Visas for Indonesia
Vexed by visas?
Popular visa types: Tourist and Visa on arrival
The two most popular visas for Indonesia with foreign tourists are the 30-day visa on arrival and the tourist visa.
Over 60 nationalities are eligible for visa on arrival which is good for 30-days. This visa is now available in two distinct and different flavours (free or paid) depending on your nationality.
Indonesian free visa on arrival
This visa is currently available to 45 nationalities (see below) and is available at arrival at nine entry AND EXIT ports across Indonesia (also see below). Importantly, this visa cannot be extended -- meaning if you are planning on staying longer than 30 days in Indonesia, and you are eligible for the free visa, you will need to apply for a visa before you arrive in Indonesia. This visa is also only available at a very limited selection of entry points into Indonesia. Basically it is great if you're on a short trip to Bali or Batam, otherwise, not so much.
Importantly, this visa is also ONLY VALID FOR EXIT THROUGH THE SAME FIVE AIRPORTS AND FOUR SEAPORTS. This means that if you are eligible, you can get this on arrival, but if you try to leave via an unapproved port, say Lombok or Makassar, you may well have your exit denied and be forced to return to an approved port (eg Bali) to exit. What happens in these cases has not been made clear officially, but anecdotal reports from travellers (see the comments) are suggesting leaving via an unapproved port to be challenging or impossible.
Yes, in case you were wondering, this is totally ludicrous.
Indonesian paid visa on arrival
This visa is available to most other nationalities, costs US$35 and can be extended for another month (or longer depending on a myriad of random factors). Other currencies are accepted for the visa, but the exchange rate is dire, so you're better off to use greenbacks.
What has not been made officially clear is if it is permissible for say a British citizen (who is eligible for the free visa), to decide they actually want to buy the $35 visa (so that they can extend it). We've heard anecdotal traveller reports that this is possible, but have seen nothing official regarding it. Until this is clarified, you may be better off to get a tourist visa (see below) before arrival in Indonesia.
Free tourist visa eligibility
The following nationalities are eligible for the free 30-day visa on arrival (list via Bali Discovery).
South Africa Asia
New Zealand Europe
The Netherlands Middle East
U.A.E. North America
USA South America
Free visa on arrival is available at ONLY via following ports of entry (list via Bali Discovery):
Bali: Ngurah Rai Airport
Batam: Hang Nadim Airport
Jakarta: Soekarno-Hatta Airport
Medan: Kualu Namu Airport
Surabaya: Juanda Airport
Batam: Sekupang port and Batam Centre port
Bintan: Sri Bintan port
Riau: Tanjung Uban port
The paid visa on arrival is available at most popular international airports (for example, Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Padang, Palembang, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Mataram and Kupang) and also at many seaports which accept international visitors.
Smaller crossings may only accept payment in US dollars while other more popular arrival points may accept multiple currencies, or, as in the case of Bali, accept credit cards. Just don't expect the best exchange rate in town!
The Tourist Visa is available at most Indonesian embassies and consulates and is valid for either one month or two months. Not all Indonesian diplomatic missions will issue the two month version.
Costs and processing time varies tremendously depending on the overseas mission, but prices are generally most competitive at missions within Southeast Asia. Contact your closest Indonesian embassy for pricing details - the Indonesian Embassy in Washington has a solid list.
The Indonesian visa on arrival can (in theory) be extended for an additional 30-day period for an extra US$35. We suggest this be done at a popular immigration centre, for example Bali, as in less touristic centres you may be turned away.
The two month tourist visa cannot *legally* be extended. Some visa agents, especially in Bali and Jakarta, offer to extend these visas, but what they actually do is convert it into a different type of visa called a social visa (which can then be extended for up to six months total stay). A social visa requires a sponsor (which the visa agent will often arrange for an additional fee). In practise the end result is you get a longer stay in country, but what you're actually getting is a different visa. There is an interesting conversation on the Travelfish forum regarding Indonesian visa extensions (note, it is a little confusing!)
The main issue facing tourists is that the paid tourist visa on arrival can only be extended once and the free visa on arrival cannot be extended at all. If you're looking at a longer stay in Indonesia, plan your trip so that you'll be near an international post two months in, so you can fly out to get a new visa then return and carry on.
While it isn't a big deal to overstay a visa in Indonesia, it does get expensive very quickly. The base fine is 300,000 rupiah per day of overstay.
Things to watch out for
The main consideration is to try and plan your trip so that any visa extension issues will be happening at a heavily touristed point. Bali, halfway along the archipelago is the logical spot should you plan on spending a month to the west then a month to the north or east.
There is a departure tax of 200,000 rupiah from Indonesian international airports, though this is mostly incorporated into the ticket price now. The charge is levied on any passenger holding a ticket out of the country, even in the case of young children sitting on their parent's lap.
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