There are several types of tourist visas for Indonesia. Before leaving for Indonesia you have to decide which one of them will work the best for you (not all of them are extendable). First, however, check what types of visas you are eligible for. And if you need to obtain Indonesian visa in advance or you can also get a visa on arrival in Indonesia. For instance, Latvians just like most of Europeans can apply for:
- Visa free entry on arrival (30 days),
- Extendable tourist visa on arrival (30 + 30 days),
- Social visa (extendable up to 6 months),
- Tourist visa (60 days).
In this article I will focus only on extendable visa on arrival. I will describe how to get it in Jakarta airport, and what’s the official process of extending it, specifically, in Bali. The process, though, should be more or less the same throughout Indonesia. Only in other places you definitely won’t see that many foreigners.
Getting Visa on Arrival in Indonesia
To get visa on arrival in Indonesia you must have:
- A passport that is valid for at least six more months,
- A fee – 37 USD,
- An onward / return ticket.
Is an onward ticket really a must-have? Well, they might ask you for a ticket, and they might not. It depends on an immigration officer. No, they didn’t ask me for a ticket. Anyway, I recommend you to have one. If you don’t know where are you going next after you have spent time in Indonesia, just “rent a plane ticket” shortly before you leave for the airport or book a refundable flight (and cancel it after you arrive).
If you want to rent a ticket, you can do it here: BestOnwardTicket.
As I had had planned my trip quite far in advance, I knew where I am heading after Indonesia – to Vietnam. I had booked a flight to Ho Chi Minh City, with a departure date 56 days after my arrival to Indonesia. I already knew that I’m going to extend my 30-day visa on arrival either in Bali or Lombok.
My Experience: Getting Visa on Arrival in Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International airport
OK, when you have arrived in Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International airport, look for a Visa on Arrival Counter. It’s on your way from the airplane to baggage claim, just before the passport control. There are 2 separate counters on the right side. One is for payment and the other one issues the visa.
First, you have to go to a payment counter. It’s on the right hand side. After you have paid 37 USD an immigration officer will give you a receipt.
Now head to the second counter! It’s located right next to the payment counter. Give your receipt and passport to the officer. He will paste a visa sticker in your passport and stamp it. He will give back your receipt. Don’t lose it, as you will need to show it at immigration office when you’ll go to extend your visa.
That’s it! Now you have your Indonesian visa!
Now only don’t forget to extend it to be able to stay for up to 60 days in total.
You should start the process of extending at least 7 days before the expiry date. Preferably, 7 business days.
If you have missed the two visa on arrival counters and end up at passport control instead, don’t worry! Just ask any of the customs officers (or a guard) where you can get visa on arrival. They will point out where you should go.
Note – if you plan to stay in Indonesia for 30 days (or less) you don’t have to pay for an extendable visa on arrival. Just head to the passport control and get your free 30-day Indonesian visa. It’s only a stamp, and you can stay in Indonesia for up to 30 days. Just take into account that the day of your arrival and the day of your departure count, too. Don’t overstay your visit, as you’ll have to pay a hefty fine – 350 000 IDR or around 20 EUR for each day you overstay!
One more thing – you can’t extend this type of visa.
Extending Indonesian Visa on Arrival in Bali
How to Extend Indonesian Visa on Arrival
You can extend your visa either at an immigration office or with a help of a travel agency. The latter is more expensive but hassle free. Even though I was tempted to go the easy way – go to a tourist office, pay the fee and get my visa extension faster, I didn’t do it.
Another option would be going on a visa run. A visa run is a very short trip usually to a nearby country just as your visa is about to expire. You stay at your destination at least for one day before you go back. We would highly recommend to stay for 4-5 days, though. So the immigration officers don’t get too suspicious of you. And even better to do a longer trip and come back to Indonesia another way.
Usually tourists fly to Singapore or Malaysia to do a visa run. Frequent direct flights are available, and they cost as little as 25 to 50 EUR. It takes less than three hours to get there, and no visa is required (except for some nationalities) to enter these two countries.
At first I really wanted to go to Timor-Leste on a short trip. Yeah, it’s not the cheapest visa run option but I didn’t want to go to Malaysia or Singapore since I’ve been there a few times already during my previous travels around Asia. But as there were some political problems in Timor-Leste, I decided not to go. So I got an extendable visa instead.
Now I will go into detail about the Indonesian visa extension process, specifically, in Denpasar, Bali.
Extending Your Visa on Arrival at an Immigration Office in Bali
There are several immigration offices in Bali:
- Denpasar Immigration Office
- Ngurah Rai Immigration Office
- Singaraja Immigration Office
Note – You should go to the office closest to where you are staying. If you are staying in Ubud (just like me) go to one in Denpasar. Don’t forget to check out the office hours of the immigration office closest to you. It won’t be open all day long!
As I have mentioned before start the process of extending your visa early – at least a week before your visa expires. Better – give yourself 7 working days for completing the extension process. Count the days of the visa validity carefully! Take into account that the validity of your visa is not one month but 30 days! And one more thing – take into account that the first day (day of arrival) and the last day (day of departure) count, too.
Do check if there are any public holidays during the time you have planned for visa extension process. If yes, give yourself even more time.
In order to apply for visa on arrival extension you’ll have to provide a copy of your airline ticket out of Indonesia.
Before booking your flight out of the country, again count the days very carefully. Because you’ll need to show the immigration officers the proof that you are going to leave within 30 days from the date of your visa extension.
1. First Trip to the Immigration Office
Head to the nearest immigration office. I suggest arriving early, in the morning, when they just have opened.
Take your passport, passport copy, copy of the visa page, copy of your airline ticket / booking confirmation, 500 000 IDR (around 32 EUR), and a note with the name, address, email, and phone number of your hotel or any other accommodation.
Take a black pen, too. There are some at the immigration office, but they all might be in use by other people when you need one.
Note – you don’t need to have a sponsor to extend your 30-day visa. However, one of the forms asks for details of your sponsor. Just leave these text boxes blank.
When you are at the Denpasar immigration office building (Kantor Imigrasi Kelas I Denpasar), head to the right, and past the payment counter. You’ll see a big room full of chairs and… people. Don’t be horrified – they are not all waiting in one line! Some of them are waiting for their photo to be taken, some of them are there to collect their passports with new visas already in them.
You are there to hand in your application form. It’s the first step.
Take a number at the queue management machine (Take-a-Number kiosk) just next to the photo counter. And wait until your number appears on a screen (which is next to counter 2).
Go to the counter where an officer will give you forms and one pink folder. Fill in those forms and also the cover of the folder. You’ll have to write your full name, home address, nationality, and passport number on the cover of the pink folder.
The forms are easy – you’ll have to write down your full name, date and place of birth, nationality, passport details, your address in Bali, occupation, address and email address of a family member / relative back home. Also you have to write a reason for extending your visa. I wrote down – “tourism”.
As I have already mentioned you don’t need to have a local sponsor to have your 30-day visa extended. Leave it blank.
When you are done go back to the same counter you received the forms from.
Put a passport copy, visa copy, airline ticket copy and filled forms into the pink folder. Hand this folder and your passport to an immigration officer behind the counter. They will tell you to wait.
Hang around the very first counter and wait for them to call your name. It’s pretty loud in there so pay attention.
When they call your name, walk up to the first counter. They will give your receipt but keep your passport. There’s a date (and a time frame) of your next visit on the receipt. Keep your receipt, and don’t lose it! You’ll have to show it on your next visit.
Now you need to pay 500 000 IDR for the visa extension. You can do it right outside the building – there’s an orange Pos Indonesia van (mobile post office) that processes immigration fees. Show them your receipt and make a payment. After they have processed your payment they’ll give back your receipt, with another receipt attached to it. It’s a proof that you have paid for your visa extension.
