Americans Can Now Travel To Indonesia Visa Free

Bali is one of my favorite places in the world, and I visit as often as I can. Indonesia has long required most visitors to get visas, though fortunately they’re largely issued on arrival.

Bali

I far prefer that to having to visit a consulate or mail in my passport. And in reality it’s just a way for them to generate revenue, since you would pay them $35, and they would put a sticker in your passport, so it hardly adds to security.

Indonesia-Visa

The visa on arrival requirement was never something which prevented me from traveling to Indonesia, though I always did feel a bit annoyed paying $35 on arrival, when I was just coming to the country to spend money anyway.

Anyway, the good news is that as of June 9, 2015, under certain circumstances 45 nationalities no longer need visas when visiting Indonesia. This change was first announced in March, though the implementation of it has been delayed until now.

Via Bali Discovery, previously the following 15 countries/territories didn’t require visas for visits of up to 30 days:

  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Philippines
  • Chile
  • Morocco
  • Peru
  • Vietnam
  • Ecuador
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Hong Kong
  • Macau

And now you can add the following 30 countries to the list which no longer require a visa for stays of up to 30 days:

  • People’s Republic of China
  • Russia
  • South Korean
  • Japan
  • USA
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Mexico
  • Great Britain
  • Germany
  • France
  • The Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Sweden
  • Austria
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Finland
  • Poland
  • Hungary
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Qatar
  • U.A.E.
  • Kuwait
  • Bahrain
  • Oman
  • South Africa

I double lucked out here, since now neither my US nor German passports require a visa anymore! Interestingly Australians — who are among the most frequent tourists to Bali — still need a visa to visit Indonesia.

Visa free entry can only be granted at the following airports/ports (including the major airports in Jakarta and Bali):

  • Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta
  • Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar, Bali
  • Kualu Namu Airport in Medan, North Sumatra
  • Juanda Airport in Surabaya, East Java
  • Hang Nadim Airport in Batam
  • Port of Sri Bintan in Bintan
  • Port of Sekupang in Batam
  • Port of Batam Center in Batam
  • Port of Tanjung Uban in Riau

Bottom line

This is great news for those looking to visit Indonesia. While I don’t think the visa on arrival fee prevented most people from visiting, it’s certainly nice to not have to pay it, not to mention not having to queue to purchase it.

(Tip of the hat to LoyaltyLobby)

Comments

  1. The line to pay wasn’t so bad. The immigration lines themselves take forever though. At DPS anyway. This won’t make them go much faster

  2. Taiwan should’ve been added to that list since many visit Indonesia and employ them as domestic help and factory workers. Also, $35 is nothing compared to a first-class ticket for you :p

  3. China and Russia do require a visa (except very narrow set of circumstances). Czechoslovakia seized to exist two decades ago. It is Czech Republic and Slovakia, which have been on no-visa required list for a while. Please check the rest of countries in the list.

  4. Czechoslovakia? Really? The Tourism Ministry may want to invest in some maps that have been printed sometime after 1993!

  5. It is quite funny to see there are so many Latin American countries on the original list, given that there is only a countable amount of tourists from that region.
    Traveling from Latin America to Asia is a pain, especially East Asia. It is way too long and not many decent carriers on this route (compare to kangaroo routes). I wonder why there are not many Asian airlines on this market, most carrier on this route are European or Midwest airlines, even Asia (particularly China, Korea, Japan ) is the largest trade partner for many Latin America countries.

  6. Happy to hear that! Those Visa-on-arrival stickers were filling up my passport pages rather quick, since I have been visiting Indonesia twice a month lately

  7. Australians notably missing out…probably has something to do with the break down in relations after the execution of the Bali nine drug smugglers.

  8. Hopefully they increase staffing at immigration as their next move. When I was there last year the line curled around the terminal and took 2.5 hours to get through. Was hot and muggy in there also. Not sure if that was normal but it definitely sucked.

  9. @Hsik “so many Latin American countries on the original list”

    There are only two commercial air routes between Latin America and Asia. Aeromexico runs flights — not daily service — between MEX and NRT or PVG. Sometimes there’s a refueling stop at MTY or TIJ.

    There’s one more flight on a ME3 carrier from São Paulo to Arabia somewhere and a flight or two to Australia and that’s it for Asia bound connectivity. Strangely, Latin America has great frequent direct convenient service to Europe, as good as service from the USA.

  10. @Chris

    You are right that it has to do with break down in relations, but it has to do with the Indonesians being pissed with the Aussies for their strict policy toward boat immigrants. The Australians tows the boats back to Indonesia, and if the immigrant boats are not seaworthy they are put on lifeboats that the Aussies purchased strictly for the purpose.

    The illegal immigrant stream to Aus has now stop and has been reversed going back to Asia.

    Questions is was the execution of the Bali nine drug smugglers a replay and/or fuck you from Jakarta to Canberra ?

    In an article I read the Indonesian attitude was; the Aussies are going to come anyway so let them pay.

  11. @Hsik @Owen

    When Travis wrote of Indonesian Visa freedom coming a while back it was mentioned in the comments that their was a Indonesian law that required the other country to grant Indonesian visa free access back before they could be approved on that list.

    The countries in South America offers visa free access to a lot of nations, even developing ones far away. Or should I say especially far away countries so that only those citizens with high income can afford to visit.

    Can get a Visa to go on holiday in the EU or the US without jumping true a lot of hoops even if you are a millionaire? Come visit us instead and experience a different part of the world. This was never meant for the average citizen of those nations since the cost would stop them from traveling, but for their elites.

  12. I must say, the Visa on arrival and departure fees really leave a bad taste after you presumably spent thousands to visit Bali. Considering the length of the immigration lines, it’s almost an insult.

    Glad they’re expanding visa-free to more countries.

  13. @Chris – You fly to Denpasar (on Bali). Direct routes from many destinations. Many major airlines fly there.
    Id go for a stay in Ubud (middle of the island) and Nusa Dua (south of the airport). Do a google image search for Ubud hotels, and you see what I mean. Some of the best hotels in the world.
    Stay away from Denpasar and Kuta.

  14. @ Chris — You’ll want to fly into Denpasar Airport. As far as hotels go, lots of great options. Do you have a preferred chain?

  15. @No Name “Can get a Visa to go on holiday in the EU or the US without jumping true [sic] a lot of hoops”

    The AM flights from MEX to NRT and PVG usually average about US$3-500 more expensive than flying through LAX and require a refueling stop one way. I’m not sure why AM hasn’t cut out the refueling with the shift to 787s — maybe they don’t have enough units yet to guarantee an ‘8’ every day since they also go to Europe. The ‘8’s are AM’s only true business class jet; their 777s carry angled 7-across J that’s really just expensive E+.

    Anyway, Y tickets cost about 50% more than US carriers’ TPAC. It’s a competitive market, so there should be some value AM is providing for that cash, and indeed there is. If you fly the US carriers, you have to pass full US immigration and customs even though you’re just transiting. You also have to, if you’re a LatAm citizen, obtain a full B visitor’s visa with 10-year multiple entry and 90-180 day authorization to stay. There’s no US transit visa just like there’s no US transit hall in airports.

    The visa procedure requires extensive documentation and US$130 in fees to get two interviews — in person! — where you have to arrive without cell phones, wallet, or jewelry (there’s no personal items check). You get fingerprinted and then there’s a review of your personal history for creditworthiness, stability, wealth, family, and various other nosy business. Then you might or might not get a visa in a few months.

    Said kafkaesque visa procedure is required by a country that can’t be arsed to guard the border well enough to prevent twenty million undocumented aliens from taking up residence.

    So that’s why people are willing to pay more. Passing through the LAX from Latin America is like transiting some grimy corrupt third world communist dictatorship.

    To be fair, LAX isn’t any nicer for Americans that have to get through the remote commuter shAAck.

  16. huh… i paid $35 upon arriving in Bali on June 10th despite using my US passport. i’m guessing information amongst immigration agents is spotty?

    would’ve rather not, but what’s an extra $35 when you’re already spending to get there?

  17. Good move to make tourism/business easier for Indonesia.

    Unfortunately i noticed that Yogyakarta international airport in Central Java Yogyakarta special province (DIY) is not on the list. Although it is a small international aiport serving only Silkair (SQ-daughter) and AirAsia to Singapore/Kuala Lumpur, it is the gateway to Borobudur (biggest buddhist momument of the world), Prambanan (ancient hindu temple complex), several other historic ruins, Kraton (sultan’s palace) and other typical Javanese culture and customs (batik, wayang kulit shadow puppet’s, ramayana hindu dance epos etc.) I use the airport yearly but those flights are really packed with EU-tourists / i expect most other international tourists arrive domestic via Jakarta (CGK) or DenpasarBali (DPS)

  18. @ andy — Yeah, guessing the implementation may be slow. They don’t have much of an incentive NOT to take $35, after all. 😀

  19. Czechoslovakia? A country that does not exist for more then two decades… So does it apply to both Czech and Slovak Republics or just one of these or none?

  20. @lucky – I primarily stay with Starwood or Marriott due to Platinum and Platinum Premier status with them.

  21. visited Bali in the 70’s and got our visas in NYC – the guys there (and I believe they were in fact all men working at the consulate) invited us for a delicious Indonesian lunch at the consulate! talk about the good old days…

  22. @ Chris — If it’s within your budget, the St. Regis is AWESOME. Otherwise the W or Westin are great as well. Can’t go wrong with any of those options, in my opinion.

  23. I landed here on the 16th and was shocked that there was no visa cost – I even asked the guy – are you positive -I don’t want to get in trouble – he smiled and said enjoy bali – and I am

  24. Just arrived in wondeful Bali, and was surprised and pleased to pay no visa fee. Even better– breezed through customs in less than 15 mins. When an immigration officer dropped my passport, he apologized by saying, “My bad,” with a genuine smile.

  25. do they enforce the requirement for 6 months left until your passport expires? I will be visiting in December and my passport expires in March.

  26. I live in US, have a US Green Card and Indian Passport. Do I need to get prior visa? And does Indonesia have a provision of Visa on arrival?

  27. I know you used the word “previously” so it is not clear, but your list of visa free countries is way out of line. Perhaps it applies to Europeans? I speak for Americans (you do not specify): Visas for Russia are extremely difficult if not impossible; China is a bitch, you have to send your passport, show income, etc; I doubt if the Arabian Peninsula countries just let you waltz in; etc. Maybe you should define your audience?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *