How to get from Israel to Amman via the Jordan River Crossing

There are three border crossings into Jordan from Israel, but there’s really only one good option if your destination is Amman. The southern border (Eilat to Aqqaba) is too far out of the way, though you don’t have to pay for the expensive Jordanian visa there, so if you can reverse your Jordan trip and go north from Petra, it might be worth it. The crossing just outside Jerusalem (Allenby/King Hussein Bridge) would be perfect—if foreigners could get a Jordanian visa there. But they can’t, and getting a visa in advance from the embassy in Tel Aviv is a hassle, not to mention it’s nearly twice as expensive. That leaves the northern border (Jordan River crossing, or Sheik Hussein crossing). It’s a bit complicated, so here are detailed instructions for you:

1.   Get to Beit She’an: Frequent public buses travel from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to the small city of Beit She’an. Check the schedules at www. bus.co.il . From Jerusalem, buses 961, 966 and 948 make the trip. The 961 is the best bet as it is direct and terminates in Beit She’an, making the stop easy to identify. My advice is to take this bus at 10:00 am (you’ll see why below). The 966 takes the same amount of time, but continues on the Beit She’an, so site near the front and make sure the driver knows where you want to get off. The 948 is an indirect bus that takes nearly an hour longer than the other two. All three buses leave from platform 21 on the third floor of the Central Bus Station (CBS) in Jerusalem. The ride takes 2 hours and 15 minutes and costs 44 NIS.

The bus stop in Beit She'an. The circle on the right is where the bus from Jerusalem drops you, and the circle on the left is the stop for bus #16 to the border.

The bus stop in Beit She’an. The circle on the right is where the bus from Jerusalem drops you, and the circle on the left is the stop for bus #16 to the border.

2.   Get to the actual border: Beit She’an is 7 km away from the border. You have two options from here. Taxis are hanging around the bus stop, and one of them can take you to the border. I was quoted 50 NIS, which is ridiculous. They wouldn’t haggle, even when I said I’d take the bus instead. Wait a few minutes to see if any other travelers arrive to share the taxi with. The other, far cheaper option, is the #16 bus that leaves from the west side of the street, which only leaves at one useful time, 12:45 pm. (Sep 2016 note: a reader commented that the bus now runs every 30 minutes all day. If anyone can confirm or deny that please let me know in the comments.) It costs 6.90 NIS and will get you to the border in a mere 5 minutes. There’s not an official stop at the border, but the driver was happy to go a minute out of the way to drop us there, so don’t hesitate to ask.

The view of the border from where bus #16 drops you. Turn right in the circle to access the passport control buildings.

The view of the border from where bus #16 drops you. Turn right in the circle to access the passport control buildings.

3.   Exit from Israel: Walk toward the border and into the complex of buildings on the right. Approach desks 1-3 to pay your exit fee and change money. The exit fee from Israel is a 101 NIS (updated Sep 2016) but there are a couple little fees added in so you’ll probably be charged 106 NIS (details in a comment below). You can change money here or at the Jordanian side, but there are no ATMs on either side. You’ll need 40 JD to enter Jordan, not payable in any other currency. You also need to keep 5 NIS for the mandatory shuttle from the Israeli to Jordanian side. Once you’ve paid your exit fee, cross the room to desks 6-8 and get stamped out of Israel. Some of the workers behind the desk will offer to stamp a piece of paper instead of your passport, while others won’t, so be sure to ask for the paper if you don’t want the stamp.   Next, exit the building through the Duty Free shop.

The inside of passport control on the Israeli side. Pay your exit fee at the right, and get your passport stamped (or not) at the left.

The inside of passport control on the Israeli side. Pay your exit fee at the right, and get your passport stamped (or not) at the left.

4.   Get to the Jordanian side: There’s a mandatory shuttle bus to the other side. It leaves when it’s full, so you may have to wait awhile. Stow your bags beneath the bus (no charge), pay the driver 5 NIS, and enjoy the three minute ride to the other side of the river. Jordanian soldiers will check passports on the bus on the way over.

Shuttle bus to the Jordanian side of the border.

Shuttle bus to the Jordanian side of the border.

5.   Enter Jordan: Disembark the bus and head into the left side of the building in front of you. If you haven’t changed money, do so at the first desk. Then stand in line at one of the two visa desks, where you’ll purchase your visa (two small postage-looking stamps) into Jordan. The officials here are also happy to stamp a piece of paper instead of your actual passport, but, again, you have to ask. Then move across the room to the passport desks, where your passport or piece of paper will be stamped again, and they’ll take your photo. Exit the building, walk through the border control to your left, have your bags scanned on the way, and ta-dah, you’re in Jordan!

List of prices for taxis from the Jordanian side of the border.

List of prices for taxis from the Jordanian side of the border. Click for a larger version.

