Skip to Content

Immigration Director Left Furious After Surprise Spot Check Of Bali Airport

Share The Article

The Acting Director General of Immigration for Indonesia, Widodo Ekatjahjana, conducted a surprise spot check at immigration counters at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport on Thursday the 6th of October. After finding multiple visa-on-arrival counters unstaffed, Ekatjahjana made his frustration known to the staff. 

Outside Of Bali I Gusti Ngurah Rai international Airport

The surprise inspection was carried out at around 10.30 pm. According to local reports, Ekatjahjana found a queue at the payment for visa on arrival counter. He did not hold back and let immigration teams know the extent of his fury. He scolded the bank and airport officers responsible for running the counter. 

To add to his frustration, Ekatjahjana found that four other counters were not operating either. He then found another totally unstaffed counter. When asked why this was the case, the staff informed him that the payment facilities were unavailable. 

Card Payment Taken By Card Reader At A Counter

This wasn’t only the case at the payment counters. The scene at passport control also fell short of Ekatjahjana’s high expectations. According to his assessment, there were an insufficient number of computers at the counters meaning the counters without PCs could not operate. Giving orders to his delegation, Ekatjahjana could be heard saying, ‘anyway, tomorrow, these counters must be filled.’ 

Traveler Hands Passport Over At Immigration Border Control

After talking to more airport staff, Ekatjahjana told them that whenever a queue is forming, this should be approached with a ‘sense of crisis. He said, ‘It can’t be like this, come on, let’s have a sense of crisis, right…I’m fighting for an online payment system, but shouldn’t these counters be [empty]? If it’s still empty tomorrow, I’ll immediately invite you to this meeting. I’ll take it to this week’s meeting with the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, so that they know that all immigration is trash….’

Close Up Of People Standing In A Queue On Grey Tiled Floor.

He could also be heard to say, ‘How long has it been [going on and] has not been reprimanded at all…Tomorrow it has to operate, and I don’t want to know anymore…If you are sick, the permit [team member] must be replaced.’ He was then informed by a member of airport staff that the issue of not having all passport stamping counters and visa on-arrival counters open had been going on for a month at least. 

Local reporters have confirmed that tourists and other arrivals in the terminal building at the time caught sight and ear of Ekatjahjana’s frustration. Onlookers watched the inspection with curiosity but didn’t dare stare. It seems that Ekatjahjana did not mind that travelers could hear and see his frustration. He chose to inspect counters next to the counters in the flow of processing arrivals. 


At the end of his inspection, Ekatjahjana said that all outlets in the arrivals must operate optimally, especially if many more foreign tourists will be coming. News of queues being acknowledged by the Acting Director General of Immigration for Indonesia is very significant. There have been mixed reports, almost all anecdotal, of either huge queues or no queues in Bali airport over the last few months. From one extreme to the other. 


In August, a travel blogger was invited to swiftly leave Bali after claiming he had to wait over 5-hours in the immigration queue to be stamped into Bali. After publishing an article, online Bali immigration teams used CCTV to investigate whether his accusations were true. They found that the writer had been able to pass through the immigration hall to baggage claim in just 53-minutes. 


The Indonesian Immigration Department has confirmed plans to launch a cashless payment system for visas on arrival at all international airports, including Bali. The mandate has been ordered by President Joko Widodo, and there are hopes that the integration of a cashless payment system will help cut down processing times and streamline the arrival experience for visitors. 

Remove All Ads & Unlock All Articles… Sign up for The Bali Sun Premium

Plan Your Bali Holiday:
Book The Best English Speaking Drivers For Airport Transfers & Tours
Choose From Thousands of Bali Hotels, Resorts, and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most PropertiesBook Cheap Flights To Bali
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance That Covers Medical Expenses In Bali

For the latest Bali News & Debate Join our Facebook Community


Enter your email address to subscribe to The Bali Sun’s latest breaking news, straight to your inbox.

Peter Michael Hardman

Monday 10th of October 2022

I arrived at the international yesterday at 4.50PM to absolute chaos. The entire system is a disgrace with slow lazy staff on all check in lines. Why is there a seoerate line to check the vacination certificate when it can be done at the immigration desk. Line for health check. Line for VOA ( I have KITAP so could skip this mess). Huge lines at immigration (shorter line for me) 45 minutes wait for luggage. I had to unload bags from the belt so the bags from my flight could drop down. Line at customs very slow as it has changed from just handing in the form to more passport checking for some stupid reason. Then they decided to inspect my bags. No problem usually but they really made a scene of it. One guy checked my hand luggage then left, 10 minutes later next guy checked my briefcase then left, 10 minutes later another searched my bag. I finally left the airport 2.5 hours later and I had KITAP. It is an utter disgrace.

Ali Pickard

Monday 10th of October 2022

Yes get rid of voa for Australians. Also do something about your taxi system. Look on website and tells you over price, but when you get there twice as much. How can this be. Let bluebird do pickups, so much better

Paul Speirs

Sunday 9th of October 2022

At least he now knows that the immigration on arrival at bali is rubbish just like the people who arrived in this country. The easy way is to get rid of the visa in arrival like is was before the pandemic and if you want a 60 day get it at a overseas embassy


Monday 10th of October 2022

Before visitors from VoA free countries could pay for VoA in the event they planned to extend for another 30 days.


Sunday 9th of October 2022

About time Bali fix there airport it's true that only 1o2 outlet s are open at the time of arrival

Wayan Bo

Sunday 9th of October 2022

No problem, no coming, no tourists, no need 4 VoA