Feb 17

Flag of IndonesiaThere are some rumours lately that the current Visa-On-Arrival scheme, which was put in place in 02/2004 will soon be eased in an effort to boost tourism in Indonesia.

Sounds too good to be true?

Currently citizens from most countries receive a Visa for a maximum stay of 30 days, when you arrive at any airport or port. Of course you have to pay USD 25 for it. When your 30 days are over, you have to leave the country and come back in to get a new Visa, which can be quite stressy in a country consisting of more than 17.000 islands covering an area bigger than Europe and Australia.

Basically you can only leave it with a flight to the surrounding countries or long-haul ferry trips, if you don’t stay in the Riau Region (close to Singapore) or the eastern part close to Timur or the Philippines. In countries like Thailand you have it easier to travel to neighbouring countries for Visa Runs.

Of course you can apply for a Social Budaya Visa for Indonesia (which allows a stay of 2 months with 4 extensions to a maximum of 6 months), but this requires a local sponsor.

In 2006 the battered tourism industry in Indonesia saw a further decline to less than 4 Million Visitors. And that for a country of 220 Million people on 17.000 islands which has so much to offer!

Compare that with tiny (4 million people) Singapore’s 9.7 Million Tourists and you know what I mean.

Of course there have been the 2 Bali bombings, several bombs in Jakarta, civil unrest in Sulawesi and Solo, as well as mudslides, the Tsunami and the drug-related headlines of the Bali 9, Schapelle Corby and model Michelle Leslie.

Of course you don’t strop travelling to New York, London, Madrid or other places effected by terrorism; but all in all it came quite bad for Indonesia the last couple of years. Basically starting with the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 90’s. The above mentioned tightening of the visa regulations in 2004 didn’t help either.

So is there finally hope?

There is! Indonesia is still a beautiful country and with a low price tag for it’s visitors and long-term tourists. Things can still improve of course. The Visa regulations are just one example. Let’s see how long it will take to implement the new rules, if at all.

Here the link back to ANTARA News with the full story about the possible changes.

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written by Chris

20 Responses to “Indonesia: On-Arrival Visas up to 120 days soon?”

  1. LisaNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    would not travel to Bail even if you paid me.

  2. MikeNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    This is great news. I love Indonesia and want to explore it more.

  3. SGNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    The Jan arrival figures for Bali were the biggest ever on record and my friends in hotels are talking about 80-100 occupancy rates over the past few months. No ockers in Kuta (can’t be a bad thing to lose the bottom end ockers) but loads of everybody else.


  4. K S.No Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Indonesia is the last place I would pick to visit if I was on my way over to South-East Asia. Unfortunatly, as soon I got there to the minute I left, I felt like a walking ATM machine that the locals tried desperatly to figure out the PIN code to with their verbal annoyance. From shop owners, to posing massuses, to “Transport” people. I’m sorry, but they need to RELAX. I never want to be hastled like that again. I felt like a famous person who has to battle with papperazzi. NO Thanks. I’m here to share the culture, not feel like a peice of monetary substance to them. OH YUK, can’t even talk about anymore. Thailand is so much bettter.

  5. JadeNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    This is great. Hope it will be soon. Thanks for the info as I will be traveling there this summer for 42 days. Awsome!

  6. RossNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Indo is awsome… This is Great news.. It would be great to be able to take some time in Bali to surf and relax and go on an adventure through out the country for a few months and not have to be too worried about budgeting time..
    Some of Indonesias islands must be so wonderful to see..

    And there would be lots of time to come back to Bali to surf, relax and party with the locals..

    I really hope the government implements the new policy before June!

  7. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    @ Lisa & K S: of course, it’s up to everyone, which countries to like and to travel to. Just wanted to add, that you have light and shadow everywhere.

    Just to compare Phuket (in Thailand) and Bali (in Indonesia):

    I admit, the touts and vendors in Bali are annoying and too much. In other parts of Indonesia you don’t have them at all. It depends on where the tourists go.

    In Phuket you have other annoying things, especially with the mentioned ‘transportation’. Noboday offers it to you and nobody cares, but it has a reason: while in Bali this industry is highly competitive and de-centralized, in Phuket it’s in the hand of the Tuk-Tuk-Mafia.

    That’s why you pay your 400-500 Baht to the airport or elsewhere (about USD 15). In Bali the same distance costs you maybe USD 5, due to competitive alternatives. Of course they all fight for the customers.

    So, it’s all a matter of perspective. There is good and bad everywhere, Indonesia is far from perfect, but so are Thailand, the US, Australia or Europe.


  8. SGNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    You are right Chris, and the hawkers in Malaysia and India are far worse than Bali. A smile and a tak mau will make most hawkers go away. They’re just doing their jobs and you can laugh and joke with them if you are willing to relax a little.

  9. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Indonesia is a very nice country for tourism exploration. I haven’t been there but I have had enough information since I formerly worked in a travel agency…

  10. chrisNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    I have spent well over 20 years travelling throughout SE Asia(lived in Thailand for 12)and hear more and more,mainly young travellers saying things like”Thailand is the land of smiles”and”The Thais are just so friendly” Many,many long term travellers are now deserting Thailand in large numbers,as in hindsight,they can see it for what it really is…a very pale imitation of what it used to be.The beaches are dirty,the people ARE friendly(as long as you’re dollars are lining their pockets),the so called jungle treks are a farce,as they take you about 1 kilometre from a main road,food which was once the best in the world,is now customised for the package tourist industry market,and I’ve even heard that there is a shop in BKK somewhere,where you can get kitted out in the”traveller”type look ie henna tattoos,dreaded hair,and fishermans pants…how very original!
    Of course,if it is your first time in SE Asia,and you’re young,then everything about Thailand is wonderful,but if you are really looking for an adventure,head to Indonesia.This is a much overlooked country with huge potential.Of course they have many problems(tourism probably being the least of them)but these are problems Thailand also had over 20 years ago.
    I was in Thailand in Dec/Jan for the first time in about 5 years,and was deeply saddened to see exactly how lazy most so called young”travellers”have become.Virtually none of them actually go to the local bus stations,or train stations on their own,but instead,walk 10 yards to the reception desk at their hotel,and buy a ticket to another drab tourist destination”on the circuit”Come on people…MAKE AN EFFORT!

  11. ubertrampNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    fingers crossed for longer Indo visas!

  12. LiaNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    Hey, i’m an indonesian currently living in China, my fiancee is a US citizen who also lives in China.
    Can anybody tell me how to get this sosial budaya visa for my fiancee coz he’s planning to go to Indonesia n stay for at least 3 months? seems like everybody talks bout it but nobody is able to show how to get it step by step.

    Any help will be much apprecialted!!!

    Thank you.

  13. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Lia, yes it works. You as his fiancee can practically sponsor him.
    That’s how I live in Indonesia with my fiancee. But it would work with her parents or relatives as well. You just have to apply in an Indonesian Embassy abroad, so in your case in China. I do that in Singapore, as it’s more my second home.

    He has to apply for the 2 month Sosial Budaya, with you/your family sponsoring him. After getting the Visa granted and traveling to Indonesia, he can extend it after 2 month for another month. Or up to 4 times to a total time of 6 months in Indonesia. It’s an easy and well documented, though highly bureaucratic process. For instance for the extensions in Indonesia, he has to show up 3-4 times at the immigration, depending on their flexibility. 1. Application of Extension 2. Payment of Extension few days later 3. Pickup of Extension, another few days later. Sometimes he has to show up a 4th time for finger prints or playing courier of the application to bring it to another department within immigration. He can use an agency though, then he doesn’t have to show up himself, but it’s usually a bit more expensive (usually double around Rp 400.000 per extension). Anyway, here is some more information regarding the process:


    Anything still unclear? Drop me an e-mail with your questions! ;-)

  14. Working NomadNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Any work on the longer Indo visas? They should definetly do it in my opinon!!

  15. Want to stay longer in the Philippines? Now you can! | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Indonesia introduced a Visa-On Arrival (VOA) for maximum 30 days with respective fees only back in 2004 – before you could get a 3 months stamp for free. The bureaucratic processes to attain and extend a Social Visa are legendary. Although there were some rumours of longer VOA (up to 120 days) a few months back, those have yet to materialize. […]

  16. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    So far this interesting alternative for Indonesian Visas hasn’t come to life. Tough luck! Maybe someday within the next 10 years? ;-)

  17. Andrew BlaneNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    In case anyone’s interested, I have recently extended my Indonesian visa on arrival in Bali.

    It took about a week, three visits to the immigration office, and Rp251,600, but it was quite smooth and easy.

    I can confirm that you definitely need a sponsor, which is a reputable local person who knows you and has a valid identity card (KTP). Since I used my wife, I had to provide a copy of our wedding certificate. Presumably, if you use someone else, this won’t be necessary.

    In my case, I went to the immigration office in Singaraja, north Bali, as that’s the nearest one for me, but I imagine the procedure is the same in all immigration offices in Indonesia. I don’t think you can do this in the airport.

    You have to fill in 3 forms. One of these is a sponsor’s letter, which my wife completed. The others I completed myself (with some help from my wife as one is entirely in Indonesian). One of the forms needs a “materai” (stamp) which costs Rp6,000. You stick in on the indicated square at the bottom of the form and both you and your sponsor sign so that your signatures overlap it.

    You also need to provide photocopies of your passport (showing my identity details and current visa), your sponsor’s identity card (KTP), and your marriage certificate (if your spouse is sponsoring you).

    5 days after dropping the forms off, I returned to the immigration office and paid Rp250,000 (equivalent to 25 US dollars)

    3 days later, I returned to pick up my visa. Oh, and I had to pay Rp1,000 for them to photocopy my passport with the new visa stamp in it.

    I was initially concerned that, since the whole process was going to take a week, I would end up overstaying on my original visa (which ran out 2 days into the process), but this wasn’t a problem as I started the process before my visa expired. Ideally, you should go in one week before your visa expires but, even though I didn’t do that, they back-dated the new visa to start from the day my original one ran out. Nice!

    It’s not as good as a 120-day visa of course, but it’s a lot cheaper and easier than travelling abroad on a visa run. There’s another advantage too: the visa stamp they use only takes up half a page in your passport compared to a full page for the standard VOA stamp.

  18. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Andrew Blane, seriously? Even to extend the VOA you had to visit the Immigration Office 3 times AND fill out all the forms also AND provide a sponsor???? Oh my, I really hoped they would have streamlined the process. That’s pretty bad, as it shows, that there is no improvement for the cumbersome Visa process at the horizon.

    Thanks for explaining your experience to extend your VOA, Andrew!

    It may be okay, if you really just want to stay 1 or 2 months, but for long-term stay it’s pretty much a disaster. :((

  19. SergeyNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    One guy on russian forum told me that we will not need sponsor letter for extending voa visa.

  20. MytripindonesiaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    FYI, for now there is a new policy about visa, Free Visa entry & VOA – Visa on Arrival:
    Depending on your passport there are three options to enter Indonesia that apply to most travelers that come for tourist or social purpose only:

    1) No Visa required (majority of countries – FREE entry, 30 days valid, NOT extendable)
    2) Visa on Arrival (35US$, 30 days valid, extendable (once for 30 days)
    3) Visa needed (apply abroad before arriving in Indonesia)

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