Arrival procedures at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are straightforward, although it can take some time for planeloads of visitors to clear immigration; afternoons are typically worst.

At baggage claim, porters are keen to help get your luggage to the customs tables and beyond, and they've been known to ask up to US$20 for their services – if you want help with your bags, agree on a price beforehand. The formal price is 10,000Rp per piece. Luggage carts are always free.

Once through customs, you're out with the tour operators, touts and taxi drivers. Ignore the touts as they offer no service of value, except to themselves.

Customs Regulations

Indonesia's list of prohibited imports includes drugs, weapons, fresh fruit and anything remotely pornographic. Items allowed include the following:

  • 200 cigarettes (or 50 cigars or 100g of tobacco)
  • a 'reasonable amount' of perfume
  • 1L of alcohol

Surfers with more than two or three boards may be charged a fee, and this can apply to other items if the officials suspect that you intend to sell them in Indonesia.

There is no restriction on foreign currency, but the import or export of rupiah is limited to 5,000,000Rp. Greater amounts must be declared.

Passports

Your passport must be valid for six months after your date of arrival in Indonesia. Before passing through immigration you may fill out a disembarkation card, half of which you must keep to give to immigration when you leave the country.

Visas

Visas are easily obtained but can be a hassle if you hope to stay longer than 30 days.

Renewing Your Visa

You can renew a 30-day Visa on Arrival once (but not a Visa Free). The procedures are complex:

  • At least seven days before your visa expires, go to an immigration office. These can usually be found in larger cities and regional capitals. The best one for south Bali is the immigrasi office near Jimbaran.
  • Bring your passport, a photocopy of your passport and a copy of your ticket out of Indonesia (which should be for a date during the renewal period).
  • Wear modest clothes (eg men may be required to wear long pants).
  • Pay a fee of 355,000Rp.
  • You may have to return to the office twice over a three- to five-day period for fingerprinting, photos and other procedures.

One way to avoid the renewal hassle is to use a visa agent such as ChannelOne on Bali, who (for a fee) will do most of the bureaucratic work for you.

Fines for overstaying your visa expiration date are 300,000Rp per day and include additional hassles.

Social Visas

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.

Visa Types

The three main visas types for visitors:

Visa in Advance Visitors can apply for a visa before they arrive in Indonesia. Typically this is a visitor’s visa, which is valid for 30 or 60 days. Details vary by country; contact your nearest Indonesian embassy or consulate to determine processing fees and times. Note: this is the only way to obtain a 60-day visitor visa, even if you qualify for Visa on Arrival (VOA).

Visa on Arrival Citizens of most countries may apply for a 30-day visa when they arrive at major airports and harbours. The cost is 528,000Rp, payable by cash (no coins) or credit card; other currencies are accepted in amounts equivalent to the fee in Rp. VOA renewals for 30 days are possible.

Visa Free Citizens of most countries can receive a 30-day visa for free upon arrival. But note that this visa cannot be extended.

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 tourist card.

For further info on Indonesia’s visa situation, contact an Indonesian embassy.