Revamped Visa categories, e-Visas now available online in advance of your travel, and no longer any requirement to show proof of Covid-19 vaccinations.
These are the big changes Indonesia’s Immigration authorities have implemented to woo back international tourists and foreign investors after a shake-up from President Joko Widodo
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VISIT VISA UPDATE JULY 2023
BEFORE the Covid-19 Pandemic hit in early 2020, Indonesia was one of the world’s easier countries for holiday makers to visit.
Now with the Covid crunch of the past three years receding, it’s at last headed back that way.
The Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) is back with upgraded conditions and is the most convenient Visa option if you are arriving for tourism or limited business activities.
But unless you are from an ASEAN country or on some kinds of official Goverment business, you are going to have to pay for the privilege. The days of the pre-pandemic FREE 30-day tourist Visa are gone.
The Rp500,000 fee is modest, representing around 35 US dollars, 30 Euros, or 50 Australian dollars. You may be required to pay a little extra (around 3%) for bank or credit card fees.
The VOA permits a stay of 30 days (29 nights), but can be extended to 60 days on payment of another Rp500,000.
Online e-Visas and gateways
Special Immigration checkpoint gateways for holders of e-Visas
The Visa-on-Arrival is available to nationals of some 93 countries, with more progressively being added. It can be issued at 113 entry checkpoints (16 airports, 91 seaports and 6 land crossings).
But the BIG news is that you can secure an e-VOA up to 14 days before you are due to travel by applying through a new purpose-built website. You can also extend your e-VOA online. Here’s the link: https://molina.imigrasi.go.id/
The creation of the e-VOA is aimed at heading-off the kind of chaos that followed an initial introduction of a paid Visa-on-Arrival some years ago.
Suddenly full jet-loads of arriving visitors had to line up in massive queues at inadequate cashier booths before they could pass through Immigration checkpoints.
It soon became clear that this was a powerful incentive for international tourists to give Indonesia a miss and go somewhere easier.
That led to the introduction of a parallel FREE visa process for visits of up to 30 days – a system that continued until the Covid border closures.
This time the authorities are betting on the online e-Visa option overcoming the queues.
As a further incentive, Immigration is providing special gateways and counters at major airports and high traffic seaports to give priority to e-VOA holders.
Entry points with e-VOA facilities in place
- Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar, Bali
- Soekharno-Hata International Airport, Jakarta
- Juanda International Airport, Surabaya
- Kualanamu International Airport, Medan
- Sam Ratulangi International Airport, Manado
- New Yogyakarta International Airport, Yogyakarta
- Bandar Bentan Telani, Tanjung Uman
- Bandar Seri Udana Lobam, Tanjung Uman
- Batam Centre, Batam
- Citra Tri Tunas, Batam
- Kabil, Batam
- Marina Teluk, Batam
- Nongsa Terminal Bahar, Batam
- Sekupang, Batam
- Sri Bintan Pura, Tanjung Pinang
- Tanjung Balai Karimun
Simply present a digital or printed copy of your e-VOA at the counter and the officer will scan the QR code on your e-VOA and place a VOA sticker in your passport.
If arriving via other less busy air or seaport entry points you can simply pay for your Visa in person at the terminal.
Using the online e-VOA portal
We have not had cause to apply online for an e-VOA, but the Government’s Molina web portal appears to be well-designed and straight-forward.
It may be a minor navigation challenge for first timers, mainly because it also carries information about extended stay visas and guarantor arrangements, and requirements for temporary residency.
Stay focused and simply select ‘APPLY’ on the home page and then select’ TOURISM’ (or other appropriate option) from the drop-down menu on the next ‘Purpose of Travel’ page.
Then you can follow the prompts to register, activate your account, enter and check your particulars, and pay. Your e-VOA will then be sent to your email address.
To complete your application, you will need –
A scan of the main page of your passport (showing you have at least six 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 validated when registering your account),
A valid Mastercard, Visa, or JCB debit or credit card for payment. (It need not be in your name.)
(If you need step-by-step instructions go to the come2indonesia.com website. This Surabaya-based travel agency has put together a detailed guide to applying for your e-VOA and for seeking an optional 30-day extension online. It includes a comprehensive Q&A section.)
Common glitches to avoid
Some travelers have encountered system bugs or other issues when applying online for e-VOAs, particularly where they are seeking Visas for accompanying children.
A separate e-VOA is needed for any children traveling on their own passport meaning they must have a separate email address to register and activate an account in their name. You must then enter full particulars for them individually.
Other applicants have had trouble uploading images of the identity page of their passport and the required passport-size photograph of themselves. To fix this be sure to upload images in Jpeg or PNG formats sized to a maximum of 200k.
Don’t panic if you are unable to successfully apply for an e-VOA. Remember, so long as you are a national of one of the 93 approved countries, you can simply pay for your Visa-on-Arrival in person at the Arrivals Hall counter.
However, if you then wish to extend your Visa for a further 30 days you will need to attend an Immigration Office in person.
You must begin the extension process at least a week before your first 30 days expire and you will have to attend the Immigration office (and queue) at least twice. Using an agent can reduce this to one visit.
VOA requirements, conditions
To obtain a VOA either online or physically at the arrivals check-in counter you must have 6 month’s validity remaining on your passport and a return or onwards ticket for your departure from Indonesia.
The Visa-on-Arrival permits you to visit and travel as a tourist, visit family and friends, take part in business meetings or discussions, purchase products, attend exhibitions or conventions, and transit (effectively it’s a tourist and single-entry business visa).
You cannot undertake any form of employment and cannot be a speaker at a convention or exhibition.
Though it can be extended (once), your VOA cannot be converted to any other form of Visa. Should you decide you want to stay longer you will first need to depart and then apply for the appropriate visa from outside Indonesia.
Your e-VOA must be used within 90 days, after which it is automatically cancelled. There is no refund.
Nationals eligible for Visa-on-Arrival and e-VOA
As of July 2023 Venezuela has also been added to the list for a total of 93 eligible nationalities. More countries will be added, so check further if your country is not yet listed.
Extended stay Visa options
A series of extendable 60-day Visa classifications is available for people wanting to stay longer or engage in a wider range of activities than is permitted under a Visa-on-Arrival.
These include 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 can also permit working remotely for entities outside Indonesia, making them suitable for the growing numbers of ‘digital nomads’ conducting businesses or working as freelancers online.
However, monies earned abroad must go to bank accounts held overseas and you cannot provide paid services 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. However, it may be extended twice for a total of 180 days (on payment of a further IDR1.5m for each extension).
As well as tourism and visiting family and friends, this Visa permits attending meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions but only as an attendee. To be a speaker you will need a similar category, but it will cost you IDR2m for each 60 days.
Unlike the Visa-on-Arrival, the 211A category CAN be converted to another Visa category from within Indonesia.
However, the initial Visa MUST be purchased from outside Indonesia prior to your arrival. This means purchasing online or through an Immigration consultant.
Good reasons for considering a consultant
If you are new to all this, then gathering the documentation to support an online application for an extendable 60-day Visa category can be a frustrating challenge.
To engage help from a consultant, go to Google and take your pick. The complications built into Indonesia’s border controls over recent years have spawned a plethora of consultancies and most are on the Internet.
Fees vary and are payable on top of the Government charges, but by Western standards are usually quite affordable. Take time to do a little research before deciding who to engage.
For extended stay Visa categories other than tourism, you 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 of immigration/foreign investment consultants – a second good reason for using one.
For the extended stay categories your application may also require you to include 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 accepted.
To see the requirements, conditions and permitted activities for the B211A Visa category in English go to https://www.imigrasi.go.id/en/visa-kunjungan-satu-kali-perjalanan-b211a/.
Be careful to avoid overstaying – it can be costly
Immigration officers with visitor arrested for extended visa overstay and facing deportation – Pic Tribun Lombok/ Jimmy Sicipto
Overstaying your Visa entitlement is viewed very seriously by Indonesian Immigration authorities and will cost you a million rupiah (about US$65) per day.
Remember – Indonesian authorities count your days of arrival and departure in your 30-day visa, so it is valid for only 29 nights. Get this wrong and you will pay.
Apart from fines, if you overstay for an extended period, you will be locked up and deported to your home country (not to some near country like Singapore).
You or your family will need to pay for your flight and for flight, accommodation and related costs for two Immigration officers to accompany you to the departure airport, usually Jakarta.
You also will be banned from re-entering Indonesia for an extended period.
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.
Information on other visa categories
To avoid confusion and make the information above easy for short-stay visitors to follow, we have ignored the many other Visa categories such as a multiple entry business visas, Work and Investment Visas, and extended residency categories.
For information about them, we recommend the explanatory articles posted on the websites consultants offering advice on business investment, company formation, and associated immigration categories.
For a quick summary on residency visas go to the official e-Visa website for Indonesia – https://molina.imigrasi.go.id/. This site presents information accurately, clearly, and concisely. Check the drop-down menu from the INFORMATION tab.
A NUTS & BOLTS SUMMARY
The new up-graded Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) is the easiest option for holiday visitors to Indonesia.
It can be purchased online as an e-VOA in advance of your travel for Rp500,000 (plus about 3% card/bank fee) through a special Government web portal at https://molina.imigrasi.go.id/
Or you can purchase physically for Rp500,000 from the Immigration VOA check-in counter. At major airports such as in Jakarta and Bali – this may mean negotiating lengthy queues.
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 valid for 90 days after which it will be cancelled if unused. There is no refund.
The Visa-on-Arrival permits you to visit and travel as a tourist, visit family and friends, take part in business meetings or discussions, purchase products, and attend exhibitions or conventions. You cannot undertake any form of employment.
To obtain a VOA you must have 6 month’s validity remaining on your passport and a return or onwards ticket for your departure from Indonesia (an onwards ticket to a nearby country like Singapore or Malaysia will suffice).
The VOA cannot be upgraded to another visa category from within Indonesia.
To stay longer than 60 days and engage in a wider range of activities you can apply ONLINE (https://molina.imigrasi.go.id/ ) for Visas under the B211 category providing for stays of 60 days extendable to 180 days, with options to upgrade to a different Visa. The B211A category permits working remotely for entities outside Indonesia.