Before the pandemic, most travelers heading to Indonesia would be able to enter the country for free for up to 30 days.
When the country when into lockdown, the visa-free travel program was halted and remained on pause even when borders reopened in February 2022.
Now the Department of Immigration has formally scrapped the visa-free travel program for travelers from 159 countries.
The move means that visa-free travel will not be coming back for Bali travelers any time soon. Since borders reopened in February 2022, travelers to Bali have been able to gain entry to the province using the paid-for visa on arrival.
The visa on arrival for Indonesia costs IDR 500,000 and enables the tourists to stay for up to 30 days. The visa can be extended one time only for an additional 30 days.
This visa category is open for citizens of 92 countries, including the island’s most frequent visitors from Australia, India, and China.
Visa-free travel to Indonesia remains for just ten countries, those who are part of ASEAN. This reciprocal agreement allows travelers from Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines to travel freely between the nation-states.
In many ways, this announcement comes as little news to travelers since the most appropriate tourist visa for the last 18 months has been the visa on arrival.
However, many frequent visits have been held out to see if the visa-free program would be relaunched as the Covid-19 restrictions were finally eased.
Previously, for example, a family of four planning their annual holiday in Bali would all be able to enter the country for free.
Now, this same family will have to budget for an additional IDR 1,000,000 to cover visa costs.
Whatsmore, officials are also publicly discussing increasing the visa-on-arrival fee, with some sources suggesting the fee could triple.
Minster Uno has said that the discussion about raising the visa-on-arrival fee remains ongoing but that any increase would be made in alignment with fees imposed by other countries offering a similar visa-on-arrival program.
The reason why the legislation has only just been changed is that Indonesia has just this week formally revoked the pandemic status of the nation.
The final Covid-19 restrictions, the very same that pressed pause on the visa-free travel program, have been revoked. This includes the removal of the Covid-19 vaccine requirement for travelers to Indonesia.
Earlier this week, Indonesian President Joke Widodo addressed the nation to announce that the country would be transitioning into an endemic status for Covid-19, a decision that was based on national caseloads, vaccine rates, and the prevalence of antibodies within the general populous.
The Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, spoke with reporters in Nusa Dua in Bali this week.
He shared his hopes for the potential the visa on arrival has for supporting sustainable tourism in the country.
He said, “Because with Visa on Arrival, we hope to accommodate more than 80 percent of tourists who come, and the rest they can visit with the e-VoA process [before landing]. ”
During his conversation with the press, Minister Uno was able to shed more light on the Golden Visa he announced a few weeks ago.
He said plans are still underway to develop the 5-10 year Golden Visa. He added, “So that we can attract tourists who will drive the economy, bring technology so that we can also open up investment opportunities and create jobs.”
Minister Uno added our target is to attract more qualified and sustainable foreign tourists. That is our hope.” When asked about the apparent increase in tourists behaving badly in Bali, Minster
Uno was clear that action must be taken.
He said, “For those tourists who are [not] behaving, they will be dealt with strictly in accordance with applicable law, and we must convey this clearly and straightforwardly.”
Plan Your Next Bali Vacation:
Book The Best English Speaking Drivers For Airport Transfers & Tours
Choose From Thousands of Bali Hotels, Resorts, and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties
For the latest Bali News & Debate Join our Facebook Community
SUBSCRIBE TO NEW POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to The Bali Sun’s latest breaking news, straight to your inbox.