The Department of Immigration for Indonesia has launched a new way for travelers to acquire their visas on arrival. It is now possible for tourists to apply for an e-VOA before they arrive in the country. Hopefully, this latest development will help streamline the arrival experience for tourists to Bali and beyond.
The Acting Director General of Immigration, Widodo Ekatjahjana, announced the launch of the new e-VOA system on Thursday 10th November. He explained that the new visa category was created as a ‘very strategic policy’. Ekatjahjana noted that the e-VOA would make it easier for tourists and business people from all over the world to visit Indonesia without having to arrange their visas on arrival at the airport.
Ekatjahjana said, “The ease and speed of this immigration service can increase the enthusiasm of the world community to come to Indonesia. This will positively impact the country’s economy”. The e-VOA launched this week after a successful trial application period from the 4th to the 9th of November. The first foreigner to use the service landed in Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport. The process was a success, enabling Immigration to open the e-VOA as an option to all travelers from countries on the VOA list.
Ekatjahjana continued, “Alhamdulillah, now the e-VoA system can be enjoyed by foreign citizens (WNA) who will come to Indonesia for tourism, business, or visiting purposes. We have also successfully conducted trials some time ago.”
According to Ekatjahjana, the process has been made super simple. Prospective travelers must visit Indonesia’s Immigration website and proceed to apply. Fill out the form with basic personal details and pay the IDR 500,000 fee using a credit or debit card. Only Visa, Mastercard, and JCB are accepted. Once the payment has been processed, the form is submitted, and once the application is verified, travelers can download their e-VOA to present on arrival.
Ekatjahjana said, “Furthermore, foreigners simply download the approved e-VoA and show it at the immigration checkpoint when entering Indonesian territory, including at Ngurah Rai Airport.” This is excellent news for many travelers who want to be able to arrange everything in advance or who don’t have the time to wait in potential queues when they land in Bali.
Travelers have been calling for an upgrade to a digital system for years. It remains the case that travelers can pay and secure their visa on arrival at the arrivals hall in Bali and all other international airports in Indonesia.
Concluding his statements, Ekatjahjana said, “With this launch, immigration can make a real contribution to providing policies and facilities to support the world of tourism, increase foreign investment and create job opportunities by attracting tourists or the upper class from various foreign countries, global talent, world billionaire businessmen to come and develop their investment and business in Indonesia.”
Yet, for some, the move to an e-VOA doesn’t go far enough. Many call on the government to scrap the newly introduced IDR 500,000 (USD 32) fee. Before the pandemic, the visa on arrival was free for 30-days for most international visitors.
Travelers only had to pay for their visa on arrival if they knew they wanted to extend their visa by a further 30-days. The new IDR 500,000 fee has been a point of contention for many. Even the Bali Tourism Association is calling on the government to review the impact a paid-for tourist visa is having on travel trends.
According to the DPD of the Association of Indonesian Travel Companies in Bali, I Putu Winastra, the impact of the fee is significant. He told reporters, “ the free visa will increase visits. We get the data that there is a 75 percent increase when visits from Visa On Arrival (VOA) become free visas”.
He also shared his views on the new second-home visa category. He noted, “the visa [for] second home, the travel agent does not benefit…indeed, our hope is what is the policy of Mr. President to open free visas again as before the pandemic”.
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