Faster Airport Clearance In Jordan

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A minor blurb in The Jordan Times on Wednesday highlighted the Jordan eGATE project, a new clearance technology launched this week at Jordan's Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA).

The Jordan eGate is touted as an "advanced clearance system [designed] to accelerate the movement of passenger traffic through electronically-operated gates that screen their data". The eGATE supposedly can process passengers at a rate of 5 to 7 seconds per person. The process is supposed to simplify immigration by "using a fingerprint and matching the passenger's personal information", such as passport information and residency status.

Apparently, travelers wishing to utilize the eGATE must first purchase an eCard, which costs JD35 plus tax. The eCard displays a user's history and information on a computer screen, which is then verified by fingerprint authentication.

The information in the blurb is rather vague and raises a few questions. Is easy access to the gate available for arrivals, departures, or both? Where does one purchase an eCard? And why bother with eCards in the first place when they have already begun building a database of information and fingerprints?

Source: The Jordan Times, Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Anonymous Brian said...

Hi, I couldn't find an e-mail, so I hope you don't mind me asking a question here. My Jordanian girlfriend and I are planning on getting married and she wants to do so in Ahman. She also wants to live there for at least a year - maybe longer. I've been doing some research and the following from the US state dept. concerns me. As an American living in Jordan what are your thoughts on these risks and the general attitude of the people in Ahman towards Americans (or other foreigners)? Thanks.

The threat of terrorism remains high in Jordan. Transnational terrorist groups, as well as less sophisticated local elements, have demonstrated the capability to pose threats in Jordan. The Al-Qaida in Iraq network in particular continues to focus its terrorist activities against U.S. and Government of Jordan (GOJ) targets in Jordan. The Al-Qaida in Iraq network claimed responsibility for the November 9, 2005 bombings of three international hotels in Amman, which killed 60 people and injured over 100. Pedestrian suicide bombers wearing explosive vests carried the bombs into the hotels. Al-Qaida in Iraq also claimed responsibility for the Aqaba rocket attacks on August 19, 2005, which killed one Jordanian soldier and wounded another. The assassination of American diplomat Larry Foley outside his west Amman residence on October 28, 2002 was also attributed to Al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who was killed in Iraq in June 2006.
In addition, there has been a series of serious, confirmed terrorist threats and disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. or Jordanian interests in Jordan. In February 2006, the Government of Jordan (GOJ) disrupted a terrorist cell plotting to attack Queen Alia International Airport. In November 2005, the GOJ indicted six men for planning to carry out attacks against Americans at hotels and bars in Amman and Aqaba. In August-September 2005, four militants were arrested for plotting assassinations of Americans in Jordan. In July 2005, GOJ authorities arrested 17 men who had planned to assassinate GOJ officials and Americans in Jordan; the group was reportedly linked to Al-Qaida in Iraq. In February 2005, four men were arrested for plotting attacks against GOJ officials, tourists and five-star hotels. In the same month, another four-man group was disrupted while plotting to attack liquor stores in Amman and foreign tourists in Aqaba.
Terrorists often do not distinguish between U.S. government personnel and private citizens. Terrorists may target areas frequented by Westerners, such as tourist sites, hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, liquor stores, transportation hubs, places of worship, expatriate residential areas, and schools. In light of these security concerns, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance, to be aware of their surroundings, and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. It is especially important for travelers to be unpredictable by varying their times and routes and to maintain a low profile. Moreover, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious or unfamiliar objects and to immediately report the presence of such objects to the authorities. U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions.
Anti-American and anti-Western sentiment exists in Jordan and has been sparked on occasion by incidents in the region, particularly those related to Israeli/Palestinian issues and, to a lesser extent, Iraq. This may lead to random acts of violence against Westerners. On September 4, 2006, a gunman fired on foreigners at a popular tourist site in central Amman, killing one and injuring six.

Travelers are advised to avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. Many demonstrations occur near mosques after Friday prayers. Consequently, special sensitivity and caution should be exercised at or near mosques and religious sites during holy days and the Friday Muslim Sabbath. Demonstrations also often take place at universities and refugee camps.

3/26/2007 6:45 PM  
Blogger Dave said...


I assure you that the State Department warnings are overly cautious. Are there fanatical wackos in Jordan who would love to take out their frustrations on all things Western? I have no doubt about it. At the same time, note how many references there are to such men/groups being apprehended by the police/military.

The reality is that Arabs in general are kind and hospitable people and a joy to live amongst. After two years of living in Amman, not once have I feared for my safety (and I've even walked directly through a crowd of anti-Bush demonstrators).

Jordan is, hands down, one of the safest countries in the Middle East.

3/26/2007 9:48 PM  
Anonymous Nellie said...

Not to mention the fact that I don't want every Tom,Dick or Harry having access to my fingerprints-I've seen too many frame-up movies!Lol

3/28/2007 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the response. It's good to hear "straight from the horses mouth" as it were.

I was wondering if you could offer some advice? We are looking for a decent 3-4 bdrm for 400-600 JD / month. Are there areas that are more favorable for Americans?

Thanks again.

4/03/2007 2:26 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Brian, if by "more favorable for Americans" you mean closer to modern convenience and fast food, I would suggest someplace in western Amman.

I rent a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, ground floor apartment in a nice area for 500 JD/month, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding something in your price range.

4/03/2007 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...


No fast food! :)

Modern conveniences are part of it. But I think mainly we wanted to know if there are areas where more Americans live? Like American sub-communities. I think my girlfriend is a little worried about me being the only American in a community. For instance, she said there's a nice area within a few miles of her parents, but she's not sure how the community would react to an American living there.


4/03/2007 5:24 PM  
Blogger Dave said...


I am not aware of any "American sub-communities" in Amman. In fact, if there were any, I wouldn't recommend living there. I think you would lose much of the cultural interaction if you sequestered yourself in a "foreign" community.

Also, you're working under the assumptions that Amman is structured around visible "communities". If you get here and find one, let me know, because I have yet to see such a thing (aside from family communities).

4/04/2007 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Thanks for the advice Dave, I think we are just going to try and find a place in the area near her parents. I really appreciate your time and hope I didn't bug you too much.

4/05/2007 6:04 AM  

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