Crossing the border from Jordan to Israel.
Here’s a quick glimpse of what you need to know:
- If you are planning on traveling to Lebanon, Syria, among other countries, you will need to avoid getting an Israeli stamp in your passport. You can only do so at the King Hussein Bridge crossing. Mention this before you hand the passport to anyone.
- There’s a mandatory shuttle between the Jordanian border control and Israeli border control. You can’t avoid it. You can’t walk it. Save some JDs for this trip. It was about 5 JDs including extra luggage charge but this will definitely change.
- There will be parts of the journey where you lose sight of your luggage and passport. Fear not, you will get them back.
Here’s a timeline of my border-crossing to give you an idea. It went a lot smoother than expected and the infamous Israeli custom agents did not give me a hard time.
8:30 am – The pre-arranged taxi to the border arrives 1 hour late.
The four of us paid 8 JDs each but I think we might have overpaid. There was a traffic jam towards the border. Our taxi lied to us and told us that if we wanted, we could walk it. 500 meters, he said. LIES! The traffic jam was caused by a cop car parked horizontally across the road, creating bottleneck for no apparent reason. I ended up hitch hiking for 1 JD on the other side of the bottleneck to the border control
9:15 am – Arrive at Jordanian border control.
It was low (read: crazy hot) season so the line was not long. I went to a window to pay my exit tax of 10 JD and handed the receipt and my passport to a person at another window. This was when I temporarily kissed my passport good bye. Afterwards I took my luggage to the “lobby” and waited for the bus. It might be a bit confusing what to do but there are plenty of travelers there to help and follow.
10:20 am – Border shuttle arrives
Got my passport back on the bus. Yay!
11:15 am – Arrive at first check point
They collected everyone’s passport here and we waited on the bus for about 30 minutes. Passports were redistributed back and we move on to the next stop where we actually got dropped off.
11:35 am – Arrive at Israeli border control.
It got a little hectic here. There was a long, outdoor (shaded, but still hot regardless) line leading to a triage booth. While in this line, I had to battle other travelers to get attention of luggage guys to take my luggage for inspection and put a sticker on my passport. This was where I said good bye to my luggage and hoped for the best. (Bye luggage! See you on the other side!) A British couple got grilled for a long time at this first triage. We suspect it is because she is of Indian descent. They didn’t care too much about me and waved me on.
The next stop was similar to airport security where they checked my “carry on” luggage. We were now indoors so the process was much more pleasant.
After the security screening I was directed to a lobby where I waited in line and went through secondary questions. They asked me who I was visiting and I gave them my friend’s name and number. They left with the information and came back after a bit. I wonder if they called him. This didn’t take too long for me either, but a fellow traveler who was heading to West Bank had a lot more to answer.
Next, I gathered all my papers and passed through another check point. The person pretty much just looked over my papers to make sure everything is legit. There weren’t anyone visibly monitoring all the luggage strewn in the lobbery on the other side. I reunited with mine with ease.
12:30 pm – exit Israeli border control!!!
Here are links to pages I found helpful on this topic: