Jordan and Palestine: Documents issued to stateless Palestinians, including yellow cards, green cards, and blue cards; requirements and procedures for stateless Palestinians to acquire Jordanian passports; the distinction between passports with and without a national number; loss of Jordanian passport; entry procedures for Palestinians holding Palestinian Authority (PA) passports; sponsorship by Jordanian citizens of their spouses (2018–October 2022) [ZZZ200607.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

Recent information on this topic was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

1. Overview

According to sources, approximately half of the Jordanian population has Palestinian heritage (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 1; MRG n.d.). A 2015 report by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on Palestinians in Jordan and Lebanon notes that there are three different groups of Palestinians who migrated to Jordan over the second half of the 20th century:

  • Those who fled the Arab-Israeli War of 1947–1949, settled in the East Bank or West Bank and were granted citizenship following Jordan's annexation of the West Bank in 1950 and the adoption of its new constitution. However, after Jordan's "disengagement" from its administrative rule of the West Bank in 1988, the citizenship of Palestinians living in the West Bank was "revoked";
  • Those who fled the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 and Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip (previously under Egypt's administration), Golan Heights, and Sinai Peninsula;
  • Those who arrived following the 1990–1991 Gulf War when Kuwait and other countries in the region "evicted" their Palestinian and Jordanian residents (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.4, 3.5, 3.6).

According to the US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2021, there are "[f]our distinct groups" of individuals of Palestinian descent who reside in Jordan:

  • "Palestinians and their children who migrated to [Jordan] and the Jordan-controlled West Bank after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war [and] received full citizenship";
  • "Palestinians who migrated to [Jordan] after the 1967 war and held no residency entitlement in the West Bank," who also received full Jordanian citizenship;
  • "Palestinians and their children still holding residency in the West Bank after the 1967 war [who] were not entitled to citizenship, but [who] could obtain temporary travel documents without national identification numbers, provided they did not also carry a Palestinian Authority travel document"; this group had "some" access to government services; and
  • "Refugees and their children who fled Gaza after the 1967 war [who] were not entitled to citizenship, and [to whom] authorities issued … temporary travel documents without national numbers"; this group had "no access to government services and were almost completely dependent" on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) [1] (US 12 Apr. 2022, 46).

The same source indicates that there are currently 174,000 individuals of Palestinian descent who are known as "'ex-Gazans'" and who reside in Jordan without holding citizenship (US 12 Apr. 2022, 32). The UNRWA reported in 2018 that the figure was "some 158,000 'ex-Gazans'," and specified that this group fled the Gaza Strip following the "hostilities" in June 1967 (UN Mar. 2018). Both sources note that as non-citizens, these individuals face "[s]everal legal restrictions" to their rights (UN Mar. 2018) or are "unable" to access basic services (US 12 Apr. 2022, 33). According to Australia's DFAT, formerly Gazan Palestinians living in Jordan "are almost uniformly poor" (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.31).

2. Identity Cards and Documents Issued

Sources report that in 1983, Jordan began issuing colour-coded "travel" (HRW Feb. 2010, 2), "bridge" (Identity Center for Human Development 2012, 4), or "crossing" (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 4) cards to Palestinians to allow them to cross the border between the West Bank and Jordan (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 4; HRW Feb. 2010, 2; Identity Center for Human Development 2012, 4).

According to a 2020 report by the Danish National ID Centre (NIDC) [2], citing a 2010 report by Landinfo, Norway's Country of Origin Information Centre, the travel card allowed cardholders to cross the border between the West Bank and Jordan "without having their Jordanian passport stamped by Israeli authorities," since Israeli stamps on passports could "potentially" cause issues for travelers entering Arab countries that do not recognize Israeli statehood (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 4).

The Identity Center for Human Development, an "independent," Jordan-based "civil society organisation working to encourage development across the Middle East" (US n.d.), notes that as of 1988, the colour-coded cards "became the basis of determining nationality" in Jordan (Identity Center for Human Development 2012, 4). The NIDC indicates that the new card system was tied to the card bearer's "basis for residence in Jordan" (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 4). A 2010 report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on loss of nationality for Jordanians of Palestinian origin notes that "possession of a green or yellow card can serve as the official basis for withdrawing nationality" (HRW Feb. 2010, 2). The same source adds that, "in practice," the introduction of the colour-coded travel cards led to the creation of "three tiers of citizenship rights," distinguishing between East Bank-origin Palestinian-Jordanians, West Bank-origin Palestinians who had moved to the East Bank, and West Bank-origin Palestinians who continue to reside in the West Bank; while some cardholders are still recognized as citizens, others living in the West Bank have "sometimes lost their right to live in the East Bank" (HRW Feb. 2010, 2).

Australia's DFAT notes, however, that Palestinian-Jordanians who originally settled in the East Bank and had no family or property ties to the West Bank were exempted from the new card system and "retained full citizenship" as Jordanians, including their national identification number and "full access to services and a normal five-year passport" (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.24).

