How to Cross the Border from Jordan to Israel at the King Hussein Bridge (Allenby) Terminal.

January 21, 2020

Jordan

Jordan, Middle East, Travel Guides

Crossing the border from Jordan to Israel without a guide or tour group can be a pretty difficult feat, but it can be done! And as long as you’re prepared ahead of time, it’s really not quite as hard as it seems. When we were planning our trip around the Middle East at the end of last year, figuring out how to cross the border from Jordan to Israel was the hardest thing for me to find information on and figure out how to do, so as soon as we did it, I knew I needed to write this post to make it as easy as possible for you to understand how to do it.

There are three different points where you can cross, but the King Hussein Bridge (Allenby) Terminal is the closest border crossing between Amman, Jordan and Jerusalem, Israel. Luckily, it’s not as complicated as it seems. Part of what makes crossing the border so difficult is that there are all sorts of rules that come with it. You can’t drive a car across the border and flights are astronomical (about $300-400 USD one way) for a 45 minute flight from Amman to Jerusalem. If you’re traveling with a tour group, you’ll have to be dropped off and cross the border and then get in a different tour bus on the other side. But since we didn’t want to travel in a tour group, we had to figure out the logistics on our own. Here’s how to cross the border from Jordan to Israel:

Each border crossing has two names—one for Jordanian side (King Hussein Bridge) and one for Israeli side (Allenby).

How to Cross the Border at King Hussein Bridge (Allenby) Crossing:

Opening Times:

 The terminal is open for tourists to cross from Sunday-Thursday 8:00 am – 9:00 pm (make sure to be there by 6 pm at the latest so you can make sure that you get on the last shuttle), and Friday & Saturday from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm (make sure to be there by 10 am at the latest to make sure you get on the last shuttle). Since this is the busiest of the three borders, it’s best to get there as early as possible, so you can guarantee that you’ll get across on the day you want to cross. But it’s recommended that you get there at least two hours before closing time.

The crossing is closed on Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha, and the hours differ for other religious and national holidays, so make sure you pay attention to the holidays around the time you are visiting and double check that the border won’t be closed when you’re wanting to cross. You can check the Jewish Holiday schedule here. We happened to be crossing during Rosh Hashanah, so we asked our hotel concierge in Amman to call the border and check that they would be open when we wanted to cross and they verified that it was. So, if you’re not sure, you can always have your hotel call and check.

How to Get to the Border:

 We rented a car through Alamo while we were in Jordan from the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. We paid a small fee to drop it off at the King Hussein Bridge border instead of at the airport. The car rental return is right in front of the border crossing terminal, so once you drop the car off, you can easily walk to the border control building. If you rented a car for the first part of your trip, it will most likely be cheaper to keep it to get to the border crossing (even if that means you keep it an extra day) as opposed to taking a taxi. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can take a taxi from your hotel to the border, or there is a bus that goes from downtown Amman to the border crossing every day at 6:30 am. Sometimes hotels will even arrange a shared taxi for you and other hotel guests that are looking to cross the border that day too, so you can always check with your hotel and see if that’s an option.

Crossing the Border:

 Once you arrive at the King Hussein Bridge Terminal, make sure you go to the Tourist Terminal. Inside the terminal, you will pay an exit fee of 10 JOD* (about $14 USD) if you’ve been in Jordan for longer than two days and get your passport stamped. (Make sure you have cash on you. You’ll need it to pay the exit fee and shuttle bus. If you don’t have cash, there’s an ATM outside the border terminal, but it’s better to have it before you go.) The border control will hold onto your passports while you sit in the waiting area. You’ll wait in there until there are enough people to fill up the shuttle bus that will take you over to the Israeli border terminal. Then you will load your luggage onto the bus, and once you’re on the bus, you will get your passport back and pay a fee for the shuttle and for your luggage. We paid 7 JOD* (about $12 USD) per person and 1.5 JOD* (about $2 USD) per one piece of large luggage that went under. The shuttle then takes you over to the Israeli border terminal, which is about 5 km away.

*Exit and shuttle fees stated above are accurate as of October 2019.

Keep in mind that you cannot take photos while crossing the border.

Be sure to keep a hold of your luggage and load it onto the shuttle yourself. When we were there, there was a man loading peoples luggage and then demanding a significant tip. 

At the Israeli Terminal:

 Once you arrive at the Israeli Terminal, make sure you collect your luggage from under the bus, and then you will be directed inside the terminal where you will put your bags through security and then you’ll go through security (it’s very similar to airport security). After you’ve been through security, there is another check where you will likely be asked a few questions and receive a ticket in your passport. Once you’ve made it through, you will collect your luggage and leave the terminal. We also suggest changing some money with a money changer to get some Israeli shekels. (The money changer at the terminal charges a huge fee, so we suggest getting just enough to take a taxi or shared van to Jerusalem and then changing more money once you’re in Jerusalem so you can get a better rate.) From there, you can take a taxi to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or wherever you’re trying to go in Israel, or you can take a shared van. If you’re planning to go to Jerusalem (like we were), you can take a shared van to Damascus Gate for about 45 NIS (about $14 USD) per person. Please note: There are posted signs with prices, but we found that they did not adhere to those prices and instead charged us more claiming those were “old prices.”

*We read a lot of things saying to ask Israeli border control not to stamp your passport, so that you don’t have any trouble getting into other countries in the future. However, when we arrived, they didn’t stamp our passports, but rather, gave us a little slip of paper that acted as a passport stamp. We needed when we left Israel, but they never stamped our passports, so it seems like this is their current protocol (as of October 2019).

A Few Other Things to Note:

If you’re a U.S. Citizen, you no longer need a visa to enter Israel (as of October 2019), so all you need is your passport to pass through Israeli customs. However, if you’re crossing in the opposite direction (from Israel to Jordan at the Allenby crossing), you will need to have your visa arranged ahead of time, because the Jordanian Border Terminal doesn’t do it on site here. If you’re flying into the Queen Alia Internation Airport in Amman or crossing at Sheikh Hussein Bridge, you can receive a visa on arrival.

There are two other land border crossings—Sheikh Hussein/Jordan River Crossing, which is about one and a half hours north of the King Hussein/Allenby Crossing, or Wadi Araba/Yitzhak Rabin Crossing, which is about three and a half hours south of the King Hussein/Allenby Crossing and located between Aqaba and Eilat by the Red Sea.

When you cross the border at the King Hussein Bridge (Allenby) Crossing from Jordan, you are technically crossing into Palestine, which means once you cross the border and go through Israeli customs, you’ll exit and be in Palestine. If you take a taxi or shared van to Jerusalem, you will need to have your passports out and your driver will show them to Israeli officers at the Israeli border about 20 minutes before you arrive in Jerusalem.

You can find more information about the Allenby Terminal on the Israeli Government website here.

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