Indonesian Visa on Arrival, Extension and Long Term: Free or Fee?

So AFTER booking my ticket to Indonesia, like every irresponsible backpacker, I wondered to myself, “HMMMM.. do I need a visa?” Unlike my other trips to Indonesia which were short and sweet thanks to the *generous* 10-day vacation policy in the US, I figured I’d stay longer than 30 days, which is what is allotted on a visa free visit.

Luckily for most people, entry into Indonesia is pretty hassle free, if you’re planning to stay for less than a month. Indonesia allows nationals from over 168 countries to remain in the country Visa Free for a maximum of 30 days.


Gili Trawangan Island, Indonesia


Gili Trawangan, a paradise I can easily stay for more than 30 days

Indonesia Visa Free vs Visa on Arrival

Since I wanted a chance to explore this culturally, biologically and ethnically diverse archipelago made up of 17,000 islands and stretches 5,120 kilometers (just saying… there’s a lot to see!) AND also visit family, I was left with two options: paying for a visa on arrival (VOA) or doing a visa run because you cannot extend the length of your stay if you enter visa free. There is also the option of applying for a social/cultural visa if you’re the type of person who plans ahead (more information at the end of the article!)


Family and friends, Indonesia


Family and friends during my last visit to Indonesia

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a visa run, it’s when you hop across the border to another country and then re-enter the country, which you left in order to restart the number of days you’re allowed to stay. While a visa run may tow the line of questionable practices, I hadn’t heard of people running into issues, so I figured it was a viable option. Since I’m currently ballin’ on a budget, I tallied up the cost and decided the cheaper option would be to purchase a VOA at the airport.


Getting Visa on Arrival in Indonesia aiport

Follow these signs in Indonesia aiport to get your Visa on Arrival… easy enough (NOT!)

Getting the visa on arrival seemed pretty easy; I thought all I needed was a valid passport, $35, and a smile to enter (okay, maybe not a smile, but you should do it anyway because you’re in INDONESIA!) However, I found out later that the extension process was a lot more tedious and needed to be done at least two weeks in advance.

Indonesia Visa extension

Two weeks? Why? Well, apparently, I needed to visit three times: once to complete the forms, another time to pay and take my photos and fingerprints, and finally to pick up my passport with the visa extension. On top of that, there are a limited number of offices that you can process the visa extension, including three in Bali, which are almost, always full of people.

Visa, Indonesia


I finally got my Indonesian Visa!

Another option I discovered was that I could get some immigration agent to handle the visa process for about $50. I would still need to start the process about 10-15 days before the visa expired, but I could leave my passport with the agent, enjoy gallivanting and soaking up some sun rays in the other islands, and come back to the office where everything would be completed. And since time is money, it didn’t seem like such a terrible idea. I was left debating whether it would be cheaper to do a visa run OR to pay an agency, and decided to go back in time, and channel my former agency role by making an excel sheet for my budget.



Options to extend my Indonesian Visa: Agent vs Flying in and Out


Options to extend my Indonesian Visa: Hiring an Agent vs Flying in and Out

The best option became pretty obvious; it was cheaper for me to fly from Lombok to KL then to Medan, in order to restart the 30 days. I was a little upset for spending the initial $35 for a VOA (that equals to 10 Bintangs!!!) but I had no one to blame but myself for only doing half the research. But hey, you win some and you lose some, and now I’m on my way to Lombok and Flores before heading to Sumatra. Can’t wait to share more stories with you!



Post visa woes: 
Babe on bikes, exploring Bali

Post visa woes: 
Babe on bikes, exploring Bali on scooters….the easiest and most adventurous ways to get around

Indonesia Long Term Stays Visa

If you are planning ahead (good for you!), below are the two types of most common visas for non-professional longer term stays. You should note that the date of arrival in Indonesia is counted as day one of the permitted stay and the date of departure is also counted as a full day even if the flight leaves just after midnight.

Visa on Arrival

As the name states, this is a visa you can purchase when you arrive in Indonesia at designated entry points by paying US$35 (as of 2016).
Single entry visa
Good for up to 30 days
Can be extended ONLY ONCE for an additional 30 days for another US$35 (as of 2016)
You can also apply for this visa at your respective country’s Indonesian embassy or consulate

Social Cultural Visit Visa

This visa requires a letter of sponsorship from an Indonesian citizen
Good for up to 60 days
Can be extended up to four more times, for a maximum of 180 days total
You must apply for this visa outside of Indonesia
Valid up to three months from date of issue
If you want to extend this visa, you must apply for the extension in the same district stated by your sponsor’s identity card
Here’s more information on Social Cultural Visit Visa

If you do happen to overstay your visa, you will be fined Rp 200,000/day for every day, then deported once you have paid the fine. The maximum fine for overstaying a visa is Rp 25 million and 5 years in jail, so just don’t do it!

Related articles:
Indonesia Tourist Visa Requirement
Indonesia Travel Tips and Information
Do I need a Travel Insurance for Indonesia?

Honeymoon in Bali during December weather

Q: I’m planning my honeymoon in Bali for 3 nights in the month of December. So how is weather there in December and suggest me some unique places in Bali for Honeymoon couple which we can explore – Pratik

A: The weather in Bali for December is a little unpredictable. It is part of the wet/monsoon season in Bali but there will also be days of sun. It also rains more in the night or at least late evening, so plan your outdoor activities early and keep the rest for indoors and relaxation like spa and massage. Check out our Top 10 Bali Honeymoon Ideas . Have a romantic and good honeymoon!

Visa for Long Term Stays in Bali and rest of Indonesia

Below are the two types of most common visas for non-professional longer term stays.

You should note that the date of arrival in Indonesia is counted as day one of the permitted stay and the date of departure is also counted as a full day even if the flight leaves just after midnight.

Visa on Arrival

As the name states, this is a visa you can purchase when you arrive in Indonesia at designated entry points by paying US$35. The VOA is a single entry visa good for up to 30 days and can be extended ONLY ONCE for an additional 30 days for another $35. So essentially its $70 visa for a maximum stay of 60 days. You can also apply for this visa before you travel at your respective country’s Indonesian embassy/consulate if you’re not a slacker.

Social/Cultural Visit Visa

For people who want to stay longer than 60 days, a social/cultural visit visa may be your best bet. Commonly used for those overseas coming to study, for research, training programs or to visit family members, the visa allows you to stay for 60 days, but can be extended up to four more times, for a maximum of 180 days total. Applying for this visa takes a little more effort because all good things in life must be earned and you must do it while you’re out of the country.

  • You’ll need:
    • A letter of invitation/sponsorship from
      • an Indonesian citizen
      • a foreigner with a Temporary (ITAS)
      • Permanent (ITAP) Resident permit
    • A photocopy of the sponsor’s ID card (KTP or ITAS /ITAP)
    • A photocopy of the Kartu Keluarga (family card)
    • A copy of your bank statement from the last two weeks, or a letter from the bank stating that the applicant has a sufficient fund
    • Proof of return or onward ticket booked for a date no later than 6 months after your date of entry into Indonesia for the maximum stay
    • Your passport
    • Two passport photos
    • Completed application form which you can get here
    • Visa fee
  • The letter of invitation/sponsorship must include:
    • The full names and addresses of the visitors
    • Visitor’s passport numbers
    • Description of the purpose of the visit
    • Principal addresses during the stay
    • A guarantee that the sponsor will cover all living expenses, transportation costs, and any other costs incurred during the visitor’s time in Indonesia

The validity of the social/cultural visit visa will be three months from the date of issue. If you want to extend this particular visa, you must apply for the extension in the same wilayah (district) as the address stated by your sponsor’s identity card. This means that if the KTP of your sponsor has been issued in Java, you must apply for all extensions in Java and not Bali.

If you do happen to overstay your visa, you will be fined Rp 200,000/day for every day, then deported once you have paid the fine. The maximum fine for overstaying a visa is Rp 25 million and 5 years in jail, so just don’t do it!

Related article:
Tourist Visa Requirements for Indonesia
How to get Indonesia Visa from Singapore
Visa for Bali, Indonesia for Indian tourists
How to get 60 days Visa to Indonesia?

Indonesia Calendar Public Holidays 2016

1st January (Friday) – New Year’s Day
19th January (Monday) – Chinese New Year
9th March (Wednesday) – Nyepi – Balinese New Year
25th March (Friday) – Good Friday
1st May (Sunday) – Labour Day
5th May (Thursday) – Ascension of the Prophet
5th May (Thursday) – Ascension Day of Jesus Christ
22nd May (Sunday) – Waisak / Vesak Day
4-5th July (Monday-Tuesday) – Cuti Bersama – extra holiday by government
6-7th July (Wednesday-Thursday) – Eid al-Fitr / Hari Raya Puasa
8th July (Friday) – Cuti Bersama – extra holiday by government
17th August (Wednesday) – Independence Day
12th September (Monday) – Idul- Adha
2nd October (Sunday) – Muharram / Islamic New Year
12th December (Monday) – Maulidur Rasul
25th December (Sunday) – Christmas Day
26th December (Monday) – Cuti Bersama – extra holiday by government