With Covid-19 restrictions eased, Indonesia airports are becoming busier again – pic Jakarta Post
e-Visas available online, and conditions upgraded for short & extended stays
Indonesia is at last back to being one of the easier countries for international travelers to visit for a short holiday or for extended stays of up to six months.
Under changes implemented to woo back international tourists and foreign investors over the first half of 2023 –
You no longer need to show proof of Covid-19 vaccinations.
You can apply online for an electronic Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) to avoid long queues at airports and seaports.
The VOA has become more flexible for short-stay and extended tourists and business travelers due to revised and upgraded conditions.
Revamped Visa categories extendable for up to six months have been created for medium to long-stay tourism, business, media, and social activities.
The new arrangements are a response to the easing of the Covid Pandemic, and a forceful call for reforms by President Joko Widodo.
In September 2022 he publicly expressed anger and shame at the way Immigration failures were damaging tourism and foreign business investment.
The changes have had an impact – over the first four months of 2023 international visitor arrivals in Bali climbed back to around 80% of 2019 pre-covid levels.
The most convenient Visa option for holiday visitors
The Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) is the most convenient Visa option for holiday visitors. It costs Rp500,000 (at July 2023 exchange rates about 35 US dollars, 30 Euros, or 50 Australian dollars).
An ONLINE purchase of an e-Visa in advance of your travel makes it even better by minimizing border check-in counter delays, especially at busier airports. Note that if you buy online, you may need to pay a little extra for bank or card fees (about 3%).
The VOA provides for a stay of 29 nights and 30 days and can be extended once for a total of 60 days on payment of a further Rp500,000.
It is available to nationals from more than 90 countries (Venezuela has been added to the list below). If your country is not included you will need to apply to the nearest Indonesian embassy.
The Visa-on-Arrival entitles you to travel as a tourist, visit family and friends, take part in business meetings or discussions, buy products, and attend exhibitions or conventions (effectively it’s a single-entry business visa).
You cannot undertake any form of employment and cannot be a speaker at a convention or exhibition.
A minor downside of the new arrangements is that unless you are national from an ASEAN country, the 30-day Visa-FREE arrangement of pre-Covid days is gone.
Special Internet portal for e-VOA applications and extensions
Immigration authorities have established a special Internet portal to handle online visit Visa applications and optional extensions.
Go to https://molina.imigrasi.go.id/. If you follow the prompts the application process is relatively straight-forward.
To complete your application, you will need –
A scan of the main page of your passport (showing you have at least 6 months validity remaining from the date of your arrival to Indonesia (JPEG or PNG format and a maximum of 200 kb),
A color passport-size photo of yourself with white background (also JPEG or PNG format and a maximum of 200 kb),
An email address (which will be required to validate when registering your account),
A debit or credit card – Mastercard, Visa, or JCB – for payment. (It need not be in your name.)
An online e-VOA remains valid for 90 days after which it will be cancelled if unused. There is no refund.
For more detail on applying the e-VOA, including some glitches to avoid, check out the information on our sister website at https://travellingindonesia.net/visiting-indonesia-made-easy-again-visa-rules-upgraded/
Purchase in person on arrival still available
Don’t worry if you are unable to obtain an e-VOA. Remember you also can still obtain a VOA physically at 57 entry checkpoints (15 airports, 35 seaports and 7 land crossings).
This is also a viable option to consider if arriving via less crowded airports or seaports.
To be issued a VOA online or physically you must have 6 months validity remaining on your passport and a return or onwards ticket for your departure from Indonesia (a ticket by air or water to a nearby country like Singapore or Malaysia will suffice).
Though it can be extended once, your VOA cannot be converted to any other form of Visa.
Should you decide you want to spend longer in Indonesia and undertake a wider range of activities, you will first need to –
Depart to a nearby country, return the same or next day and apply in person for a new VOA at the Immigration checkpoint.
Depart and then apply online or through an Immigration agent/consultant for a Visa under a B211 category providing for stays of 60 days extendable twice to 180 days.
Longer stay visit Visas – up to six months
The B211 categories are extendable SINGLE ENTRY Visas for longer stay tourism, sports people (such as international coaches), prospective investors (market and supplier surveys, arranging licenses etc), other business activities (buying products or services, meetings, training), speaking at meetings or conventions, journalism and filmmaking, an employment trial, and longer stay visits with friends and relatives.
They also can permit working remotely for entities outside Indonesia, making them suitable for the growing numbers of ‘digital nomads’ operating online businesses or working as freelancers online.
However, monies earned abroad must go to bank accounts held overseas and you cannot provide paid services or products directly to clients within Indonesia.
For most non-business purposes, the Visit Visa category 211A – TOURISM is appropriate.
