Jordan

General Information Banking
Business Etiquette Tips Embassy Locations and Registration
Employment-Legal Requirements Entry and Exit Requirements
Intellectual Property Legal and Registration of a Business Entity
Safety and Crime Taxes

General Information

JordanJordan is a small, water-poor country that relies heavily on imports from other countries due to limited natural resources. The country has adopted a pro-Western foreign policy and maintained close relations with the United States for 60 years. The government consists of a constitutional monarchy in which the king signs and executes all laws, although a two-thirds vote of both houses of the National Assembly can override his veto power. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide much of the conservative foundation for the country's customs, laws, and practices. Jordan is a developing economy with a modern infrastructure heavily influenced by Western culture. 

There may be political unrest and/or targeted crime against visitors to the country.  Travelers should check with the U.S. State Department Web site for current travel safety information.

Major Cities Capital:  Amman (population 2.5 million)
Major cities:  Irbid and Az-Zarqa
 
Official Currency Jordan's official currency is the Jordanian dinar (JD)
Time Zone UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, D.C. during Standard Time). Daylight Saving Time: +1 hour, begins last Thursday in March, ends last Friday in September.
Language Arabic (official), with English widely understood among upper and middle classes


Legal System and Government

Type of Legal System

The Jordanian legal system is based on Islamic law and French codes with judicial review of legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal. It has not accepted compulsory International Court of Jusctice (ICJ) jurisdiction.

Form of Government

Constitutional monarchy.

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Banking

Some banks have started adopting modern banking practices such as automated check clearing and the use of magnetic check processors, unified reporting forms, telebanking, and online banking. The banking system is comprised of 23 commercial banks, 8 of which are branches of foreign banks and 2 of Islamic banks in addition to a number of specialized credit institutions. The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ), available at  http://www.cbj.gov.jo, is the banking system's regulatory authority.

Nonresidents are allowed to open bank accounts in foreign currencies with no set restrictions placed on the amount of foreign currency that may be held. 

Available Banking Services

ATMs available
Limited online banking services
Banking in English

Bank Holidays

New Year's Day
El am Hejir New Year 
King Abdullah's Birthday 
Prophet's Anniversary-Eid-Milad Nnabi 
Labor Day 
Independence Day 
End of Ramadan 
Eid-ul-Adha-Feast of the Sacrifice
Christmas Day 
El am Hejir New Year 

U.S.  and Other Major Banks in Country

(Note: Addresses and contact information subject to change.)

Standard Chartered Bank
Principal Office
P.O. Box 9997
Shmeissani
Phone: 962 (06) 560 7201
Fax: 962 (06) 562-4106
Web: http://www.standardchartered.com/jo/index.html

Citibank N.A.
P.O. Box 5055
Amman 11183, Jordan
Phone: 962 (06) 567 5100
Web: http://www.citibank.com/jordan/

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Business Etiquette Tips

Business Attire

Business dress should be modest and conservative. It is better to err on the side of modesty than to be seen as pushing the boundaries of morality. Normal business dress for men is a suit and tie and for women a conservative dress or business suit.

Business Negotiations

Your first meeting with a business associate starts with full introductions. Be prepared with a large supply of business cards and brochures printed in both English and Arabic. Jordanian business is considered highly relational, so relationship-building is crucial and serves as the foundation of business transactions.  Jordanians love to negotiate. Honor is of paramount importance. Casting doubt on the honor of your discussion partner will ruin a deal. 

Proper Greetings

Use proper titles of respect during the initial stages of getting to know someone, in all written correspondence, and when introducing your contact to others.  Doing so conveys honor and respect. The majority of Jordanians greet one another by saying "Issallam 'alaykum," and responding "Alaykum Issallam" which translates to "peace be upon you," and "upon you, peace also."

Public and Social Behavior

Jordanians stand closer than most Westerners. For Americans, use about half your normal distance. When entering a room, people will rise if seated, and you should greet them with a handshake moving from right to left around the room. When choosing a seat, select the one closest to the door unless invited to sit elsewhere. When seated, as a note of caution, keep the bottoms of your feet on the floor as they are considered dirty. An avoidance of eye contact may make your host question your integrity, but be mindful that direct eye contact with members of the opposite sex can be considered inappropriate.

Scheduling Appointments

Most Jordanians are familiar with Western traditions of keeping to scheduled appointment times, but it is not necessary to arrive early for meetings. Traditional Arabic culture is not as time oriented, and appointments may not work out as anticipated. Be prepared to improvise.

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Embassy Locations and Registration

Americans living or traveling in Jordan are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department's travel registration Web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Jordan. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

(Note: Addresses and contact information subject to change.)

U.S. Embassy in Amman
Mailing Address: 
P.O. Box 354
Amman 11118 Jordan
Phone: (962-6) 590-6000 After hours:  (962-6) 590-6000
Fax:  (962-6) 592-4102
Web:  http://amman.usembassy.gov

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
3504 International Drive, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 966-2664
Fax:  (202) 966-3110
Web:  http://www.jordanembassyus.org

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Employment-Legal Requirements

Contracts of employment should be written in Arabic and a copy provided to both the employer and employee.  If there is no contract the worker may establish his rights by all legal means of evidence.  Employees employed for a specified period shall be considered in service throughout that period only, and any employment contract automatically terminates at the end of that period. If both parties to the contract continue implementing it after that period has expired, the contract shall be considered to have been renewed as a contract for an indefinite duration, and the time frame will be retroactive to the commencement date, making the contractor an employee. If a worker is regularly employed for piece-work (paid for tasks completed or actions performed) in the workplace or regularly performs a series of tasks by piece-work that worker shall then be considered an employee for an indefinite duration.

Maximum working hours are 48 hours during a six-day week. The seventh day is a paid weekly holiday.

Terminating Employees

If a contract of employment for a specified period is terminated before its expiration date by either the employer or the worker without just cause, the worker has the right to receive all his entitlements and benefits as stipulated by the contract. He is also entitled to receive any payment due throughout the remaining period unless the termination of the contract is considered a dismissal. 

If a contract of employment for a specified period is terminated by a worker without just cause, then the employer may claim damages from the worker. The amount of damages will be determined by a competent court. But the worker cannot be ordered to pay more than the equivalent of half his remuneration for every month remaining in the contract period.

Legally Mandated Benefits and Leave

Annual Paid Leave 14 days (21 days after 5 years of employment)
Child Care Leave 12 months (Every female worker in an establishment employing 10 or more workers is entitled to a maximum of 1 year unpaid leave to bring up her children. She has the right to be reinstated at the end of her leave but will lose that right if she was engaged in gainful employment during that period.)
Educational Unpaid Leave 4 months (Every worker shall be entitled to 4 months of unpaid leave if he or she wishes to study in an officially recognized university, institute, or college.)
Miscellaneous Paid Leave 14 days maximum (This is either for (a) to follow a ministry-approved workers' education course, upon nomination by the employer or manager; or (b) to go on pilgrimage, provided that the employee has been employed for a minimum of 5 consecutive years. It is granted only once during the worker's period of service.)
Maternity Leave 10 weeks (100 percent paid leave. Leave after delivery shall be no less than 6 weeks long and employment before the expiry of such a period shall be prohibited. Upon return, 1 hour a day is provided for nursing.)
Spousal Leave 1 to 2 years (Every worker, male or female, has the right to take unpaid leave once for a maximum period of 2 years to accompany his or her spouse if the latter is moved to a work place in a province other than the one in which he or she normally works or abroad.

 

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Entry and Exit Requirements

A passport and a visa are required.  Jordan issues visas for a fee at most international ports of entry upon arrival and at most international border crossings except at the crossing known in Jordan as the King Hussein Bridge. (This same crossing is known in Israel as the Allenby Bridge.) To cross into Jordan at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge, U.S. citizens must already have either a visa for Jordan in their passports or have an entry permit from the Ministry of Interior.

Foreigners who wish to stay 30 days or more in Jordan must register at a Jordanian police station by their 30th day in the country. For stays of 12 months or more, police will require that an AIDS test be performed at a government medical facility. 

Reminder: American citizens are subject to Jordanian laws while in Jordan.

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Intellectual Property

Jordan's intellectual property laws meet international standards, and they are regarded as being Travel-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)-consistent. Effective enforcement mechanisms and legal procedures are still evolving and improving in Jordan.

Nature of Rights and Available Protection

Patents

The duration of the patent is 20 years from the filing date of a patent application for registration under the provisions of patent law.

Industrial Designs and Models

The term of protection of an industrial design or model is 15 years from the filing date of the application for registration with the registrar.

Trademarks (including well-known marks and collective marks)

The ownership right of a trademark is for 10 years as of its registration date, and it may be renewed for 10-year periods under the provisions of this law.  A trademark is any visually perceptible sign used or to be used by any person for distinguishing his goods or services from those of others.

A well-known mark is a mark with a world-renowned reputation that has surpassed the country of origin where it has been registered and acquired fame in the relevant sector among the consumer public in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The collective mark is a mark used by a legal person for certifying the origin of goods not manufactured by him, the materials out of which they were made, or the manufacturing precision or other characteristic of those goods.

Enforcement

Infringement is punishable by imprisonment of no less than three months and no more than one year or a fine contingent upon the extent of the crime or both.  A patent owner may claim damages for any damage or loss sustained due to any acts of infringement and exploitation of his patent. The owner of a patent registered in the kingdom may also request the court to stop the infringement, seize the product(s), and preserve all evidence while the court reviews the lawsuit. 

Before filing a civil or criminal lawsuit, the patentee who claims an infringement upon his patent may ask the court to take any of the measures provided for above without notifying the defendant. But he must first prove to be the patentee and show that his patent is being infringed upon or is about to be infringed upon.  Additionally, he has to be in a position likely to sustain irreparable damage or be worried that evidence will be hidden or destroyed.

In addition to the above, payment must accompany the complaint upon submittal to the court. The defendant has eight days to appeal the initial decision. The decision of the appellate court cannot be appealed.

