Immigration officials in Bali have been reviewing travel data for the year to date.
The numbers reveal that the island is on track to hit tourism targets this year but also that a surprising number of foreign nationals have been refused entry to the country.
Data shows that the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office at Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport refused entry to as many as 566 foreigners between January and the end of June 2023.
The Head of Immigration Information and Communication Technology at Ngurah Rai Immigration, Shandro Raymon, told reporters the details of those refused entry to Bali.
Raymon shared, “In terms of Immigration’s function as the gatekeeper of the country, Ngurah Rai Immigration has refused entry to as many as 566 foreigners and postponed the departure of 442 Indonesian citizens/foreigners.”
He noted that many of the tourists were refused entry because they did not have the correct Indonesian visa (or were not eligible for a visa on arrival), as well as having passport documents that were damaged or valid for less than six months.
Other foreigners were turned away as they were already blacklisted from Indonesia, and a number of foreigners were caught by Immigration Officials after being flagged on the Interpol Hit List.
Raymon revealed that foreigners refused entry to Bali hailed from countries including the United States, Russia, Australia, Timor Leste, India, France, Nepal, Britain, China, and Germany.
Data shows that the majority of refused entries happened in May, where 134 were denied access to Indonesia. In June 2023, 130 people were denied entry to Indonesia through the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office.
He added, “This rejection is part of our efforts at Immigration as the gatekeepers of the country. So, we reject all foreign nationals who are involved in various cases [of crime] and who do not have complete immigration documents.”
Two of those people denied entry to Bali in June 2023 hit the headlines. One Australian traveler and another from the UK were refused entry to Bali on account of slight damage to their passport documents.
The stories of Matt Vandenberg from Sydney and TikTok influencer known only as Emma from the UK served as urgent warnings to travelers planning their upcoming trips to Bali.
Vandenberg was detained at Bali Airport upon arrival when an immigration officer discovered a 1cm tear in the spine of his passport. Emma was rejected from boarding her Bali flight after airline officials noticed damage to her travel documents.
The data from Ngurah Rai Immigration and the two recent stories of travelers being turned away from Bali is a timely reminder for tourists to double and even triple-check the condition of their passports weeks, not days and hours, before they travel.
It is clear that immigration officials are actively looking at the condition of passports during the process of stamping (or not stamping) travelers into the country.
It is also worth double-checking the validity of passports; there must be at least six months left on the passport at the time of entry to Indonesia.
During his press conference, Raymon also shared travel data about the number of international arrivals to Bali in the first six months of the year.
The numbers show a positive trend for demand for travel on the island, especially when compared to last year.
Bali is on a mission to welcome 4.5 million international arrivals this year, a solid step towards hitting pre-pandemic tourism figures of over 6 million international tourists annually.
In total, 5,165,975 people have entered Bali through I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, 2,429,284 of which were foreign tourists.
The top international arrivals to Bali come from Australia, India, the United States, Britain, Singapore, China, Malaysia, South Korea, Germany, and Russia.
The vast majority of tourists arriving in Bali do so using the visa on arrival or electronic visa on arrival.
Over 1.92 million tourists have used to visa category that enables a stay of up to 30 days and is available for travelers from 92 countries for a fee of IDR 500,000.
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