2.1 Yellow Cards

According to Jordan's Public Security Directorate (PSD), yellow cards are granted to "Jordanians (holding Jordanian nationalities and family reunification) who have the right to visit Palestine [areas controlled by the PA]" (Jordan n.d.a). A 2015 report authored by Sawsan Ramahi and published by the Middle East Monitor (MEMO), a media monitoring organization which also engages with stakeholders to support an appreciation of Palestinian issues (MEMO n.d.), similarly reports that yellow cards were granted to Jordanian residents of Palestinian descent "who had a family reunification permit or the right to live in the West Bank" for travel between Jordan and the West Bank (MEMO Dec. 2015, 8). Australia's DFAT also notes that yellow card holders are Palestinian-Jordanian citizens who reside in the East Bank but still have "family or property in the West Bank" (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.22). Finally, the report by the NIDC states in summary that

[y]ellow cards were issued to Palestinians from the West Bank with permanent residence in Jordan granted before 1 June 1983. In order to have a yellow crossing card issued, the holder must be registered by Israeli authorities as residents on the West Bank based on family reunification. (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 4)

The same source adds, citing Landinfo, that following the end of Jordanian administrative rule in the West Bank in 1988, yellow card holders were determined to be Jordanian citizens (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 5). Similarly, MEMO reports that as of 1983, Palestinians from the West Bank living in Jordan "received a national identity number" (MEMO Dec. 2015, 8). However, sources also indicate that some yellow card holders have since had their citizenship revoked (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.25; Identity Center for Human Development 2012, 5-6). For further information on the revocation of the citizenship of yellow card holders, see Section 4 of this Response.

According to the PSD, the card is issued by the Audit and Follow-Up Section of the Bridges Security Department (Jordan n.d.a). DFAT reports that, "[b]ased on publicly available research and conversations with Palestinians in Jordan," it estimates "10 to 20" percent of Palestinian-Jordanians to be yellow card holders (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.25).

2.2 Green Cards

According to Jordan's PSD, green cards are "granted to Palestinians who resid[e in] Palestinian regions" and to Jordanians who hold reunification permits in Palestine (Jordan n.d.a). Similarly, and more specifically, MEMO reports that green cards were issued to "West Bank residents who visit[ed] Jordan" as of 1983; green card holders are now "Palestinians living in the West Bank who do not have Jordanian national numbers and do not receive any [of the] privileges or rights received by Jordanian citizens or Palestinians living in Jordan" (MEMO Dec. 2015, 8). Sources specify that green cards were once issued to recognized Palestinian-Jordanian citizens living in the West Bank, to facilitate their travel to and from Jordan, but these individuals were stripped of their Jordanian citizenship when the country ended its administrative annexation of the West Bank in 1988 (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.22, 3.23; The Legal Agenda 16 Feb. 2016). The report by the NIDC notes that green cards were also granted to Palestinians with a Jordanian temporary passport [T-passport] who obtained permanent residence in the West Bank prior to 1 June 1983 (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 4). Finally, the Identity Center for Human Development notes that Palestinian residents of Jerusalem [3] are also extended a Jordanian green card without citizenship (2012, 5).

The NIDC indicates that green card holders reside in the West Bank and are permitted to visit Jordan for periods of no longer than two months (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 4). Citing Landinfo, the same source further states that following the end of Jordanian administrative rule in the West Bank in 1988, green card holders came to be "categorised as stateless Palestinians" (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 5). The PSD indicates that the card is issued at crossing point of the King Hussein Bridge crossing point when entering Jordan for the first time (Jordan n.d.a).

2.3 Blue Cards

According to Jordan's PSD, blue cards are granted to former "residents of [the] Gaza Strip who hold reunification approvals" by the General Intelligence Department (GID) (Jordan n.d.a). Similarly, the NIDC report indicates that "[b]lue cards were issued to stateless Palestinians from Gaza residing in Jordan" with a Jordanian temporary passport (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 4). The Identity Center for Human Development specifies that blue card holders are "Gazan refugees" who arrived in Jordan in response to "the 1967 war," but never received residency (Identity Center for Human Development 2012, 5). According to Australia's DFAT, blue cards are required for Gazan Palestinians to obtain a residency permit, "which needs to be updated every two years" (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.36).

US Country Reports 2021 states that Jordanian citizenship was not granted to either Palestinians and their children who held residency status in the West Bank after 1967 or those who fled Gaza for Jordan after 1967 (US 12 Apr. 2022, 46). The same source indicates that the "registration cards" extended to "'ex-Gazans'" by the Jordanian authorities also act as personal identity documents conferring permanent residence status (US 12 Apr. 2022, 33).

3. Jordanian Passports
3.1 With National Numbers

A sample of a Jordanian passport with a nationality number is available in the 2020 NIDC report (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 3).

According to Australia's DFAT, Jordanian citizens of Palestinian descent, including yellow card holders, are granted "a normal five-year passport" with a national number (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.24, 3.25).

3.2 Without National Numbers

A sample of a Jordanian temporary passport without a nationality number is available in the 2020 NIDC report (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 3).

Sources report that temporary passports do not include a national number (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.26; HRW 24 Apr. 2018; US 12 Apr. 2022, 46). In discussing the situation of a stateless Palestinian woman interviewed in 2009, HRW indicates that a temporary passport without a national number can serve to "acknowledge … statelessness" (HRW Feb. 2010, 49). The Middle East Eye (MEE), an English-language "digital news organisation" whose coverage focuses on the Middle East and North Africa (MEE n.d.), indicates that temporary passports are issued to residents of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and do not afford their bearers the "full rights" of Jordanian citizenship (MEE 8 Nov. 2018). Other sources specify that Jordanian temporary passports without national numbers are issued to Palestinians who fled to Jordan from Gaza after 1967 (HRW 24 Apr. 2018, 16, 18-19; US 12 Apr. 2022, 32–33, 46). Australia's DFAT notes that green card holders without PA passports are among those issued temporary passports by Jordan (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.26).

Sources also note that temporary passports, which are available to green card holders who do not have a PA passport (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.26) or "issued to Palestinians who live in occupied East Jerusalem" (MEE 8 Nov. 2018), have a validity of five years (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.26; MEE 8 Nov. 2018). According to sources, Palestinians who come from Gaza may apply for temporary passports that are valid for either two or five years (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 2; The Jordan Times 4 Dec. 2018). However, other sources indicate that Palestinians from Gaza can only obtain a temporary passport that is valid for two years (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.35; MEMO Dec. 2015, 8). DFAT notes that holders of the two-year temporary passports reportedly "find it difficult to obtain visas for other countries" (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.35). In an article by Michael Vicente Pérez [4] published in the Middle East Critique, a peer-reviewed journal (Taylor & Francis Online n.d.), a Gazan Palestinian in Jordan noted that he had a "two-year passport" at the end of which was written "Ghazawi (Gazan)" (Pérez 2018, 278).

Citing a report published in 2019 by Lifos, the Swedish Migration Agency's institution for country-of-origin information (Sweden 4 Jan. 2022), the NIDC adds that because Palestinian authorities cannot issue PA passports to Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, these residents apply for Jordanian temporary passports "more often" than do Palestinian residents of the West Bank (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 2). MEE notes that temporary passports are used as travel documents, most notably by residents of East Jerusalem, as Israeli-issued travel documents are not recognized by a "majority" of Arab states (MEE 8 Nov. 2018). The same source adds that, according to the owner of a travel agency interviewed by MEE, Palestinians in Jerusalem are concerned that applying for a PA-issued travel document could have "'repercussions'" regarding "'their legal status and residence in Jerusalem'" (MEE 8 Nov. 2018).

Sources note that temporary passports without a Jordanian national number have been issued to one million (HRW 24 Apr. 2018, 16) or "around" one million individuals (The Jordan Times 23 Jan. 2016). The Jordan Times, an English-language daily newspaper (The Jordan Times n.d.), cites "official figures" as indicating that 150,000 of these individuals are of Gazan descent, while "the rest are Palestinians who do not have a national number after Jordan's disengagement from the West Bank in 1989" (23 Jan. 2016).

According to Keesing Documentchecker, the 2007 iteration of the temporary passport includes a 6-digit document number that is "preceded by letter 'T'" (Keesing Technologies n.d.). The NIDC, citing the Lifos report, indicates that temporary passports have a 10-digit serial number inside their covers; if the first digit of the serial number is a "9," this indicates to Jordanian authorities that the passport holder is a stateless Palestinians residing in the West Bank, while a serial number beginning with a "5" identifies its holder as a stateless Palestinian residing in Gaza (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 2).

Regarding the rights and access to services conferred by temporary passports, US Country Reports 2021 indicates that Jordanian temporary passports grant West Bank holders access to "some" government services, with discounted health care but non-citizen rates for education (US 12 Apr. 2022, 46). The same source notes that temporary passports issued to individuals of Palestinian descent from Gaza provide "no access to government services" (US 12 Apr. 2022, 46). MEMO similarly states that the temporary passports extended to Gazans

do not give them any citizenship rights to state education, own property, equality at work or health insurance. The people from Gaza are not allowed to work in government sectors while the private sector prefers not to employ anyone without Jordanian citizenship. (Dec. 2015, 8)

The same source adds that to practise in Jordan, professionals such as doctors, engineers and lawyers must hold Jordanian citizenship (MEMO Dec. 2015, 8).

However, an article in the Jordan Times reports that "new resolutions" were passed by Jordan's Cabinet in December 2018 that gave the "heads of Gazan families" the right to "own some forms of property" and "register diesel-run vehicles under their names" (4 Dec. 2018).

3.3 Requirements and Procedures for Obtaining a Temporary Passport
3.3.1 For Residents of the West Bank and Jerusalem Without a National Number

Sources report that temporary passports may be obtained through the Civil Status and Passports Department (CSPD) [Civil Affairs and Passports Directorate] (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 3; MEE 8 Nov. 2018), which reports to the Ministry of Interior, or through Jordanian diplomatic missions (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 3). Citing diplomatic sources in correspondence with Landinfo, the NIDC reports that the CSPD has offices in every city in Jordan, each of which comprises a sub-entity for passports, another for civil matters, and a third for stateless Palestinian holders of temporary passports (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 3).

According to the CSPD website, for first time applications for a five-year Jordanian temporary passport submitted by Palestinian residents of the West Bank, the following documents are required and must be presented in person by the applicant or by [translation] "a second-degree adult relative (uncle, aunt)":

  • Proof of Palestinian citizenship and residency; original and photocopy of the father's passport; or the passport of a brother, paternal uncle, or paternal grandfather in combination with the father's birth certificate;
  • Completed temporary passport application form;
  • Original and photocopy of a valid green card and Palestinian-Israeli identity card;
  • Letter asserting "security approval" for applicants from the ages of 15 to 70, issued by the GID;
  • Written authorization for minors under 18 from their guardian;
  • Original and photocopy of the applicant's birth certificate;
  • Photocopy of Al-Quds/Jerusalem identity card or translated Israeli permit for applicants residing in Jerusalem;
  • Original and photocopy of marriage, divorce, or death certificate where applicable for married, divorced, or widowed women applicants;
  • Photocopy of husband's passport regardless of country of citizenship for women applicants;
  • Two colour photographs (Jordan n.d.b).

The same source lists the following procedural steps for obtaining a five-year temporary passport:

  • Visit a Public Service Office at the West Bank Passport Directorate or a Jordanian embassy or consulate abroad to fill out the passport application form and obtain a queue number;
  • See the Office Secretary or their assistant to obtain application approval and the employee in charge of obtaining approval from the security authorities to issue the passport for applicants between the ages of 15 and 70 whose father's passport is valid;
  • See the Information Officer to issue the passport upon receipt of security approval;
  • See the Treasury Secretary to pay the applicable legal fees of 200 dinars [C$385] for first-time applicants; 50 dinars [C$96] for Jerusalem residents; and 100 dinars [C$192] for applicants from abroad;
  • Submit the application to the Issuing Section to issue the passport;
  • Send the application to the Archives Officer followed by the Printing Department;
  • The officer will then insert the passport cover and make it machine readable, providing it to the applicant once the receipt is received (Jordan n.d.b).

3.3.2 For Applicants from the Gaza Strip Without a National Number

According to the CSPD, for a two-year Jordanian temporary passport, first-time applicants from the Gaza Strip must present the following required documents in person at the Gaza Passport Office:

  • Completed temporary passport application form;
  • Father's passport as proof of a family member having held a temporary passport for Palestinians from Gaza;
  • Passport if they are [translation] "included" in the passport of one of their parents;
  • Proof of identity;
  • Mother's passport or other identity document;
  • Birth certificate;
  • "Explanations provided by the Follow-Up and Inspection Department";
  • An approval provided by GID authorities;
  • Proof of residency;
  • Certificate of "clean" criminal record from the applicable court for applicants over the age of 16;
  • Two colour photographs (Jordan n.d.c).

The same source lists the following procedural steps for obtaining a two-year temporary passport:

  • Visit a Public Service Office at the Gaza Strip Passport Office to fill out the passport application form, submit the required documents, and obtain a queue number;
  • See the Office Secretary or their assistant to obtain application approval followed by the employee in charge of accepting and verifying transactions;
  • Communicate with the security authorities to obtain approval for the passport's issuance and check with the information office to verify that approval was given;
  • See the Treasury Secretary to pay the applicable legal fees of 100 dinars;
  • Submit the application to the Issuing Section to issue the passport;
  • Send the application to the Archives Officer followed by the Printing Department;
  • The officer will then insert the passport cover and make it machine readable, providing it to the applicant after receiving the receipt (Jordan n.d.c).

4. Loss of Jordanian Passport and Yellow Card

HRW, citing their interview with a former UN official "whose nationality was withdrawn," notes that a national number is considered proof of citizenship in Jordan (HRW Feb. 2010, 21–22). Sources report that, in the first decade of the 21st century, Jordan revoked the citizenship of "thousands" of Jordanian citizens of Palestinian descent (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.40; HRW Feb. 2010, 1), converting yellow card holders with national numbers to green card holders without national numbers (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.40). HRW notes that "[e]xchanging yellow for green cards entails a loss of nationality" (HRW Feb. 2010, 26). The Identity Center for Human Development indicates that with the "loss of nationality" residents become "ineligible for state services," such as government-subsidized health care and education, and lose "a number of fundamental rights," including property, movement, and family rights (2012, 8).

According to the Legal Agenda (LA), a "Beirut-based nonprofit research and advocacy organization" that seeks to establish new approaches to law, justice, and rights in Arabic-speaking countries (LA n.d.), the Jordanian government also revoked nationality by "refusing to renew" the ordinary Jordanian passports of Palestinian-Jordanian citizens affected by the "disengagement instructions" and replacing them with "temporary ones that did not carry a national [ID] number" (LA 16 Feb. 2016, brackets in original). Sources indicate that the revocation of Palestinian-Jordanians' citizenship by Jordan was done "arbitrar[ily]" and in contradiction of Jordan's nationality law (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.41; HRW Feb. 2010, 1). In its 2010 report, HRW notes the following:

Withdrawal of nationality in fact has not been based on Jordanian law, but on vague interpretations of the 1988 severance decision [regarding the West Bank] and on new, unwritten conditions that lack a clear legal basis … . No official informs those whose nationality has been withdrawn of that decision: rather, they are told that they are no longer Jordanian nationals during routine interactions with the bureaucracy such as renewing passports, registering a child's birth, renewing a driver's license, or trying to sell shares. (Feb. 2010, 3)

In an article published in Al-Shabaka: the Palestinian Policy Network (Al-Shabaka), "an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit" think tank in New York that advocates for the human rights and self-determination of Palestinians (Al-Shabaka n.d.), authors Ouroub El-Abed and Oraib Rantawi report that since 2001, immigration officers in Jordan have been empowered to withdraw the passports of "Palestinian-origin Jordanians" and replace them with travel documents "at [the officer's] discretion" (Rantawi and El-Abed Oct. 2012, 3). HRW indicates in its 2010 report that "[i]n most but not all cases" where nationality was revoked for Jordanian nationals of Palestinian descent, the individuals lacked a "valid Israeli-issued residence permi[t]" (Feb. 2010, 42). HRW adds that this requirement is applied to yellow cardholding Palestinian-Jordanians, "regardless of their presence in the West Bank or in the East Bank in 1988" [when Jordan disengaged from its administrative rule of the West Bank] (Feb. 2010, 42). LA reports that, as of 2016, the latest "instructions" released by the Jordanian government indicate that citizenship will be revoked for anyone who

  • holds a Palestinian ID and works for the PA;
  • has a "valid or expired Israeli occupation ID card";
  • holds a US Green Card;
  • "left Palestine between 1967 and 1988 and holds an Israeli ID card, among those covered by the census which was carried out by the Israeli occupation after 1967"; and
  • holds "Arab identification documents" (16 Feb. 2016).

Information on the loss of temporary passports, green, or blue cards could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

4.1 Reacquiring a Jordanian Passport

HRW's 2010 report notes that loss of citizenship in Jordan means that "Palestinian non-nationals" are required to obtain a "residency permit subject to approval by the [GID]" (Feb. 2010, 3). The same source adds that while Palestinian-Jordanian citizens who lose their passports "can still obtain [temporary] Jordanian passports," these are used "only as travel documents, not proof of nationality" and involve higher application fees than passport applications for Jordanian citizens (HRW Feb. 2010, 3). LA indicates that while a revocation of citizenship can be "challenged" and the decision "abolished" if there is an error in the "implementation of the instructions," the Jordanian administrative judiciary has found that the "disengagement decision under which the written instructions were issued … may not be appealed" because it is a "sovereign decision," which is not within its jurisdiction (16 Feb. 2016). HRW also notes that "no clear means of administrative redress" exists, and "judicial redress is difficult, if not impossible," to access in order to contest the loss of citizenship by Jordanian citizens of Palestinian descent, although "[s]ome of those affected who have influence in high places have managed to have the decisions reversed" (Feb. 2010, 3). According to the same source, Palestinians whose nationality has been withdrawn do not receive official notice; "rather, they are told … during routine interactions with the bureaucracy such as renewing passports, registering a child's birth, renewing a driver's license, or trying to sell shares" (HRW Feb. 2010, 3). According to the Identity Center for Human Development, Jordanian citizens of Palestinian descent are foregoing renewing their passports, as "many" of them now "fear having their current passports exchanged for temporary ones that lack national numbers" (2012, 8).

5. Entry Procedure into Jordan with PA Passport

According to Australia's DFAT, since the establishment of the PA in 1994, "most" Palestinians who are residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been able to receive PA passports which can be used to enter Jordan (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.23). The same source notes that while Palestinians travelling between Jordan and the West Bank via the King Hussein Bridge must present their "colour-coded bridge cards," for those leaving Jordan through other borders, seaports or airports, the procedures are "no different" than for other Jordanians (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.72). According to an information page on arrival procedures for Arab foreign nationals published on Jordan's Bridges Security Department website, PA passport holders, residents of Jerusalem, and yellow card holders with a Jordanian passport that includes a national number must possess the following:

  • "bridges statistics cards"
  • "unification and permit issued by the occupation authority" authorizing them to live and travel in PA-controlled areas
  • PA identity card
  • permanent or temporary Jordanian passport or a Palestinian passport (Jordan n.d.d).

The same source notes that the following documents are required for each of these travellers respectively when entering Jordan:

Documents required of the traveler (people with Palestinian passport) when coming to the Kingdom via the King Hussein Bridge:

  1. A valid Palestinian passport.
  2. Green Bridges statistics card
  3. Identity card of the Palestinian National Authority.
  4. An Israeli occupation permit if companion exists.

Documents required of the traveler (citizens of Jerusalem) when coming to the Kingdom via the King Hussein Bridge:

  1. A temporary or permanent Jordanian passport or a passport transaction issued from Jerusalem and stamped with the stamp of the representative of the Civil Status and Passports Department in Jerusalem (Nidal Dweik) and the Sharia Court.
  2. Having a temporary residence permit on the passport or an Israeli occupation permit for the residents of Jerusalem.
  3. Bridges statistics card.

Documents required from the traveler (holders of Jordanian passports / national number) and those who have obtained family unification when coming to the Kingdom via the King Hussein Bridge:

  1. A valid Jordanian passport bearing the national number.
  2. Yellow Bridges statistics card.
  3. Israeli occupation permit.
  4. The identity [card] of the Palestinian National Authority. (Jordan n.d.d)

According to the same source, the following steps are taken to process the entry into Jordan of PA passport holders and green and yellow card holders, upon presentation of the required documents:

  • Documents undergo an "[i]nitial examination";
  • "[P]ersonal inspection procedures" are completed;
  • Individual registers as an "incoming" traveller at the service booth;
  • If the traveller is entering for the first time or their green bridges statistics card is missing or full, they visit the "file office" to have the card issued;
  • For green bridges statistics card holders, travellers pay a 10 dinar [C$19] fee "for incoming stamps on the personal pledge to the employee of the Ministry of Finance." Official delegations and pilgrims coming under "Hajj and Umrah statements" are exempt; their arrival and departure procedures are "carried out by the transit system";
  • Traveller goes to the "baggage inspection yard," loads baggage and pays a "loading and unloading fee" of 1,000 fills [5] to the accountant "according to an official ticket";
  • Traveller passes the "customs inspection yard" and proceeds to the "reception yard and the service station" to continue to their destination (Jordan n.d.d).

The Bridges Security Department further indicates that for PA passport holders from the Gaza Strip entering Jordan, the following documents are required for the issuance of a blue card:

  • Valid Palestinian passport
  • Valid Palestinian ID
  • A "permit" or a Palestinian passport for each person accompanying the traveller
  • Letter indicating "[n]o objection" issued by the Jordanian embassy in Ramallah or the Palestinian Affairs Department in Jordan (Jordan n.d.e).

The same source notes the following process for Palestinians from the Gaza Strip entering Jordan upon presentation of the required documents to the bridge authorities:

  • Travellers wait in the arrivals hall for the process to begin;
  • Travellers entering the Arab arrivals hall have their "required documents" checked;
  • If the documents are "completed," travellers are sent to the "file counter" to check whether they have a bridges card and then directed to the relevant employee for bridges blue card issuance;
  • Once the blue card information is entered into the electronic system, the card is given to the traveller (Jordan n.d.e).

Citing Landinfo, the NIDC reports that while the state has a "well-functioning" system of civil registration and border crossing controls, corruption in the central administration is a "problem" (Denmark 16 Apr. 2020, 5).

The information in the following paragraph on the refusal to allow entry into Jordan to Palestinians with residence permits in Jordan was provided by a June 2020 Danish Immigration Service (DIS) report on Palestinian refugees, based in part on information collected by a fact-finding mission, including through consultations with sources from the UNRWA, four "Western" embassies, and one Jordanian "governmental authority":

According to Western embassies, Palestinians holding a temporary residence permit in Jordan who are forcibly returned to the country "will not be allowed to enter," as they are "considered a foreigner." One Western embassy source indicated that Jordanian citizens returned from another country are being "increasing[ly]" refused entry by Jordanian authorities "if it is a forced return." However, Palestinians with temporary residence permits voluntarily returning to Jordan with their self-purchased return ticket and with valid travel documents "can return," unless they have been absent for a "longer period, for instance six to eight months," in which case they "will face problems upon return" (Denmark June 2020, 4, 33). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

6. Sponsorship by Jordanian Citizen of Non-Citizen Spouse
6.1 Jordanian Women with Non-Citizen Husbands

Sources report that in Jordan, women's citizenship rights are not equal to men's; a Jordanian woman cannot pass her citizenship to her non-citizen husband or children (Equality Now 28 Mar. 2018; HRW 13 Jan. 2022). According to Australia's DFAT, since citizenship "derives" from men in Jordan, the child of a Jordanian mother and "an ex-Gazan father" in Jordan is also considered an "ex-Gazan Palestinia[n] by Jordan" (Australia 2 Mar. 2015, para. 3.38). According to HRW, citing a Ministry of Interior figure from 2014, there are "over" 355,000 non-citizen children of Jordanian women (24 Apr. 2018, 58). The same source states that non-citizen children of Jordanian mothers have "severely limited" access to basic rights and services, including employment, education, healthcare, and return to Jordan from travel abroad, and that the majority of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanian citizens are "married to non-citizen Palestinian men" (HRW 24 Apr. 2018, 1, 2). In its 2021 annual report, HRW reiterates that "many professions in Jordan remain close to non-Jordanians," including non-citizen children of Jordanian women (13 Jan. 2022).

US Country Reports 2021 states that non-citizen husbands of Jordanian women may "apply for citizenship only after maintaining continuous Jordanian residency for 15 years" (US 12 Apr. 2022, 33). However, the same source adds that while the husbands of Jordanian women who obtain Jordanian citizenship after 15 years' residency may then apply to pass on their Jordanian citizenship to their children, "[a]pproval of such an application could take years, and the government can deny the application" (US 12 Apr. 2022, 33–34). HRW similarly indicates that provisions related to naturalization in Jordan's nationality law "are unclear and arbitrarily applied" (24 Apr. 2018, 17). Jordan's Nationality Law of 1954, last amended in 1987, provides the following:

Article 4

Any Arab who has resided continuously in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for not less than 15 years may acquire Jordanian nationality, by decision of the Council of Ministers taken on a proposal by the Minister of Internal Affairs, if he renounces his nationality of origin and the law of his country permits him to do so, provided that:

  1. He is of good conduct and has never been convicted of an offence involving his honour or morals;
  2. He has lawful means of livelihood;
  3. He is of sound mind and does not suffer from any impairment that would make him a burden on society;
  4. He takes an oath of allegiance and loyalty to his Majesty before a justice of the peace.

Article 5

His Majesty may, with the approval of the Council of Ministers, grant Jordanian nationality to any emigrant who submits a written declaration of option therefor, on condition that he relinquishes any other nationality possessed by him at the time of

application.

Article 8

  1. Subject to the approval of the Minister of Internal Affairs, a foreign woman who marries a Jordanian national may acquire Jordanian nationality if she so wishes by making a written statement to that effect:
    1. Three years after her marriage if she is an Arab;
    2. Five years after her marriage if she is not an Arab.
  2. A Jordanian woman who marries a non-Jordanian and who acquires the nationality of her husband may retain her Jordanian nationality unless she renounces it in accordance with the provisions of this Law, in which case she may subsequently recover her Jordanian nationality by making an application therefor if her marriage is dissolved for any reason.
  3. A Jordanian woman whose husband was or is being naturalized to acquire the nationality of another country because of special circumstances may retain her Jordanian nationality.

Article 9

The children of a Jordanian man shall be Jordanian wherever they are born.

Article 12

Any person other than a Jordanian who is not incapable by law may apply to the Council of Ministers for grant of a certificate of Jordanian naturalization if:

  1. He has been regularly resident in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for a period of four years preceding the date of his application;
  2. He intends to reside in the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan.

Article 13

  1. The Council of Ministers may grant or reject an application for naturalization under article 12 of this Law.
  2. The Council of Ministers may, subject to the approval of his Majesty the King, waive the requirement of four years' previous residence if the applicant is an Arab or if, for some special reason, his naturalization is in the public interest.
  3. A certificate of Jordanian naturalization shall not be granted to any person unless he loses by such naturalization the nationality he possessed at the date thereof.
  4. A certificate of naturalization shall not be granted to any person who acquired Jordanian nationality by naturalization and who later lost the same by opting to acquire the nationality of a foreign State.
  5. A certificate of naturalization granted by the Council of Ministers shall bear the signature of the Min[is]ter of Internal Affairs or his deputy. (Jordan 1954)

However, an HRW "analysis of announcements of citizenship acquisition in the Official Gazette" found that "[i]n practice," applications for citizenship based on Jordan's Nationality Law were "rarely" approved; in total, "only 33" citizenship applications were approved between 2012 and "early" 2017, including those of six Palestinians under Article 5 (HRW 24 Apr. 2018, 17). The same source further indicates that of 25 "non-citizen children of Jordanian mothers" interviewed for the report, "none … believed they could obtain Jordanian citizenship" under articles 4 or 12 of the Nationality Law (HRW 24 Apr. 2018, 11, 60).

6.2 Jordanian Men with Non-Citizen Wife

According to the DIS, citing information from their fact-finding delegation's meeting with Western embassies, a Jordanian husband is responsible for applying to seek a residence permit for his wife (Denmark June 2020, 33). Jordan's Ministry of Interior website lists the following documents required for Jordanian husbands applying to grant citizenship to their wives:

  • Certified copy of (family book, marriage certificate and valid passport).
  • Copy of passport / wife's travel document.
  • Certified and recent certificate of no criminal record of the wife.
  • A personal photo of the wife.
  • A military conscription booklet for the husband, exemption or termination of service if the husband is subject to military conscription.
  • Family booklet of the husband's father and the bridges yellow card for the husband and his parents if any. (Jordan n.d.f)

The same source notes that upon presentation of the required documents at the Directorate of Citizenship, Expatriate Affairs and Investment headquarters in Jordan, or at a Jordanian embassy or diplomatic mission abroad, the following steps are taken:

  • The individual completes the application form for naturalization, or an overseas mission or embassy submits a request.
  • The receptionist verifies the documents.
  • The "application is referred to the Citizenship Section for consideration."
  • The Civil Status Department and the relevant authorities are contacted.
  • Once the authorities respond, a "letter of consent for naturalization" is drafted.
  • The approval letter is provided to the applicant, who follows up with the Civil Status and Passports Department or the Jordanian Diplomatic Mission (Jordan n.d.g).

HRW provides an example of a Palestinian-Jordanian father, interviewed for their report, whose Jordanian citizenship was withdrawn, and whose children's citizenships were consequently withdrawn, "'even those who were over 18 at the time'"; this included a daughter who had gotten married a year earlier:

"[This daughter's] husband is Jordanian, but when he went to get his family book, they asked him to surrender his wife's ID, and register her as 'Palestinian'." [The interviewee], however, said that one of his daughters regained her nationality: "One daughter … has been married to a Jordanian … for three years and has obtained a national number through him," he said. (Feb. 2010, 37–38)

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) serves 2,307,011 registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan (UN n.d.). UNRWA provides a "range of protection interventions" to Palestinian refugees in Jordan,

including enhancing access to UNRWA services and assistance; strengthening referral pathways with external service providers; improved case management mechanisms; and monitoring, reporting and advocating with duty bearers to promote respect for the rights of Palestine refugees in Jordan in accordance with international law, especially for the rights of and access to services for 'ex-Gazans' and PRS [Palestinian refugees from Syria]. (UN Mar. 2018)

[2] The Danish National ID Centre (NIDC) is an "independent administrative body" that is part of the Danish Return Agency under Denmark's Ministry of Immigration and Integration (Denmark n.d.).

[3] The Identity Center for Human Development states regarding green card holders that Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are considered by Israel to be "permanent residents without nationality rights," but notes that Israel "has recently begun revoking residency rights" (2012, 5).

[4] Michael Vicente Pérez is an affiliate assistant professor in the anthropology department at the University of Washington (University of Washington n.d.).

[5] Fills [fils; fulus] are a sub-unit of Jordanian dinars, and 1,000 fills is equivalent to one dinar [C$1.94] (Global Exchange n.d.).

