Visa issues for Jordan medical tourism

With little or no help from government bodies, the Private Hospitals Association is promoting medical tourism at Jordan’s private hospitals.

With visa and other problems in traditional source Arab countries, Jordan is targeting medical tourists from Kazakhstan, Chad, and Nigeria- as well as existing markets of Algeria, Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.

Despite a reduction in the visa issuance time for Libyan and Yemeni nationals to 48 hours, further restrictions remain in place for patients from Sudan, Syria, Chad and Nigeria—the key source countries of Jordan’s medical tourists.

The Private Hospitals Association has asked the government to facilitate visa applications for restricted nationalities with an exemption for children under 15 and men above 50, as well as all women. It hopes to reach a stage where all e-visas for medical tourists can be approved within 48 hours.

The government has endorsed a new process for issuing visas for Sudanese and Yemeni nationals to enter the Kingdom, in a bid to promote the medical tourism sector. Airlines will be required to provide lists of names of Yemenis wishing to enter Jordan to the Interior Ministry, which will issue visas and security clearances within 48 hours. Sudanese over 50 and in possession of at least $5,000 will be granted entry at border crossings. They will be allowed no more than two accompanying persons.

Private hospitals are offering financial guarantees to the Ministry of Interior for every foreign patient that they have.

Numbers entering the Kingdom for treatment have fallen with a decline in numbers in the past two years. This drop reached 80% among Libyans, 50% among Yemenis and 48% among Sudanese.

The Libyan government still owes private hospitals in Jordan $300 million for treatment provided to their nationals.