Today marks our official one week in Bali and boy! are we happy or are we HAPPY
We have been living the island life for a week now and it has been great so far. We still have plenty of time to spend in Bali and in Indonesia, but I wanted to write a post on the Indonesia Visa On Arrival process when it is all still fresh in my mind (can’t risk giving out wrong information). Before I get into explaining the procedure, I have to say that I have been to Thailand thrice in the last three years and on three different visas, but nothing has been as easier as getting one here in Bali (except for the pathetic Air Asia counter executive who gave us such a hard time at Kolkata airport).
Like seriously, we couldn’t believe we were in and out of the airport so fast – no questions asked. Here are the details on our Indonesia Visa on Arrival procedure (from our personal experience of course; it may or may not be the same for you):
(But, a quick disclaimer first)
Disclaimer: The information in the post is totally and honestly based on my personal experience and it may or may not be the same for you. Kindly check online or even better, call the consulate to get the latest information on visa rules and regulations. Also, I will try and keep the post up to date with the latest information, but I may miss at times. Please, don’t hold it against me.
Step 1: Deciding whether to get a free VOA stamp or paying USD $35 for an extendable Indonesia Visa on Arrival
So, basically, you can either choose to get a free stamp at the airport that allows you 30 days in Indonesia. But, if you think you would like to stay longer than you can pay USD $35 and get a 30 day Visa that can be extended once more for another 30 days (I don’t know how much it costs yet but I would rather wait to update the information once I go through it myself rather than searching online).
We chose the latter (extendable) option.
Special note: I had read online that if you are going to stay for more than a month, you can book your return tickets within the 60 day period (from when you arrive till when your 30day+30day visa runs out), and it looked like it worked for a lot of people. Unfortunately, we had the worst Air Asia Agent ever at Kolkata Airport who actually said: “I don’t care about Indonesia immigration, you need ticket within 30days and that’s it!” So, to be on a safer side, I recommend that you book a refundable/changeable return ticket within 30 days and then change the dates on it when you know better.
Step 2: Getting the USD $30 Indonesia Visa On Arrival
As soon as you arrive at the airport, you can see a couple of small “immigrasi” counters. A small board outside reads: For free stamp, proceed directly to Immigration. At this point, I think you would know if you wanted to do that and if you do, well, you just walk to the counter and get a stamp, I guess! But, I don’t know for sure because we didn’t get this visa. We got the other one.
There is also another placard that states the Visa fee in different currencies – USD, IDR, EUR, HKD, THB and a whole lot of other options. I guess paying in USD is the easiest because other rates keep fluctuating as per increase and decrease in US dollars. You have to get the dollars before you arrive here, so maybe try getting it from India (or wherever you are flying in from).
Also, remember, if you pay more than the exact amount, they will give you the change in INDONESIAN RUPIAH.
Once you give them your passport (to check the validity I suppose) and the fee, they will give you a slip that you have to take to the next counter which is for the paid Indonesia Visa on Arrival.
The actual slip has another one of these, but the immigration officials take it and give this back to you. Hold on to this with your dear life because you will need this for your extension!
Step 3: Getting the Indonesia Visa On Arrival Stamp
One of the best things about getting this type of visa is that the queue is really small – there was only another couple ahead of us and I guess no one after us, so we were in and out of the counter in 5 mins.
They didn’t ask for photos (as most people say they would but maybe they do when you get the free Visa stamp so keep the photos with you – check here for the requirement) or our reservations or even a return ticket!
They only asked how long we want to stay, at which point you can tell them about your intended day of departure but don’t make it even day more than 60 days. We said, “maybe 45 to 50”. They also ask you for the purpose of your travel – I told them I am a travel writer. No more questions.
Yay!! We got our Indonesia Visa on Arrival and were out of the airport in less than 20 minutes.
A couple of extra things here – that we learnt the hard way!
DO NOT book a taxi at the airport if you can walk with your luggage for 5 minutes. That is all it takes to walk out of the airport and away from all the super-expensive cab mafia and you can flag a taxi down (always go with BLUEBIRD – they are the cheapest and the most reliable).
Also, I felt that even though the ATM at the airport did have a higher withdrawal limit than most other smaller ATMs around the island, their transaction fee was maybe a bit higher.
Last but not the least, if you are coming here from India (like we did), please DON’T EXCHANGE currency in the country to USD or anything else. If you have an international debit card, it’s just easier to withdraw here. Plus, you don’t want to be caught in the middle of the massive “money exchange scams” happening everywhere around here (yeah! I know But, even the best of us have flaws).
Have you been to Bali? Which Visa did you take? Did you face any troubles during your stay? Let me know. I would love to hear and learn from it.