TIP – Indonesian visas

Some of this will be repetition from the post where I arrived at Jakarta airport, but there’s some more to add hence the extra article.

The basics, as of the date above:

There are a handful of visa types, the most common being the 7-day transit and the 30-day tourist visas. The latter is US$25 and they’re strict about the limit. Overstay and it’s US$20 per day and a risk of jail if you go over even by a moderate amount.

I got the 30-day tourist visa at Jakarta airport and paid in Malaysian Ringgit. The cost was a standard MR100, and I assume they also take Indonesian Rupiah if you already have some, though I don’t know the exact amount. I also can’t promise that other airports accept Ringgit.

One major point of note is that at Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali) airports, there are no ATMs within the arrivals area. In both cases you have to pass security and immigration to get to a cashpoint. However, if you need to get cash to pay for the visa then they will let you just walk out to get it. It’s up to you whether you decide to go back in and collect the visa, I suppose, but I’d recommend you do!

Your entry stamp and the big sticker both state that the visa is non-extendable. If you want to add to the thirty days, you have to leave the country and re-enter. From Sumatra, Borneo, and to some extent Java this isn’t too difficult or expensive as various parts of Malaysia are nearby. In Timor you can enter East Timor (more about this later) and in Papua you can get to Papua New Guinea.

However, from the likes of Bali, Lombok, Flores and the popular holiday destinations it is a long and expensive trip to any border. I have seen one sign up advertising visa extensions and the staff at my hotel have told me they can organise it with three days’ notice. However, it’s not cheap at IDR1.5million – around £90, nine times the cost of the original visa. If you want to stay on you’ll just have to balance the cost against how much it’ll save you in transportation.

If you head into East Timor, there is no visa on arrival for your return if you go back by land. You’ll have to send your passport to the Indonesian embassy in Dili, or visit personally, to get a new visa at a cost of US$35. Note that flights from East Timor are quite infrequent and expensive.

Papua New Guinea I hear isn’t too easy to get into either, and I’m not sure of the procedures exiting it by land – you may be in the same situation as in East Timor.

Personally, I think Indonesia needs to get it’s backside in gear and offer either a longer tourist visa or make renewals cheaper and more “above board”. It’s a huge country and anyone really wanting to explore it will need far longer than a month. Given the reaction Maria and I got in Java, not many tourists go there so perhaps the visas were geared toward the holidaying brigade who regularly invade the beaches for a couple of weeks. With backpacking and more adventurous travel becoming more common, it would benefit Indonesia itself to allow longer stays.

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