration. The lady got cranky at me for asking that my passport not be stamped “We don’t stamp passports anyway” she said, but it was best to double check. I was asked a lot of questions about what I had done in Jordan, where I had traveled to so far on my trip, what I planned to do in Israel (I was told to only say visit the beaches and party in Tel Aviv – never to mention visiting West Bank, and even Jerusalem can be questionable). I was then given an Israeli visa on a separate piece of paper. Do not lose this!
- Enter Israel! The taxis to Eilat are very expensive as they have a monopoly at the border crossing, but it is only an ~5km walk into town, so it is easily done by foot.
Exiting Israel back to Jordan at the same border crossing:
- Get to the border crossing – I caught a bus from Tel Aviv to Eilat, but asked the bus driver to drop me off at the road to the border which is just before you reach the city of Eilat. From the highway it is about a 500m walk to the border. I got there at about 12:30pm and it was very quiet. You can also walk from Eilat to the border, it is about 5km.
- Israeli border:
- Enter the border crossing facility – here was where I got the most questions just from the security guard.
- Pay your departure tax – 105 Sheckles. I paid in cash but I think you can pay by card. The departure tax is usually integrated in the price of a plane ticket which is why you usually don’t see this when you fly out of a country.
- Pass through a security check.
- Israel immigration – I didn’t get questioned at all about my stay in Israel, but I have heard about others being grilled. Here I received an exit permit on a separate piece of paper.
- Walk from the Israeli border to the Jordan border.
- Jordan border:
- Visa check – my original Jordan visa was for a single entry only. So I had to fill out a separate form for a short term visa into Jordan (I was catching the ferry to Egypt within 24 hours). I didn’t have to pay anything for this short term visa.
- Pass through immigration – here I had to explain that I got my exit stamp from Jordan on a piece of paper (and showed it to the officer) and why I didn’t want an entry stamp in my passport. The officer was pretty grumpy but reluctantly stamped a piece of paper for me.
- Enter back into Jordan! The taxis here have a bit of a monopoly on the market, so a taxi to Aqaba town cost 11JD. But it is too far to walk. I waited for a little while to try and share a taxi with others, but nobody else came through.
It was done! I managed to spend some time in Israel without any evidence in my passport that can cause issues with entering some other countries!
Now all I needed was a normal exit stamp right next to my original Jordan entry visa in my passport, which I got at the ferry terminal at Aqaba that evening when I caught the ferry to Nuweiba in Egypt! Winning!
As I said previously, I can’t guarantee this will work for everyone as it can depend on rule changes or really grumpy immigration officers. But it worked for me and for another friend who did the same thing a few days later.
I hope this can be helpful for other travellers 🙂
Take a read of my Jordan blog posts here:
- Amman – Jordan
- The ancient city of Petra – Jordan
- The Dead Sea – Jordan
- Traveling through Jordan on a budget
- Wadi Rum – Jordan
And those from Israel/Palestine here: