The Indonesian Immigration Department has confirmed plans to roll out a cashless payment system for visas on arrival at all international airports, including Bali. As directed by President Joko Widodo, the Immigration Department is working in partnership with the Department of Finance to ensure that all international arrivals into the country can pay for their visa on arrival by card. It is hoped that this will help cut down processing times and streamline the arrival experience for visitors.
The Public Relations Co-Ordinator for the Director General of Immigration, Achmad Nur Saleh, told reporters, ‘Currently, Immigration provides visa-on-arrival services in accordance with the payment scheme mandated by the Ministry of Finance. It states that collecting agents are prohibited from charging fees for deposit transactions. However, many visitors must first visit a money changer to exchange their local currency into rupiah to pay for their visa on arrival, which is an added step in the arrival process. Many choose to pay in cash to avoid additional card fees.
Currently, Bali Immigration accepts cash payments in IDR, EUR, GBP, AUD, USD, and SGD. Some credit and debit cards are accepted, though additional bank charges may be applied. This new development of the cashless system would ensure that there are no additional banking fees on the Indonesian side for paying for the visa on arrival with a debit or credit card. This is a major change, and there are hopes that this new scheme will enable immigration to streamline the arrivals process.
The post-Covid arrival process for thousands of regular holidaymakers to Bali has changed. Since the visa on arrival for 30-days used to be free for travelers from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and dozens more, the processing timings have changed since borders reopened in February. The tourist visa on arrival used to be free for many, meaning travelers disembarked their aircraft and joined the lines for immigration in the arrivals hall.
This was the case for most travelers unless they knew wanted to extend the visa by a further 30-days, in which case travelers had to pay the IDR 500,00 upon arrival and the extension fee when they visited immigration later.
It is now the case that all travelers from all 86 countries on the visa on arrival list must pay IDR 500,00 for their first 30-day stay and pay again for the extension. This means that most international arrivals must make a payment before joining the line to be stamped into Indonesia.
Saleh told reporters ‘Both the use of electronic data capture (EDC) machines and interstate bank transfers incur additional costs. Meanwhile, there are no additional fees for PNBP withdrawals. This is being coordinated so that VoA payments can be made easier’.
Saleh did not announce a date for the rollout of the new payment system but confirmed that ‘intense’ discussions are underway. He said, ‘As a national development facilitator, we are trying as much as possible so that the service and supervisory function will be more optimal. Hopefully, it will be soon, in accordance with the President’s direction’.
The Secretary General of the Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies, M Rachmad, told reporters that he and his partners welcome the news and hope that they will be able to take the cashless system a step further. He suggested that it would be beneficial to create an online system whereby tourists could pay for their visas on arrival before they land.
He said, ‘One [solution] is to make the visa payment model friendly and flexible by changing the [finance policies]. So people can apply for an e-visa while lying down before leaving and pay immediately or pay on the spot with a swipe’.
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