6.   Get from the border to Amman: There are two ways to Amman from here, and one is slightly cheaper than the other, but maybe not worth the extra effort. There is now an official taxi stand with official, posted taxi rates to a couple dozen destinations within Jordan. The prices are per vehicle and can take up to four passengers. A taxi from the border to Western Amman costs 36 JD. Once you’re in Amman you can take a metered taxi anywhere for 2-3 JD. The other, slightly cheaper option, is to take a taxi to Irbid, 45 minutes away, for 22 JD. From there a bus leaves to the Tabarbour bus station in Amman every half hour and only costs 1-2 JD, saving you 12 JD. It’s worth noting, though, that the taxis at the border do not leave promptly! We waited maybe 45 minutes before a taxi was available for us.

———

In my experience, the whole trip took 7 relaxed hours to get from the Jerusalem CBS (10:00 am) to my hotel in Amman (5:00 pm). The last food on the Israeli side is the falafel shop at the Beit She’an bus stop, and there’s nothing on either side of the border crossing, so bring food and water. I needed a total of 377 NIS to get from the Jerusalem CBS into Jordan. You can convert more than that to pay your taxi driver with on the Jordanian side, or have him drop you off at an ATM to pay him.

This is all true as of January 1, 2015 (yep, I crossed on New Year’s Day!). If anyone has more information to add, or sees anything that has changed since my experience, let me know in the comments or shoot me an email via the “contact” link at the top of the page, and I’ll update this post accordingly. Have a good trip!

 

Bookmark the permalink.

47 Comments

  1. william r. taylor

    As an Engineer (retired) I was duly impressed by your very detailed list concerning how to get across the border efficiently and expeditiously. As an experienced traveler who, with my wife, has chased the ghost of Halliburton in many corners of the world I found your description of the attitude of West bank inhabitants to be much the same as most people we have encountered in our travels also. Almost everyone, wherever they live, want peace, a good family life, dignity, and the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

    Thanks for the unusual insight.

  2. Very helpful and informative information.
    Thanks.
    Panagiotis (Greece)

  3. Hi Sarah, first, this information is amazingly helpful! I’m planning to cross from Beit She’an in two days and was so happy to come across this blog post. Second, in addition to the taxis, are there public buses from the Jordan-side of the border crossing? I’ve heard that there may be a bus to Irbid but haven’t been able to confirm. Did you happen to see any when you were there? We’re planning to go from the border to Umm Qais and have heard that we would have to change buses in Irbid enroute there. Thanks in advance! Loren

  4. Thank you very much! I have been looking for something like this all over but couldn’t find anything recent and all that helpful. This is great!

  5. I just wanted to say, thank you for posting this! it is super helpful!

  6. Fee exiting Israel –
    The cashier does not pocket your money.
    The exit fee from Israel up to 31.12.2014 was 100 NIS, starting 1.1.2015 it is 101 NIS. The sign you have seen was not yet updated that day.
    There is 5 NIS commission if you pay the border fee at the border terminal itself. The fee is per group, e.g. if you travel alone, you pay 6 NIS. If there are 2 people or more, they all pay 5 NIS (i.e. each pay 101 NIS and there is a 5 NIS commission for the entire transaction). What the cashier was doing is splitting the commission between the two passengers, adding 2.5 NIS for passenger (thus 101+2.5=103.5 NIS total per person).

    The fees can be seen at the border crossing’s official website, here: http://www.iaa.gov.il/en-US/borders/neharyarden/Pages/Fees.aspx

    Lastly, you can avoid the commission if you pre-buy the border exit at a post office (only central post offices in the large cities) or via the internet here: https://borderpay.metropolinet.co.il/en/

    • Thanks for that updated information, Amos! It’s good to know they weren’t ripping me off. Cheers!

      • You’re welcome!
        Taking/pocketing your money by government officials simply does not exist in Israel, a first world country.

        (and – I had a typo saying 6 NIS instead of 5 NIS when you travel alone, it’s of course 5 NIS)

  7. Good instructions for bus riders, does anyone have experience driving across the border in both directions ?

  8. What about returning to israel after visiting petra
    …do I have to use the same border crossing or can I come back via the Allen bridge?

    • I didn’t go back into Israel so I don’t know, but if you find the answer please share it here so others can learn!

    • From Jordan to Israel you can use the Allenby like any other border, it just takes longer since the security is more stringent.

  9. Hey. Do you know how much would be the taxi from the Beit Shean border to the Queen Alia airport?

    Thanks !

    • Hi Karen. The price list in the taxi stand on the Jordanian side of the crossing (see the photo above) says it costs 57 JD from the border to the Queen Alia airport. The prices may have changed since I was there (1 January 2015), but that should be relatively accurate, and if it has changed I would expect the new price to be posted when you arrive.

  10. Really helpful, used this a couple of weeks ago. Thanks. Had great problem crossing with binoculars though, I didn’t know that you can’t take them into Jordan. Took two hours of arguing with increasingly senior / heavy security guards to get then through, and probably only managed it because I was going straight on to Cairo. All the security and customs police were very friendly and empathetic so it was never threatening or unduly unpleasant, except for the prospect of losing my dear binos.

  11. hi,
    thanks for the blog its very helpfull. im planning to cross in October from jordan via the Allenby bridge then head to Jerusalem… does anyone know if i can go back to jordan via the Sheik Hussain bridge?. the crossing is going to be on a Friday so can i get a taxi for 7 people in jerusalem? hoe much would it cost and how long would it take to get to the crossing?

  12. Thanks for the description, very helpful. I would only add that it might be good to get to the gate at the central bus station early. I got there ten to ten and didn’t make it on the 10am bus and hardly made it on the next. So when I got to Beit Shean, I had like 30 seconds until the bus to the border came (if you like some excitement I highly recommend the 10:30 bus tho). There might have been more traffic at the Jerusalem CBS because the day before was a holiday.
    The taxi to Irbid was 18 JOD and then I paid 12 JOD for the bus from Irbid to Amman. I don’t know if I got ripped off, seems a lot in retrospect. I also had to take a minibus to the bus station since the taxi driver dropped us off at a different bus station in Irbid.

  13. I crossed on september 16 2016 and this advices are still accurate, although I couldn’t catch bus 16 from Beit She’an so I made hitchhiking (which is actually common and safe in Israel) to get to the border. The Jordan visa is still 40 JOD (dinars) and you literally just ask for it and show your passport, it was really easy. To Amman I shared a taxi* (an arab asked for it and we shared it so it wouldn’t be that expensive, arabs are super helping and welcoming btw). To return I used the border in the south (Aqaba-Eilat) because Eilat is a bigger city than Beit Shean and there are buses available to other cities (specially Tel Aviv) until 11pm or so.
    (*Edited from “bus” to “taxi” per Carlos’s request)

  14. Thanks Sarah, very helpful information.

  15. hallo there. I have a question. I need to past to border in friday the 30.9 from israel to Jordan, just for getting to the Amaan airport and fly in the same day to Thailnd. someone knows maybe if I can get a discount for the 40JOD visa because im gonna stay in jordan only for like 9-10 hours? thank you.

  16. 1) The exit tax from Israel is 106 shekels. No one pockets money. The suggestion is rather insulting.

    2) The 16 bus to Kfar Ruppin runs all day. You can get on anytime – it’s about every 30 minutes – and ask to be dropped at the border. The border closed at 20:30 on weekdays and 15:00 before Shabbat.

    • 1) That was cleared up in a previous comment by Amos, but I’ll update it in the post, too.

      2) I’ll add to the post that the bus may be running more often now. Thanks for the update.

  17. Hi there! Does anyone know when the border crossing opens? I’m travelling from Tel Aviv the day after Yom Kippur and wanted to do it as early as possible, trying to catch the bus via Jerusalem to be in Bet She’an at 10.30. Would it make sense, also with the mandatory shuttle bus in mind? or would I have to wait for that anyway?

  18. Hi! First of all, thanks for this information. Your post was very useful for crossing, we just crossed two days ago and it was exactly as you said it would be. I would like to add that the bus that goes from Bet Seh’an to the border has indeed very strange schedules. So, there’s a big gap between 8 am and 12:45.
    6:00, 7:20, 8:40, 12:45, 16:40, 18:20..
    I have a pic of the schedule if you want it.

    • Thank you so much for confirming the times for me. I was reasonably certain there was only one useful time. Glad my post helped you cross!

  19. Thanks – really helpful.

    I did this yesterday. Two small things I’d add:

    desks one and two at the Israeli side of the border also operate like ATMs – you can get cash out there. Also, when I was there, there was a small cafe in building, which did sandwiches and things.

    I ended up having to wait an hour and a half for the bus over the bridge, which was maddening, but got there in the end.

    • Great info, thanks! I’ll add it in. By “operate like ATMs”, do you mean there actually is an ATM at those desks? Are there fees?

  20. We crossed the border 2016-11-01, the visa was 10 JOD, the taxi to West Amman 29 JOD, to east Amman 36 JOD, I think.
    your description is very helpful, thanks a lot!

  21. Your description was more than helpful, Sarah. My wife and I crossed on October 6th without any problem. However, we followed your instructions about crossing the street in Beit She’an after the Jerusalem bus dropped us off. As we were waiting we had a broken conversation with a local woman (in French!). She couldn’t understand why we were catching the bus on this side of the street and wondered if we were going to the Allenby Bridge instead. But we hung in there and eventually the #16 mini-bus showed up on time, picked us up, made a u-turn and went back to the stop we were originally dropped at (!) where we then picked up a couple from China who were also heading to the border. Still, it all worked out. We would also like to apologize to the Chinese couple on the bus, as we informally arranged to meet them on the Jordanian side to share a cab to Amman. With our Jordan Pass, we sailed through but, we’re not sure why, they never showed up (visa problems?). So, after waiting in the heat, we got a taxi on our own. Hopefully all went well for them.

  22. Last month a new railway station was inaugurated at Beit She’an. Therefore, you can easily get from/to Beit She’an by train from pretty much every train station in Israel, including Haifa, Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion int’l. I would only recommend going to Jerusalem by bus, which is quicker.

    Train schedule: http://rail.co.il/EN/Pages/Homepage.aspx

  23. I’m planning to cross there next summer on June 30. Is it possible to do a tour of some of the northern Jordan sights such as Pella, Um Qais, Jerash, and Aljoun on a tour from there, and to end the day in Amman? Are there outfits that offer that? How early in the day ought one be at the border to do a day like that?

    • I didn’t see any tour outfits (it’s a pretty remote border). I bet you could get a taxi driver to take you to those places, and maybe pick up a guide at the gates. Considering the limitations in when you can cross the border, I’d say that even just Jerash is too ambitious for the same day that you cross the border. We spent many hours at Jerash–it took a whole day from Amman and was worth it. Didn’t see any of the other sites.

    • Try petramoon.com for custom tours of any place in Jordan. They are great!

  24. É disso que eu precisava: Informações claras e precisas, se devaneios!!!!!

  25. I find it very interesting that “How to get from Israel to Amman via the Jordan River Crossing” seems to have garnered the most comments of all the topics you have broached in your entire repertoire of fascinating travel commentaries. Anyway, that’s how it appears to me. Hope you are doing well and will be on the road again soon.

    • Actually, the Amman border crossing is only the third most popular at 40 comments, while “How to Trek the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia” has 49 and “How to Climb Mount Olympus” has 78! My ‘how to’ posts are definitely far more popular than my Halliburton posts. Oh well–they bring traffic to the site and help people travel better :) (heading to Bali in July!)

      • Thanks for a very helpful post! We crossed on April 4 into Jordan. The bus schedule for the local bus #16 must have changed, there was one at 4:10 PM, but then no bus for 2 hours. We ended up taking a taxi and managed to negotiate paying 30 NIS instead of 40 NIS, but still a rather stiff price for the few km. The most annoying thing of the crossing was that we had to wait one hour for the bus from the Israeli to the Jordanian side of the border. When we were about to enter the bus, the Israeli soldier told me that I would need my Israeli exit stamp in the same passport I would use to enter Jordan (I have dual citizenship), and that the Jordanians would not let me in, but I did not want to go back and get another stamp, and having to wait for another hour for the next bus, so I took the risk and fortunately the Jordanians either did not notice or did not care. We also had binoculars and they said nothing – I don’t know if they had noticed them at all. Overall, the trip via public transport from Tel Aviv to the border and via shared taxi to Amman took us less than 7 hours (about 2 hours border crossing). On our way back from Amman to Tel Aviv, we took Allenby, but funny enough, although a lot shorter distance-wise, this took us 8 hours in total.

  26. Thanks, your explanation is still very accurate!

    Step 1: We came from Tel Aviv and took bus 843 (10:15 -> 12:45). It costed about 35 NIS pp.
    Step 2: Bus 16 only comes at 12:25 (impossible to catch) and indeed at 16:10. The easiest way is still sharing a taxi.
    Step 3: The exit fee from Israel is indeed 100 NIS + 5 NIS. We only had to pay 205 NIS for 2p, the extra cost seems not to be per person, but per couple/family.
    Step 4: ok
    Step 5: If you buy a Jordan Pass in advance (https://www.jordanpass.jo), and present it to the officer, you don’t have to pay a visa if you stay for more than 3 nights in Jordan. (And we didn’t had to pay an exit fee at Aqaba/Eilat border neither!)
    Step 6: share a taxi to Amman, 38 JOD in total!

  27. Hi Klara!
    Can you explain a little more about the Jordan Pass?
    What kind of pass did you purchase?

    Best regards
    Stig

  28. THANK YOU! For all the helpful tips and the great comments here. I’d like to do a half tour in Jerusalem on Friday and then proceed to this border crossing. I know Fridays can have different hours at the border…. is this a terrible idea? Or can I arrive at the border around 4 and still proceed through ok. (I’m fine with taking a taxi last few km).

    Thx!

    • Hi Rachel, thanks for reading! The info in this post is the sum total of my border crossing knowledge, so I’m afraid I can’t answer your question. Good luck, and report back if you learn anything that will help other travelers :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge