Refugees from Syria in Jordan


A large number of Syrians lived in Jordan before the crisis and the government has estimated the total Syrian population in the country to be 1.4 million, although there are just over 655,500 refugees registered with UNHCR.

Key facts about the refugee population:

  • Most of the refugees come from Dar’a and its surroundings (approximately 42% of registered refugees), or the capital Damascus and its surroundings.
  • 13,836 Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) have sought support from UNRWA in Jordan.
  • An estimated quarter of households from Syria are headed by women, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that of the registered refugees in Jordan, 16,000 are pregnant at any one time.

Where are they:

There are approximately 150,000 persons based in camps, while the rest live in urban settings, mainly in the governates of Amman, Mafraq, Zarqa and Irbid. Many, especially Palestinian Refugees from Syria (PRS), also live in the various Palestinian camps where UNRWA assistance is available.

A ‘refugee’ in the Jordanian legal context:

Although Jordan is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention a 1998 Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNHCR and the Government outlines the major principles of international protection and permits asylum-seekers to stay in Jordan pending refugee status determination (RSD).  However there is no formal legal status as a refugee under Jordanian law.  

Until mid-2013, most Syrian refugees fleeing to Jordan were allowed to enter through informal border crossings. However entry was denied to many single Syrian men crossing without relatives, Palestinian refugees from Syria and undocumented persons. From mid-2013 restrictions were introduced on most informal border crossings into Jordan and in late March 2015 these restrictions were tightened. Following a border security incident in June 2016, the Jordan/Syria border has been declared a militarised zone and sealed. Currently no admissions are permitted.

Syrian refugees follow the same laws and procedures as Jordanian citizens for registering personal status changes such as births or marriages.

Nationality law in Jordan:

Jordanian nationality law (like Syrian nationality law) is based on paternal jus sanguinis. This means that only Jordanian men can automatically transmit their nationality to their children. Naturalisation is a highly sensitive and politicised issue and remains at the discretion of the Jordanian State.

Statelessness in Jordan:

Jordan has not ratified either of the Statelessness Conventions and does not have a legal framework to address this issue. Jordan already has an in situ stateless population.

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