We spent 2 amazing weeks in Jordan, a country that truly has something for everyone! Jordan is one of the most tourist-friendly countries in the Middle East to visit due to a combination of incredible sights, warm and friendly locals and decent tourism infrastructure.
Unfortunately, Jordan isn’t as budget-friendly as some of its neighbours, but we managed to save some money and make our lives a lot easier during our trip by purchasing the Jordan Pass before our visit.
In this review you’ll find everything you need to know to decide whether the Jordan Pass is right for you!
What is the Jordan Pass?
For those who don’t know, the Jordan Pass is a wonderful initiative by the Jordan Ministry of Tourism to make it easier for tourists to travel independently in Jordan. Basically, the Jordan Pass works like a normal ‘city pass’ by allowing free or discounted entry to many popular and interesting tourism sites within the country, saving tourists heaps on money on entry fees.
Most notable for international tourists is that the Jordan Pass includes two of the most expensive fees when visiting Jordan; the Petra entrance ticket and visa on arrival.
How to Buy the Jordan Pass & Costs
The Jordan Pass offers three different passes, depending on the number of days entry you’d like to explore Petra.
All Jordan Passes offer the following:
- Free tourist visa on arrival (if eligible – see below), provided you stay at least 3 nights in Jordan and purchase the pass before arrival
- Free entry to over 40 attractions in Jordan
- Free digital brochures and maps
- 2 weeks validity on pass (for fee free entrance to sites), starting the first time the pass is scanned (you have 12 months to start using the pass after purchase or it will expire)
How and Where to Buy the Jordan Pass:
- Go to the official Jordan Pass website and click ‘buy now’
- Enter your contact details and select the type of pass you want (Jordan Wanderer, Jordan Explorer or Jordan Expert), and how many tickets you’re purchasing
- Enter your details (you’ll need to know the date of birth and passport number for everyone travelling)
- Check everything is correct and complete payment (NOTE: there is a processing fee of approx. 2 JD per ticket, and only Visa and MasterCard are accepted)
- Your Jordan Pass should be delivered to your email inbox within a few minutes!
- Included in the email is a PDF and mobile copy of your Jordan Pass, simply download and print the PDF for each traveller, or save the mobile pass to your phone (a screenshot for each person is totally fine)
- That’s it! Jump on the plane and start your trip. Make sure to keep a copy of the pass handy. You’ll need to show it to immigration when you arrive to qualify for the free visa on arrival, and also when entering Petra
Be Patient and Pay Attention when purchasing the Jordan Pass!
The website is sometimes a bit glitchy and states it couldn’t process your credit card when really there might have just been a delay, and it actually did purchase the pass.
If this happens the website will give you the warning to wait an hour or so to make sure the transaction didn’t go through on your card before trying to purchase again… heed this advice! There are stories online of people being charged multiple times due to these errors.
When we were purchasing the Jordan Pass this exact error happened, but our credit card wasn’t charged. When we tried again the following day we had no problems purchasing the pass, and the email came through almost instantly.
If you do run into problems and find yourself overcharged or never get your pass, you should email [email protected] for assistance.
How Does the Jordan Pass Work?
Once you’ve purchased the Jordan Pass you simply need to have a copy available (if asked) whenever you’re visiting sites that are included in the pass. In reality the only times you’re likely to be asked for your Jordan Pass is by immiragtion upon arrival and when visiting Petra. Keep in mind that the T&C’s state that you need to have ID when using the Jordan Pass, most liekly to stop people sharing them, but again this is only probable at the border and at Petra.
You can buy the pass regardless of the number of nights you’re planning on staying in Jordan, but one of the pass’s key benefits is that it waives the visa fees (40 JOD) only if you are staying 3 consecutive nights and buy it before arrival in Jordan.
The Fine Print: What you need to know about the Jordan Pass
There are a few important conditions and exclusions that deserve to be mentioned to help you decide if the Jordan Pass is right for you.
- You must stay a minimum of 4 days (3 nights) in Jordan to be eligible for the visa fee waiver.
You won’t be asked to prove how long you’re staying, but if you haven’t met the minimum stay you’ll be charged the 40 JD visa fee upon departure
- The single entry visa on arrival is valid for 1 month (the same as a regular tourist visa)
- However, the free entrance to attractions included in the Jordan Pass is only valid for 2 weeks, and will automatically expire 2 weeks after its first time it is scanned
- You can’t change your pass type once purchased (so make sure you’ve decided how many days you want to spend exploring Petra before buying)
- Petra By Night is not included in the Jordan Pass
- The Jordan Pass only allows single entry to each attraction (with the exception of Petra IF you purchase multiple days)
- You can only scan the Jordan Pass at the Petra visitors centre, however if you have multiple days you can enter using a different gate on your second or third day
- Most countries are eligible for the visa on arrival, and therefore waiving visa fees via the Jordan Pass (check if you’re eligible here)
For a full list of the terms and conditions, see the FAQ’s on the Jordan Pass website.
What’s Included in the Jordan Pass?
There are over 40 popular tourism sites are included in the Jordan Pass. These include Petra, Wadi Rum desert, the Amman Citadel and the Roman theatre, Jerash, Aljoun Castle, and the Madaba Archaeological Park.
Check here for a full list of attractions included on the Jordan Pass.
Is the Jordan Pass Worth It?
We think the Jordan Pass is absolutely worth it! Provided you are visiting Jordan for more than 3 days and plan to visit Petra, the Jordan Pass will actually save you money (whether or not you visit any of the other attractions included)! The only exception to this is if you are entering Jordan via Aqaba, where you’re entitled to the free ASEZA (Aqaba Special Economic Zone Area) visa (more on this below).
Let’s run the numbers, the cost for a visa on arrival is 40 JD, and a single day entry ticket for Petra costs 50 JD, costing you 90 JD ($127) just to enter the country and visit Petra.
For only 70 JD with the Jordan Pass you get a waiver on the visa fee and entry to Petra – saving you 20 JD ($28)!
The benefits increase with each additional tourism site you plan to visit, as most are included in the Jordan Pass! What a great excuse to visit as many historic sights as possible.
Here are some examples of the entrance costs for other tourism sites in Jordan:
- Petra: 50 JD
- Wadi Rum: 5 JD
- Amman Citadel: 3 JD
- Roman Theatre: 2 JD
- Jerash: 10 JD
- Madaba Archaeological Park: 2 JD
- Ajloun Castle: 3 JD
Is the Jordan Pass Right For Me?
As we’ve already discussed, the Jordan Pass is a great choice for most international tourists visiting Jordan. The savings on visa costs and Petra entrance fees make it a great deal. However there are some instances where the Jordan Pass might not be the best option.
Not Visiting Petra
The most obvious one is if you’re not planning to visit Petra! Without the high Petra entrance fee, the Jordan Pass will probably end up costing more than paying for your visa and entrance fees separately.
Arriving and Departing Jordan via Aqaba
If your arrival and departure destination in Jordan is Aqaba the Jordan Pass probably isn’t a worthy investment for you! Aqaba is part of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Area (ASEZA) and under this it offers a free 30 day tourist visa to anyone entering Jordan via Aqaba.
This includes entering via Aqaba airport, from the Eilat – Aqaba border post, or on the ferry from Nuwieba in Egypt.
Similar to the Jordan Pass, to qualify for the free ASEZA visa you need to be staying in Jordan for a few days (at least 2 days), and according to the official sources you need to be departing Jordan from Aqaba (does not need to be the SAME border, just an ASEZA border).
Unfortunately there is conflicting information on this visa, and it seems to change frequently. There are reports from some travellers that they were given a free ASEZA visa and successfully departed from a different area, some were given a free visa but told they needed to depart from Aqaba, and others have said they had to pay 60 JD but it was refunded when leaving (only if leaving from Aqaba).
Do your own research and decide whether you want to take the risk, or whether the simplicity of the Jordan Pass is more appealing.
Parents with Children under 12
Anyone travelling with children should know what kids under 12 get free entry to all tourism sites in Jordan (including Petra). A visa on arrival for 40 JD is all you’d need to purchase for children under 12. The process for this is exactly the same as for redeeming the free visa on arrival included in the Jordan Pass (they even access credit cards for the visa fees now!).
A Note on the King Hussein – Allenby Bridge Crossing with Palestine
As of October 2019, you CAN use the Jordan Pass to enter Jordan at the King Hussein – Allenby border with Palestine.
Despite what the Jordan Pass website says, travellers have successfully been using the Jordan Pass as a ‘visa’ at this border crossing for 3 years now.
Again this is your call as to whether you want to take the risk with the Jordan Pass. This Tripadvisor forum has regular updates from people regarding using the Jordan Pass at this border crossing.
We hope this post was useful in deciding whether the Jordan Pass is the right choice for you!
While you’re here, check out some of our other posts on Jordan:
- The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Jordan – Everything You Need to Know!
- 10 Awesome Tips for Visiting Petra
- Wadi Rum
- Canyoning the incredible Wadi Mujib
- 15 Practical Tips for your visit to the Dead Sea
Are you also travelling to Israel or Egypt? You might find these posts interesting: