Short answer: No.
Long answer: It depends on how risk-averse you are. See below.
- The old risk-free way
- The new risk-free way
- I fear no ruined holiday sitting in an airport waiting for cash
The Old Risk-Free Way
It was difficult to find much information concerning tourist visas back in 2014 when I first visited Jordan. I felt confident there would be an ATM or money exchange before we got to passport control. My partner was convinced we would be stuck, without a dinar to our names, and promptly returned on the next flight back to England. Since it was our first trip together we (mostly my partner) decided the safest route was to get enough JOD to cover our visas and taxi to our hotel.
Upon landing at Queen Alia International Airport we saw an ATM and money exchange. However, the money exchange was closed, so it was good we’d already acquired JOD back in the UK. We simply presented our passports to the official along with 25 JOD (the fee in 2014, it is now 40 JOD). They were stamped, passed to another official who put numerous stickers in them, passed back to us, and off we went to find our taxi driver.
Visas can be obtained upon arrival from most countries, although not all. So check out the Official Jordan Tourism Board for a complete list.
The New Risk-Free Way
A lot has changed in six years, and one big thing is the introduction of the Jordan Pass. This pass waives your upon-arrival visa fees, as well as the entry fees for 40+ attractions in Jordan. It comes with a few caveats; you are required to stay at least 3 consecutive nights, you need to have purchased it before arriving in Jordan, and it expires 2 weeks after being scanned at your first tourist attraction. It’s also highly recommend that you print it out.
This can be a huge money saver especially if you intend to visit Petra. (You DO intend to visit Petra, right?)
The Jordan Pass costs 70/75/80 JOD, depending on how many consecutive entry days 1/2/3 you want for Petra. This means the Jordan Pass will save you 20 JOD straight away even if you’re only visiting Petra!
Read the full FAQS to see if you’re eligible for the Jordan Pass and if it’s right for your trip.
I Fear No Ruined Holiday Sitting in an Airport Waiting for Cash
Maybe you’re only staying 2 nights. Maybe you don’t plan on visiting any of the Roman ruins, ancient castles, or museums in Jordan during your stay. Maybe you just like to live on the edge, and pay for each attraction you visit. In any case, you can also pay for your tourist visa with a debit or credit card. You might arrive at a time the system is down though, which doesn’t seem to happen too often, but isn’t something I’d be willing to rely on personally.
Remember to warn your bank and card company before you travel. You don’t want to deal with a declined card before you even get into the country! Another thing to consider is foreign transaction fees when using your credit or debit card abroad. One of mine charges me 3% on every purchase, which can really add up after a few weeks. Many travel-centric credit cards don’t have these fees, and have decent cash back rewards. See my post about the best (and worst) cards to have for traveling.
So, do you really still need Jordanian Dinar for an entry visa? No, and there are even better options now than paying in cash. The Jordan Pass is by far the best option for most tourists. You can use your debit or credit card to pay at immigration, or to take out dinar when you arrive. Or you can change your currency into JOD upon arrival at the airport.