Indonesia is a land of countless cultures. There are more than 300 languages and cultures that make up the lives of more than 200 million people living on its 13,677 islands. That’s countless people to meet, countless places to explore and countless activities to enjoy. If you are ready to experience at least one of them, the first thing you need, aside from a valid passport, is a visa.
Who needs a visa?
In conjunction with the Presidential Decision 103/2003 regarding Indonesia’s new visa policy, nationals of the following countries do not need a visa to visit Indonesia for a stay not exceeding 30 days.
- Brunei Darussalam
- Hong Kong SAR
- Macao SAR
If you are a national of any of these countries, all you need to bring is a passport valid for at least six months from your entry date and a return ticket.
Please be advised that you may extend your stay only in case of a natural disaster, an accident or an illness. You may do so upon approval from the Immigration Director General or the Justice and Human Rights Minister. This cannot be transferred to any other type of visa. Visitors overstaying for less than 60 days incur a penalty of US$20 a day while those overstaying for more than 60 days incur a fine of IDF25 million or a five-year prison sentence.
Visas on Arrival
Visa-on-Arrival is a privilege program that nationals of certain countries may use. It covers tourist visas and transit visas. Tourist visas are valid for 30 days while transit visas are valid for only seven days. If you wish to go to Indonesia, you may not need to apply for a visa in your country. All you need to do is buy a ticket and obtain your visa once you land on Indonesian soil.
The visa-on-arrival program may be accessed by nationals of the following countries:
- Austria (For more info on Austria, read The Guide to Austria)
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
Tourists from these countries are not obliged to apply for a visa abroad. Just purchase a visa at any of the designated airports and seaports. The fee must be paid upon landing. A seven-day visa costs US$10 while a 30-day visa costs US$25.
However, fees are not everything you should take care of. Here are the official requirements for a visa issuance.
- a valid passport from one of the countries mentioned above
- onward or return ticket
Note: You may only enter or exit Indonesian territory through one of the 21 seaports and 15 airports officially approved as an “international gateway.” Ask the Indonesian embassy nearest you or search the web to learn where these designated ports are located.
If you are not a national of any of the countries mentioned above, you have to obtain a visa from the Indonesian embassy nearest you. Each type has its own requirements. Here are the basic documents you need to submit according to the purpose of your visit, and other things to keep in mind.
- a passport with more than six months remaining validity from your entry date
- a completed and signed application form
- two recent color passport-size photograph
- evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover the cost of your stay (e.g., a traveler’s check or a bank statement with a GBP1,000 minimum balance dated less than a month)
- evidence of obligation in your country (like a letter from your university or employer, certifying your intention to return to your country after the visit)
Do you wish to visit Indonesia for sightseeing purposes only? Aside from the documents mentioned above, you need to submit a day-by-day itinerary or a letter from travel agents. If you are below the age of 18, you must attach a notarized copy of your birth certificate and a notarized consent letter signed by a non-traveling parent or guardian. This visa is valid for up to 60 days.
Social / Cultural Visit Visa
A social / cultural visa is the type you should apply for if you intend to travel to Indonesia to visit friends, relatives or social organizations. It is also the type of visa for you if you wish to study, attend a training program or undertake research in Indonesia.
Apart from those listed above, here are the other documents you need to submit to obtain an Indonesian visa.
If traveling to Indonesia to visit friends, relatives or social organizations:
- a letter of application from your family, friends or social organization in Indonesia
- a copy of your sponsors’ passports or IDs
- evidence of sufficient funds or a letter from a third party guaranteeing to support you financially during your stay with evidence of their ability to do so
If traveling to Indonesia for study, training or research:
- a letter of registration from the university or institution verifying the nature and duration of the course, research or training
- evidence that all fees have been paid in advance
- a confirmation letter or statement from your sponsor if you are on an award or scholarship program
Note that this is a single-entry visa which allows its holders a maximum length of stay of 60 days. However, if you want to stay longer, you may do so by obtaining an extension from the Immigration Office.
If you are sure that you will be staying in Indonesia for more than 60 days, you may apply for an extension even before you leave your country. All you need to do is ask your sponsor (a friend, a relative or an organization) to apply for an extension for you. Once the Immigration Office approves your application for extension, a visa will be issued to you by the Indonesian embassy in your area.
Once you enter Indonesia, you must abide by their rules and policies to avoid any troubles with Immigration. Here are some things you have to keep in mind:
- With a social / cultural visa, you are not permitted to make money or take up employment.
- You are not allowed to stay in Indonesia for any other purpose than that for which you were granted a visa.
- Because a social / cultural visa is strictly a single-entry visa, multiple entries will only be granted if you have a special permit from the Indonesian Immigration Office.
If you’re visiting Indonesia for a business trip, for a business partnership or for employment, you need a business visa. Aside from the basic documents mentioned above, here are the others you need to come up with:
- an employment letter giving full details of your proposed business visit (for employment only)
- two copies of a letter of intent from your sponsor or employer, describing the purpose of your visit and guaranteeing that they will cover your living and transportation expenses during your stay
- two copies of a letter of invitation from your business partner in Indonesia describing the purpose of your visit (for multiple entries business visa only)
- a business letter
The business letter must be on the company letterhead and must provide the following information:
- the name of a reference in Indonesia
- detailed description of the nature of business you will perform
- length of your stay
- company guarantee that they will be financially responsible
Temporary Stay Visa
If you wish to stay and work in Indonesia, you must apply directly to the Indonesian Immigration Office for a temporary stay or temporary residence visa. Local embassies do not issue this kind of visa unless special authorization is given by the Immigration Office. This visa is valid for one year but can be extended once you are there. To facilitate your application, ask your Indonesian sponsor to apply for you to the Directorate General Immigration located in Jakarta. It is best that you inquire at the nearest Indonesian embassy for more information.
Other Types and Corresponding Validity Period
- Transit visa – valid for seven days
- Multiple entries visa – valid up to 12 months
- Limited stay period visa – valid up to 12 months
- Re-entry permit visa
How to apply
Once you have all the required documents, proceed to the visa section at the Indonesian embassy in your area. Fill out the appropriate visa form. Remember to always write in capital letters and answer all questions.
If all required documents are in order, expect your visa to be issued within five working days from your application date. This visa is valid three months (90 days) from the issuance date. Thus, you have to apply strategically. This means that the visa must be released within three months of your travel date.
- Unfortunately, you are not permitted to enter Indonesian territory as a tourist or otherwise except with special authorization from the Immigration Office. Hence, if you are an Israeli national and you need to visit Indonesia, you have to send your application directly to the Immigration Office of Indonesia.
- If you wish to travel to Irian Jaya, Poso, Maluku or Aceh, you have to obtain a special permit from the Immigration Office and the State Police Department in Jakarta. These are restricted regions. Contact your sponsor or employer to obtain such permission.
- Business travelers and journalists regardless of nationality must have a visa and a special permission.
- Credit cards are not accepted as proof of financial sustainability.
- East Timor is not a part of Indonesia anymore. If it is East Timor you intend to visit, contact the United Nations office in your country.
- If you are a national of (People’s Republic of) China, you may enter and exit the country only through the following ports: Air: Jakarta (Halim/Soekarno-Hatta), Denpasar Bali (Ngurah Rai) and Medan (Polonia).Sea: Tanjung Perak (Surabaya), Belawan (Medan) and Tanjung Periok (Jakarta)
After getting your visa, time for you to taste Indonesia’s Nasi Meals, listed No. 5 in the list of Top ten most delicious southeast asian breakfast meals.