My mistake with the Jordanian Visa on Arrival

a stuffed animal sitting on a rock in front of a stone building with Petra in the background

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This is primarily a quick tip that I wish I’d have known and hopefully this helps you.  If you’re traveling from Outside of Jordan to Aqaba, the airport closest to Wadi Rum, then this is for you. You’ll have to forgive my lack of pictures, but I wasn’t quite sure if I could take them since we were in transit and it was centered around immigration, but I’ll do my best to describe our situation. Long story short – Aqaba has its own visa on arrival service as of May 2019.

a group of people sitting outside Petra
Having coffee at Petra ” The Monastery “

The setup

We were flying from Cairo to Amman to Aqaba where we would set out on a Jordanian adventure – it was probably some of the most insane consecutive days of sight-seeing I’ve ever had. One day the pyramids to the next few days: Wadi Rum, Martian Tents, Petra, Mt. Nebo and the Dead Sea. Quite a string of days.

a stuffed monkey sitting on a rock
Martian Tents in Wadi Rum

We had decided to book flights on Royal Jordanian that routed us from Cairo to Amman to Aqaba with a short layover in Amman en route. Roughly 90 minutes.  In case you’re wondering, there is a morning and an evening flight to Aqaba so that evening flight was it.

I’d read online that you could have your visa on arrival processed in Aqaba, or at least I thought that’s what I read.

Upon arrival into Amman, as we were passing the immigration/visa on arrival desk and I suddenly started to doubt myself. Did we need to grab our bags, gets visas here, and then re-check-in? I didn’t think so, but I thought I’d ask to be safe.

Yes, sir, you need to do that.

WHAT?! Suddenly the timeframe was super short. In what was now 75 minutes we needed to get processed, get our bags, go through customs, check back in, security, and find our gate. Worst case I thought we will fly down in the morning, but we were scheduled to depart our hotel for Wadi Rum at noon. UGH

Jordanian Visa on Arrival

First Off…you need a visa if you plan on exiting the airport. This is 40 JOD, and even though they advertise cash only, they take credit card as well. Them an processed us, and then directed us to get our bags.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, you need to get bags, re-check in.”


“Down there,” he motioned towards an escalator with baggage claim

a stuffed animal sitting on a beach chair
The Dead Sea in Jordan

The mistake we made – getting processed at the AMM airport

This is something you do not need to do. In fact, if you keep walking past the visa on arrival area that we stopped at you’d see a sign directing passengers for Aqaba. That’s where we SHOULD have gone.

How we managed to still make our flight

After getting our visas processed we waited another 20 minutes for our bags. They never came. We asked someone and they told us that they would have just gone on to Aqaba.

That’s what I thought they’d do, originally. What a pickle!

We dashed out of customs and found the Royal Jordanian check-in and started to run to security when my mom points to the very very very far end.

Aqaba had it’s own check in

Why? It’s the only domestic place you can fly to commercially within Jordan. Luckily, we made it through quickly, and onto the plane – which we had to take a bus to and board via a remote stand.

Arrival into Aqaba

Once we arrived into Aqaba I wondered what we’d encounter, and if we did, in fact, need to do that in Amman. Sure enough…there is a visa on arrival service right there that you could use. We deplaned on the tarmac and walked into baggage – we bypassed the visa on arrival, but still needed to show ours before proceeding to baggage. We turned an easy layover into an all-out panic attack for no good reason.

If you’re in a similar situation – fret not – you can get your visa processed in Aqaba.

a swimming pool with palm trees and a body of water
Intercontinental Aqaba

Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Doha


Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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1 Comment

  • Max L February 13, 2020

    I’ve done the transit a few times. For a short transit I actually book the RJ Transit assistance as they jump ALL the queues and escort you to the gate.
    If you had shown your onward boarding pass to Aqaba to the immigrant agent he would have let you through waiving the visa fee even in the wrong queue

    You need to visit the ASEZA Offices within 48 hours of arriving and they stamp your passport. You also get a piece of paper which you fill out which you hand to the border official when you leave the country.

    It can be quite unusual not to get a stamp on arriving but actually nearly two days later. But to visit Aqaba it is definitely worth it!!

    Oh and it really depends on the flight as to whether your bags are checked through to Aqaba, they have to be Xrayed on leaving and passed to the domestic check in sometimes and other times they go straight on through.

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