References

Al-Shabaka. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 26 Sept. 2022]

Australia. 2 March 2015. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). "Palestinians in Jordan and Lebanon." DFAT Thematic Report. [Accessed 20 Apr. 2022]

Denmark. June 2020. Ministry of Immigration and Integration. Palestinian Refugees Access to Registration and UNRWA Services, Documents, and Entry to Jordan. [Accessed 11 Mar. 2021]

Denmark. 16 April 2020. Danish National ID Centre (NIDC). Jordan: Issuance of Jordanian Documents to Stateless Palestinians. [Accessed 4 Mar. 2021]

Denmark. N.d. Danish National ID Centre (NIDC). "About the Danish National ID Centre." [Accessed 14 Nov. 2022]

Equality Now. 28 March 2018. "Jordan: Give Women Equal Citizenship Rights to Men." [Accessed 31 Mar. 2021]

Global Exchange. N.d. "The Jordanian Dinar." [Accessed 3 Nov. 2022]

Human Rights Watch (HRW). 13 January 2022. "Jordan." World Report 2022: Events of 2021. [Accessed 25 May 2022]

Human Rights Watch (HRW). 24 April 2018. "'I Just Want Him to Live Like Other Jordanians': Treatment of Non-Citizen Children of Jordanian Mothers." [Accessed 31 Mar. 2021]

Human Rights Watch (HRW). February 2010. Stateless Again. Palestinian-Origin Jordanians Deprived of Their Nationality. [Accessed 31 Mar. 2021]

Identity Center for Human Development. 2012. Wael Abu Anzeh. Policy Paper: The 1988 Disengagement Regulations and Their Effects on Identity and Participation in Jordan. [Accessed 28 Sept. 2022]

Jordan. 1954. Law No. 6 of 1954 on Nationality (Last Amended 1987). [Accessed 24 Mar. 2021]

Jordan. N.d.a. Public Security Directorate (PSD). "Types of Cards." [Accessed 12 Mar. 2021]

Jordan. N.d.b. Civil Status and Passport Department. "First Time (Temporary) Passport for the People of the West Bank." Excerpt translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada. [Accessed 5 Mar. 2021]

Jordan. N.d.c. Civil Status and Passport Department. "Issuing First-Time (Temporary) Passport for the People of Gaza Strip." Excerpt translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada. [Accessed 5 Mar. 2021]

Jordan. N.d.d. Public Security Directorate (PSD), Bridges Security Department. "Arab Arrivals Movement Procedures / Bridges Security Departme." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2022]

Jordan. N.d.e. Public Security Directorate (PSD), Bridges Security Department. "Procedures for Issuing Blue Bridge Cards/Bridge Security Department." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2022]

Jordan. N.d.f. Ministry of Interior. "Granting Nationality to Wives of Jordanian Men [Description]." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2022]

Jordan. N.d.g. Ministry of Interior. "Granting Nationality to Wives of Jordanian Men [Procedures]." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2022]

The Jordan Times. 4 December 2018. "Gov't Adopts New Resolutions for Gazans with Temporary Passports." [Accessed 20 Apr. 2022]

The Jordan Times. 22 February 2017. "Validity of Gazans' Temporary Passports Extended to 5 Years." [Accessed 3 Oct. 2022]

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Keesing Technologies. N.d. Keesing Documentchecker. "Jordan – Temporary Travel Document for Aliens 2007." [Accessed 15 Sept. 2022]

The Legal Agenda (LA). 16 February 2016. Ayman Halasa. "Revoking Jordanian Citizenship: Disengagement or Discrimination." [Accessed 25 May 2022]

The Legal Agenda (LA). N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 28 Sept. 2022]

Middle East Eye (MEE). 8 November 2018. "Saudi Bars 600,000 Palestinians from Hajj and Umrah with Passport Ban." [Accessed 25 May 2022]

Middle East Eye (MEE). N.d. "About Middle East Eye." [Accessed 25 May 2022]

Middle East Monitor (MEMO). December 2015. Sawsan Ramahi. Palestinians & Jordanian Citizenship. [Accessed 26 Sept. 2022]

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Minority Rights Group International (MRG). N.d. "Palestinians." [Accessed 24 Feb. 2021]

Pérez, Michael Vicente. 2018. "The Everyday as Survival Among Ex-Gaza Refugees in Jordan." Middle East Critique Vol. 27, No. 3, 275–288. [Accessed 25 Feb. 2021]

Rantawi, Oraib and El-Abed, Ouroub. October 2012. Modest but Powerful Activism: Palestinian-Origin Jordanians Seek Rights. [Accessed 26 Sept. 2022]

Sweden. 4 January 2022. Swedish Migration Agency. "Country of Origin Information, Lifos." [Accessed 16 Nov. 2022]

Taylor & Francis Online. N.d. "Aims and Scope." [Accessed 15 Nov. 2022]

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United Nations (UN). N.d. UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). "Where We Work." [Accessed 26 Sept. 2022]

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Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Al Quds Center for Political Studies; Arab Studies Institute – Jadaliyya; BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights; Combatants for Peace; Human Rights Watch; Jordan – Civil Status and Passports Department, Department of Palestinian Affairs, Embassy in Ottawa, Embassy in Washington, DC, Ministry of Interior; Politics and Society Institute; researcher affiliated with a Canadian university whose work focuses on refugee populations in the Middle East, and who has published several articles on stateless Palestinians in Jordan; UN – UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

Internet sites, including: Al-Monitor; Ammon News; Anadolu Agency; Arab Center Washington DC; Arab Studies Institute – Jadaliyya; BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights – Al-Majdal Magazine; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Carnegie Middle East Center; Chatham House; EU – EU Asylum Agency, Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online; Fact International; Factiva; Fafo; France – Office français pour la protection des réfugiés et apatrides; International Crisis Group; Jordan – Department of Palestinian Affairs, Embassy in Ottawa, Embassy in Washington, DC, National Centre for Human Rights, Securities Depository Centre; Malmö University; Migration Policy Institute; Morocco World News; The National [United Arab Emirates]; Romania – Romanian National Council for Refugees; UN – Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; University of Oxford.