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Legal and Registration of a Business Entity

Foreign companies and institutions can register and operate in Jordan through the Ministry of Industry and Trade. It is wise to use a local attorney as a legal adviser to help in the process of registering a company. 

Nonprofit companies may be registered in accordance with one of the types of companies provided above and in accordance with the provisions set forth by law. These companies are registered in a special register named "Register of Non-Profit Companies." Approval of the company provisions, conditions, objectives, type of work that is permitted, and other details must be approved prior to receiving this designation.

Other types of foreign companies typically established in Jordan are an operating foreign company, a none-operating foreign company, a regional or representative office, or an exempt company (generally an offshore company).

Foreign companies are encouraged to set up regional offices in Jordan through tax and customs duty exemptions and provisions for the free movement of foreign currency. A regional office can operate from Jordan and conduct business anywhere in the world, except in Jordan, and may not generate income in Jordan. It may, however, collect information concerning general business opportunities in Jordan or in respect of a particular project. The duration of the regional office is not limited to any period of time or to the completion of a specific project. Regional offices enjoy certain exemptions and benefits. 

Registration Formalities (Including Timing)

Jordan's Companies Control Directorate, located within the Ministry of Industry and Trade, essentially offers one-stop shopping for business registration.  The World Bank lists 7 steps to establish a business in Jordan. 

The steps in streamlined version include: 

  1. Open bank account; deposit 50 percent of the capital .
  2. Execute the company's formation contract and the memorandum and articles of association, register the company; obtain registration certificate, and file general assembly first meeting and board of directors' minutes of meeting at the Ministry of Industry .
  3. Register for corporate tax, salary withholding tax, and VAT.*
  4. Register with the chamber of industry or chamber of commerce.*
  5. Obtain a vocational license from the municipality.
  6. Inspection by municipality on safety and health.*
  7. Register for social security.*

*Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.

(Source:  World Bank, Doing Business - Jordan)

Below is a listing of additional resources that may also assist in establishing an office.

Ministry of Planning
www.mop.gov.jo
Ministry of Finance
www.mof.gov.jo
Ministry of Information and Communication Technology
www.moict.gov.jo
Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
www.mota.gov.jo
The Community Knowledge Center
www.ckc.undp.org.jo

 

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Safety and Crime

There may be a threat of terrorism in Jordan. Travelers are encouraged to check the U.S. State Department Web site for the latest updates of travel safety in Jordan. Transnational terrorist groups, as well as less sophisticated local elements, have demonstrated the capability to pose threats in Jordan. In light of these security concerns, travelers are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance, remain aware of their surroundings, and 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. Anti-American and anti-Western sentiment exists in Jordan, and it has been sparked on occasion by political incidents in the region.

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Taxes

The primary forms of income taxes levied are corporate income tax, individual income tax, withholding tax, and distribution tax. Jordan has signed agreements for the prevention of double taxation with numerous countries including the United States. The taxation year is defined as the calendar year.  Individual tax returns are due by April 30th  following the end of the tax year, and any tax due is payable with the return. A penalty is assessed on tax due for each month the payment is late.

According to law, income arising or deemed to be arising in Jordan shall be subject to tax. In order to determine a taxpayer's taxable income, all expenses wholly and exclusively made or incurred in the production of income during the year shall be deducted. Company expenditures on training, marketing, research, and development are tax exempt. Profits from the export of goods and services are totally exempted, with the exception of exports that are governed by trade protocols.

Individual and Employee Taxation

Resident and nonresident individuals are taxed only on income sourced in Jordan.

Determining Tax Residence

An individual present in Jordan for 183 days or more in a calendar year is treated as a resident for tax purposes. Salaries, wages, and other income paid to Jordanian and foreign employees are taxable. The Income Tax Law gives a varying degree of exemption from tax on private sector employees' annual salaries depending on income level. An accountant or specialist should be consulted to determine whether any other exemptions are applicable to a specific situation.

Nontax residence employees:  All income sourced in Jordan is taxed according to the rates listed on the Jordan Tax Rates Web site.

Corporate and Employer Tax Obligations

All companies registered in Jordan are deemed resident and as such are responsible for tax on all income sourced in Jordan. Every employer who pays salaries, wages, allowances, or bonuses to employees must deduct from such payments the tax due and forward it to the tax authorities on a monthly basis.

A percentage of each taxpayer's income is due from each individual as social service tax. In addition, a portion of any payment made by a Jordanian resident to a nonresident should be withheld as payment on account of the tax due, and it should be forwarded by the Jordanian resident payer to the tax authorities within 30 days from the date it was withheld.

Corporate Taxes

Payroll Tax

The employer withholds a progressive rate from monthly compensation.

Social Security

Social security tax is comprised of the employee contribution and the employer contribution. Employers are required to withhold and report contributions on a monthly basis.

An additional tax may be imposed upon the following industries: mining, industry, hotels, hospitals, transportation, contracting, and other sectors as approved by the Council of Ministers (the Federal Government of Jordan).

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Online Resources Used for This Template

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