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Visa-Free Travel To Bali Could Return For Indonesia’s Top Tourists 

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When Indonesia’s borders reopened after the pandemic lockdown in February 2022, many Bali lovers were shocked to learn that the visa-free travel policy had been put on hold.

Within a few months, the legislative changes necessary to completely scrap free travel for top tourists had been passed. 

Colourful beanbags on Nusa Lembongan Beach Overlooking ocean and Bali

In June this year, the Indonesian Department of Immigration formally scrapped the visa-free travel program for travelers from 159 countries.

In its place, the Ministry rolled out the visa-on-arrival program, which was very much the same apart for one crucial detail. Travelers from 98 countries must now pay for their visa, to the tune of IDR 500,000 per person, for up to 30 days. 

For many Bali lovers who’d previously enjoyed visa-free travel, especially those from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, and most of Europe, the news that tourists now had to pay for a visa was a bit of a shock to the system. 

Although the policy change meant that visa-free travel was scrapped for Bali’s most frequent visitors, it remained the case that tourists from neighboring ASEAN states could still enter Indonesia for up to 30 days free of charge.

ASEAN nations have a reciprocal agreement in place that allows travelers from Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines to travel between the countries visa-free.

Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies has spoken to the media this week about the prospect of re-introducing visa-free travel for the country’s most frequent international arrivals.

Minister Sandiaga Uno has confirmed that he and his teams are proposing that travelers from twenty countries, in addition to ASEAN nations, should be granted visa-free travel in Indonesia.

Minister Uno said “Earlier it was decided to propose which countries would be proposed for visa-free visits. The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy proposed 20 countries with the highest number of foreign tourists outside of countries that have visa-free visits.”

He continued “At the top are Australia, China, India, South Korea, the United States, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, and five other additional countries are countries related to investment contributions and the economic impact on Indonesia, Middle Eastern countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and several other countries.” 

Minister Uno revealed that the conversation is ongoing but that the proposal will be finalized by next month.

He added that the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economies is working with the Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly and Director General of Immigration Silmy Karim to bring this change about.

Tourists-hands-passports-over-immigration-counter-at-airport

Minster Uno added “In the next month it will be finalized and after that, we will receive direction from the president and the policy will be followed up with immigration. We will coordinate with Prof Yasonna and the Director General of Immigration, Mr Silmy.”

For the moment, however, it remains the case that tourists from 97 countries, including the twenty countries listed by Minster Uno must still pay for their visa on arrival, either at Bali Airport or online before they travel.

Temple-Gates-At-Bali-Airport-In-Daytime

The e-visa on arrival can be applied for up to 48 hours before touchdown at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport.

The visa is valid for 30 days and can be used for tourism purposes, limited business-related activities, and visiting family. The visa can be extended one time for an additional 30 days for an additional fee.

Traveler-Hands-Passport-Over-At-Immigration-Border-Control

Bali lovers will welcome the prospect of visa-free travel making a comeback. On the 14th February 2024 Bali will introduce its new tourism tax.

The IDR 150,000 fee is a mandatory requirement for all international arrivals and the revenue generated from the new tax is set to be spent on tackling the island’s waste management issues. 

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Randy

Tuesday 19th of December 2023

Why is everyone complaining again??? Those 20 countries entering Indonesia will not have to pay the VOA again. Be grateful for that...and stop whining like some entitled no good for nothing White folks. And why is Russia on the list...seriously now.

STEVO

Sunday 17th of December 2023

if you cant afford a $50 AUD visa, then you should not be going abroad.

Randy

Monday 18th of December 2023

@STEVO, true dat. Aussies always complain for the most part about Indonesia and yet they all want to come. Sigh.

Tom

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

A seriously negative aspect of the current VOA Fee (that is often overlooked) is the ridiculous burden imposed on passengers in transit. By transit I mean, changing from one inbound international flight to another outbound International flight. The other day, I saw a family of 4 having to pay 2 million IDR for VOAs (4xIDR500k) and their connecting flight was only in two hours ! They were in a state of shock ! To help them feel better, I said they were lucky their trip wasn't in Feb or they'd have to pay another IDR600k on top of the IDR 2 Million tax. For some reason, Indonesians think Bali is the end destination for all passengers moving through their airport. There is actually a small transit facility(I use it all the time to avoid the Tax) but it's not a Fix in many situations. The key is getting your onward-flight boarding pass BEFORE you arrive in Bali. If you are flying out on a different carrier than the one you came in on, that means an "on-line" boarding pass. If you have the boarding pass, you have effectively already checked-in. Keep in mind, the check-in airline counters are after Immigration. The other problem is retrieving your luggage from the inbound flight and getting it onto your outbound flight. I don't travel with checked-in bags so that's my solution. The next problem is, some airlines won't let you check-in online and obtain your Boarding Pass on-line. That would typically be Jet Star flights Bali/Australia.

Slobodan Koloski

Tuesday 12th of December 2023

How about expanding VOA to more countries? My country Macedonia is not on the list and several times I'm paying around $300 each time for a visa. I have a business interest in Indonesia but I will take it elsewhere as this is clear discrimination. When people feel discriminated they don't come.

Randy

Monday 18th of December 2023

@Slobodan Koloski, discrimination? Seriously...no reciprocal agreement between Indonesia and Macedonia.

Paul

Monday 11th of December 2023

Need to get rid of the whole taxes for tourists before I come in. The waste management tax is a con its the locals who dump rubbish in the river not the tourists as was proven during the pandemic when no one was allowed in but the rubbish was still there.

Gary

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

@Paul, spot on

Paul Morris

Tuesday 12th of December 2023

@Paul, Totally agree with your comments, government officials quick to blame tourists for all the rubbish everywhere and yet when there were NO tourists for 2 1/2 years there was still rubbish being dumped everywhere,the Balinese have no pride in their once beautiful country which is really a shame but unfortunately that is progress.