The visa situation in Indonesia seems to be constantly in flux. It is essential that you confirm current formalities before you arrive in Bali or Lombok. Failure to meet all the entrance requirements can see you on the first flight out.
No matter what type of visa you are going to use, your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival.
The main visa options for visitors to Bali and Lombok follow:
Visa in Advance – citizens of countries not eligible for Visa Free or Visa on Arrival must apply for a visa before they arrive in Indonesia. Typically this is a visitors visa, which comes in two flavours: 30 or 60 days. Details vary by country, so you should contact the nearest Indonesian embassy or consulate in order to determine processing fees and time. Note: this is the only way people from any country can obtain a 60-day visitor visa.
Visa on Arrival – citizens of over 50 countries may apply for a visa when they arrive at the airport in Bali. There are special lanes for this at immigration in the arrivals area. The cost is US$25, collectable on the spot. It’s easiest to hand them the exact amount in US currency. This visa is only good for 30 days and cannot be extended. Note that only EU citizens who carry passports issued by the countries listed below can use visa on arrival. You can also obtain a seven-day visa this way for US$10, but go with the 30-day one unless you know for sure you’ll be out of Indonesia in less than seven days. Eligible countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, The Netherlands, UK and the USA.
Visa Free – citizens of Singapore and a smattering of other countries can receive a nonextendable 30-day visa for free upon arrival.
Whichever type of visa you use to enter Bali or Lombok, you’ll be issued with a tourist card that is valid for a 30- or 60-day stay according to your visa (if you have obtained one of the coveted 60-day visas in advance, be sure the immigration official at the airport gives you a 60-day card). Keep the tourist card with your passport, as you’ll have to hand it back when you leave the country. Note that some travellers have been fined for overstaying by only a day or so (officially it is US$20 per day for up to 60 days past your visa, after which it can mean jail) or for losing their tourist card.
The vast majority of visitors to Lombok first pass through Bali or another Indonesian city such as Jakarta so they already have tourist cards. There are, however, a few direct flights to Lombok from other countries so in these instances the same visa rules outlined above apply.
Officially, an onward/return ticket is a requirement for a tourist card (and visitors visa), and visitors are frequently asked to show their ticket on arrival. If you look scruffy or broke, you may also be asked to present evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay – US$1000 in cash or travellers cheques (or the equivalent in other currencies) should be sufficient.
It’s not possible to extend a tourist card unless there’s a medical emergency or you have to answer legal charges. If you want to spend more time in Indonesia, you have to leave the country and then re-enter – some long-term foreign residents have been doing this for years. Singapore is the destination of choice for obtaining a new visa on the ‘visa run’.
There are two main kantor imigrasi (immigration offices) in Bali. The Denpasar office (0361-227828; 8am-2pm Mon-Thu, 8am-11am Fri, 8am-noon Sat) is just up the street from the main post office in Renon. The airport immigration office (0361-751038) has similar hours.
On Lombok, the immigration office (632520; Jl Udayana 2; 7am-2pm Mon-Thu, 7am-11am Fri, 7am-12.30am Sat) is in Mataram. If you have to apply for changes to your visa, make sure you’re neatly dressed, but don’t be overly optimistic.
For visa advice and service, many expats in South Bali use the services of
Bali Mode (0361-765162; www.balimode-biz.com). Visa extensions (on legally extendable visas) average 400,000Rp to 500,000Rp.
If you have a good reason for staying longer (eg study or family reasons), you can apply for a sosial/budaya (social/cultural) visa. You will need an application form from an Indonesian embassy or consulate, and a letter of introduction or promise of sponsorship from a reputable person or school in Indonesia. It’s initially valid for three months, but it can be extended for one month at a time at an immigration office within Indonesia for a maximum of six months. There are fees for the application and for extending the visa too.
EMBASSIES & CONSULATES
Embassies & Consulates in Indonesia
Foreign embassies are in Jakarta, the national capital. Most of the foreign representatives in Bali are consular agents (or honorary consuls) who can’t offer the same services as a full consulate or embassy but can at least assist you in figuring out where to go. For some, this means a trek to Jakarta in the event of a lost passport.
The US, Australia and Japan (visitors from these countries together make up half of all visitors) have formal consulates in Bali. Unless noted, the following offices are open from about 8.30am to noon, Monday to Friday. All telephone area codes are 0361.
Australia (241118; www.dfat.gov.au/bali; Jalan Tantular 32, Denpasar; 8am-noon, 12.30-4pm Mon-Fri) The Australian consulate has a consular sharing agreement with Canada, and may also be able to help citizens of New Zealand, Ireland and Papua New Guinea.
Most nations have an embassy in Jakarta (telephone area code 021), including the following:
Australia (2550 5555; www.indonesia.embassy.gov.au; Jl Rasuna Said Kav 15-16)
Canada (2550 7800; www.international.gc.ca/asia/jakarta; World Trade Centre, 6th fl, Jl Jend Sudirman Kav 29-31)
France (2355 7600; Jl MH Thamrin 20)
Germany (3985 5000; Jl MH Thamrin 1)
Japan (3192 4308; Jl MH Thamrin 24)
Netherlands (524 8200; Jl HR Rasuna Said Kav S-3)
New Zealand (570 9460; BRI II Bldg, 23rd fl, Jl Jend Sudirman Kav 44-46)
UK (315 6264; www.britain-in-indonesia.or.id; Jl. M.H. Thamrin 75)