2. Second Trip to the Immigration Office
There’s a date of your second visit, and a time frame on the receipt they gave you. Usually it’s a few days later. For example, I submitted my forms on Friday, and my second visit was on Wednesday.
When you have arrived go straight to the counter 3. It’s in the far corner. Hand over your receipt, and you will be given a ticket (letter C followed by a number).
Today you are here for a photo and fingerprints.
Wait for your number to appear on on the screen. They call numbers also over the loudspeaker, so you won’t miss your turn.
When your number is called head to the photo counter, which actually is another room. It’s on the left of the very first counter, where you were given the receipt on the day when you handed in filled forms and your passport.
In the photo room they’ll offer you a seat. Then they will take your photo and fingerprints. After they are done you’ll be given the same receipt with another stamp on it. There will be a date of your next visit.
You will need to come to the immigration office one last time – to collect your passport.
3. Third Trip to the Immigration Office
Head to the immigration office on the specified date. It’s your last visit, and finally you’ll get your passport back with a new visa in it. When at the immigration office head to the last counter and hand them your receipt. They will take it and will ask you to wait. Wait for your name to be called.
When they’ve given back your passport you’ll have to sign the register. And that’s it! Congrats! Now you are allowed to stay for up to 30 more days in Indonesia (not a month!)!
My third visit was on Tuesday – 11 days after I submitted my application. So at first I was worried because my visa was about to expire in the meantime, but as they had already started the process of extending it wasn’t a problem.
Why Pay a Travel Agency for Extending Your Visa?
Extending visa on arrival at immigration office is quite an easy task, so why pay to a travel agent to do it?
One of the reasons is – if you are late and your visa expires in less than in 5 days. In this situation your best bet would be to go to a travel agent and see if they can help you.
Also going to an immigration office and extending visa on your own might be time consuming. Especially if you don’t live close to any of the immigration offices. Bali is a rather big island. Remember, you’ll have to do this journey three times. It also can be tiring as the traffic in Bali is crazy very often.
If for whatever reasons you are planning to extend your Indonesian visa in a travel agency do your research first and choose the company wisely. Better go only to a reputable company not to that dodgy one just around the corner! After all, you don’t want to risk not getting your Indonesian visa extended, right?
Why Do a Visa Run? It’s More Expensive Than Extendable Visa on Arrival
First and foremost – you have forgotten to get a visa on arrival at the airport. Happens. Or you just have decided that you want to stay longer and see more of Indonesia (or to spend more time in Bali after all), but you have a non-extendable free visa. Then your only option is to do a visa run.
Have you forgotten to extend your visa on arrival, and now you have only a few days left until it expires? And you would rather go to another country for a visit than pay a hefty fine or search for a travel agency to extend your visa? Then do it! Go on that trip and make the most of this situation! Yes, it will be more expensive than even a travel agent’s fee. But more interesting as well, right?
But don’t go just for a day. Because immigration officers at the airport don’t like this. And this can result even in denying entry to the country.
Go for at least 4-5 days and be ready that you might still be questioned about the purpose of your trip. Especially if you’ll be coming back the same way.
Visa Run to Singapore
If you are in Bali and want to go on a visa run to Singapore, I wouldn’t advise doing that more than once. A lot of people staying long-term in Bali go on their visa runs to Singapore. Because it’s relatively cheap and fast. Immigration officers in Singapore Changi Airport have understood that and are reluctant to let people traveling to Singapore from Bali.
You even can be denied entry to Singapore and sent back to Bali.
A safer way is to travel to Singapore, go to Malaysia afterwards and fly to Bali from there. This way you’ll not be making “a u-turn”.
Do you still have some questions about visa on arrival in Indonesia? Don’t hesitate to ask!
Author: Una Baufala
Una is a traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. Apart from traveling and exploring new places she loves to read books. And she adores cats. Together with Kaspars they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since October 2013. WeAreFromLatvia.com is where she shares her travel experiences.