CUSTOMS – What you can bring and what you can’t

Follow the rules and you shouldn’t have a problem with Indonesian Customs checks


Key things to know if you want to explore Indonesia


You need to be familiar with the basic Customs rules for visitors to Indonesia as violations can be costly at worst and time consuming at best.

If you are really dumb they can even be LETHAL.

Key duty-free limits to remember are:

  • Alcohol – maximum 1 litre per passenger
  • Tobacco – maximum 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 100 grams of cut tobacco
  • Perfumes – a “reasonable” quantity (sufficient for a gift or two but way less than enough for trading).
  • Personal Goods – up to a value of US$250 per passenger or US$1,000 per family – make out your declarations accordingly.

Do NOT attempt to flout the duty-free limits – it simply isn’t worth the potential hassles.

The limit on alcohol can be an issue for some visitors to holiday destinations like Bali. Because Indonesia discourages consumption of alcohol and imposes high duties – liquor and wines can be expensive. And though mainstream liquors usually are available, wine selections may be limited.

But the sad reality is that if you exceed the limits you will be facing a dry holiday because your bottles will be confiscated.

Cheer up. A wide selection of inexpensive, good quality beers is readily available in Indonesia’s bigger cities (huge sigh of relief from a lot of Aussie blokes).

And, though you may pay a little more, spirits and wines are available in bigger hotels and clubs and from bottle shops in the bigger centres. 

Indonesia’s Bintang – a light pilsner style beer brewed by the people who make Heineken – is popular and inexpensive.

Imports of electronic equipment attract duties. But if you are travelling on any visitor/tourist entry documentyou can bring your cameras, video equipment and the like so long as you declare them and take them home when you leave.

Do not be tempted to sell or gift these items during your travels – there may be a note made of your declaration in your passport or on the Immigration/Customs computers.

Here are the absolute NO-NOs when entering Indonesia

As in most countries, Indonesia inposes blanket bans on importing narcotics, pornography and firearms and ammunition.

You also may run into quarantine issues leading to confiscation if carrying foodstuffs, plants and fresh fruit. However, these regulations are nowhere near as severe as in other jurisdictions like Australia.

Technically films, video tapes, laser discs, records and computer software must be screened by the censor board. We are yet to meet anyone who has been called upon to comply – however, best to not carry anything contentious or nasty, just in case.

By far the most critical prohibition is RECREATIONAL DRUGS - remember any drug related offences carry severe penalties up to and including DEATH at the hands of a firing squad.

If you take note of the above, especially the alcohol limits and drugs prohibition, you should have no problems with Indonesian Customs checks. If you want more detail, there is plenty of information from Indonesian Customs on the Net.

Complete a Customs Declaration Form if arriving by air

If arriving by air, you will be required to complete a Customs Declaration. Usually the cabin crew of your flight will give you a form to complete.

If not, you can find forms in Indonesian and English on desks in the Customs area of the arrivals hall after you clear the Immigration checkpoint.

Some busy seaport arrival gateways like Batam (across the water from Singapore), have dispensed with written Customs Declaration forms. But your luggage will be scanned and may be opened and checked at any seaports or airports.


Rules and regulations have a habit of changing and can be confusing. If you see any errors or omissions or become aware of new information then please help us to keep our information accurate with a comment below or drop us an email through our CONTACT page. 

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