It costs IDR1,500,000 (about US$100, EUR€90 or AUD$150) and is valid for 60 days. But it may be extended twice for a total of 180 days (on payment of a further IDR1.5m for each extra 60 days).
You also have options to upgrade to a different Visa such as a multiple-entry business visa or a residency category from within Indonesia.
However, the initial Visa MUST be purchased from outside Indonesia prior to your travel. This means purchasing online or through an Immigration consultant.
You probably will need help from a consultant
If you are new to all this, then gathering the documentation required to support an online application for B211 category Visas can be a frustrating challenge and a good reason to consider using a consultant.
A consultant can also handle the process of extensions and save you considerable time and inconvenience.
To find one, go to Google. The complications built into Indonesia’s border controls over recent years have spawned a plethora of consultancies and they are all on the Internet.
Fees vary and are payable on top of the Government charges, but are not unduly expensive. Take your time to do a little research before deciding who to engage.
For any of the extended stay Visa categories, you also are required to have an Indonesian sponsor. It can be an individual or a company theoretically prepared to accept responsibility for your actions during your visit.
Sponsorship is usually provided as part of the packages by the immigration consultants – a second good reason for using one.
The extended stay Visa categories do not permit you to accept employment in Indonesia or to sell goods or services within Indonesia.
A requirement for the extended stay categories is evidence of your financial capacity, showing access to at least US$2,000 to support yourself – bank statements for the most recent three months, your most recent pay slip, or evidence of a bank term deposit are acceptable.
However, our experience is that this requirement does not seem to be strictly enforced if an agent is handling your application
Passport holders from nine ASEAN member countries are exempt from requiring a Visa under the rules of the ASEAN common market arrangements.
However, this category limits stays to 30 days without the option of an extension.
Overseas nationals visiting Indonesia on official government business or to attend international events also are exempt. But they must have an invitation letter from the Indonesian government.
Lower arrivals numbers a boon for visitors who choose to come early
According to statistica.com, International visitor arrivals in Indonesia crashed from a high of more than 16 million in 2019 to 1.56m in 2021 before staggering back to just shy of 5.5m in 2022.
Arrivals showed signs of a rebound over the first five months of 2023 with arrivals topping 4m and authorities flagging a revised target for the full year of 8.5m
But this would still represent barely more than 50% of pre-Covid peak – not good news for the Indonesian tourism sector.
But, paradoxically, GOOD for those visitors who do choose to come to Indonesia soon – tourism services will be competing for a share of a chronically diminished market, and that will mean bargains.
It will also mean less crowded attractions and destinationss
TIPS FOR AVOIDING VISIT VISA HASSLES
Remember – Indonesian authorities include the day of your arrival and the day of your departure in your 30 days, so you have only 29 nights.
No working – You cannot undertake any kind of gainful employment within Indonesia if holding a Visa-on-Arrival or a Single-Entry Visa If you are hired by an entity domiciled in Indonesia and will receive payment you must have a Work Permit and a related single or multiple entry Work Visa. This provision is STRICTLY enforced. In the past this has been ruled to include voluntary work.
Overseas earnings – Under the current regulations activities which generate income from outside Indonesia are permitted and earnings from them do not attract Indonesian tax. (Payments must go to an overseas bank.)
Arrival questions – On arrival the Immigration desk officers may ask routine questions – (Why are you visiting? – How long are you staying? – Where will you be staying?). They also may ask whether you will be working – make clear you will not be doing so.
Upgrades – Your Visa-on-Arrival CANNOT be extended, and it CANNOT be upgraded to any other type of stay permit. A Single-Entry Visa may be upgraded, but the process, costs and conditions are beyond our scope here.
Overstays – Any overstay is regarded as a serious offence and will attract a penalty of a million Indonesian Rupiah per day – the equivalent of around US$66 (Exchange rate as of July 2023).
Maximum overstay – 60 days is the maximum time for which you may settle your breach by paying the statutory penalty (which would mean a penalty of close to $US4,000 for a maximum overstay).
Extended Overstay – Should you overstay by more than 60 days Immigration authorities will lock you up, and you may need to go to a hearing where you may receive a prison sentence or an additional fine. After serving any sentence you will be deported to your home country (at your expense) and then be blacklisted, preventing your return to Indonesia for an extended period. (You will not be deported to an intermediate closer country).
Other Visa Categories
This article has looked at Visa regulations only from the point of view of visiting travelers. There are other categories of Visa for people wishing to work in Indonesia, establish businesses, stay long-term with spouses, or retire to Indonesia.
You can check the official Immigration Department website and/or the websites of Immigration/foreign investment consultants listed on the Internet. Several consultants based in Jakarta and Bali have quite detailed explanations of the Visa categories avilable and the documentation you will need.
Keep in mind that there have been many and rapid changes in regulations over 2022 and 23 and content on some websites may be outdated.