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Immigration cracking down on visa runs

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Photo credits: Flickr - Cris Campos

New developments!
An update on this story can be found here

The Indonesian immigration office is making another move in their fight to stop foreigners from working illegally in Indonesia.

A temporary recommendation of the Immigration Service Office of Jakarta has been issued for internal use by the immigration officers in Badung District (the southern part of Bali). The recommendation is valid from October 20, 2015 until December 31, 2015.

Due to a lot of foreigners illegally working in Bali, the Immigration Head Office recommended the immigration officers to follow the instructions stipulating that foreigners who have two visas on arrival or one Social Visa during the past 12 months are not allowed entry in Indonesia again. 

A rough translation of the letter in english:

Instructions----for the Head of Immigration Office Ngurah Rai
About----Raising the level of monitoring (checking) Foreigners in the region of the
Ngurah Rai Immigration Office.

Considering : a. The meeting on 17 October, between Komisi III DPR-RI +
several Tourism Organisations + Bali Police + Ministry of
Law & Human Rights Bali.
b. That in this meeting both the Tourism
Organisations and the Komisi III DPR-RI were complaining
about the lack of Monitoring/Checking of Foreigners and the
increasing number of expats who work illegally in the
Tourism Business in Bali.
c. That to assist and help the Immigration to
monitor/check foreigners (in the field), we need to further
enforce the powers that the Immigration has, like checking
foreigners in traffic and where in Indonesia foreigners are
staying (living).

Remembering : 1. Law number 6 of 2011 about Immigration
2. Government Rules number 31 of 2013 about the rules to
enforce the Law number 6 of 2011 about Immigration
3. Decision of Ministry of Justice and Human Rights Indonesia
in 1995 number M.02.PW.09.02 about "How" to monitor
Foreigners, submit complaints of Foreigners and actions of
4. Directive of General Director how to monitor/check
foreigners and actions of Immigration
5. Directive of General Director How to handle/what to do,
when a foreigner is reported by someone.

Instructions :
To : 1. Department head of monitoring and actions of Immigration.
2. Department head of Arrival and Entry of Immigration.
3. Department head of information and Communication.
4. Department head of Traffic and Immigration Status.

first : To Increase the monitoring and checking of foreigners we need great
effort and support from all departments and parties involved in this.

second : Increase monitoring/checking of all foreigners at the counter of
Immigration, especially for foreigners who within the past year have lived legally in Indonesia for 4 months using a VOA/free tourist-visa/free visit tourist. Except holders of ITAP/ITAS/Diplomatic/service/multiple-entry visa.

Third : increase monitoring/checking of every foreigner who has entered
Indonesia twice in less then 1 year, using a VOA/free tourist-visa/free
visit tourist. except holders of ITAP/ITAS/Diplomatic/service/multiple-entry visa.

Fourth : Increase monitoring/checking foreigners in the field, who work as
waiter/concierge of tours/concierge of businesses/tourguide/scuba
instructor/ or do any other work that could be done by a local.

Fifth : Each foreigner that falls into the above mentioned (point2 and 3)
category is to be denied entry into Indonesia at the Immigration-counter,
because he/she could potentially be working in Indonesia.

Sixth : Each foreigner who does something as mentioned at point 4, is hereby
to be taken into custody and handled administratively, and blacklisted.

seventh : To increase the performance of the Team working outside
(in the field), they may work together with other departments who
also have a task in monitoring/checking foreigners.

Eigth : The department of traffic and immigration status, can only renew a
ITAS/ITAP after the Department of monitoring/checking has verified
that the application to renew is based on the truth

Ninth : Collecting data and information by all departments, to enact an
operation monitoring/checking Immigration-status.

Tenth : All costs related to this Instruction will be paid for by the 2015 annual
budget of the Immigration Office Ngurah Rai.

Eleventh : This Instruction is to be carried out from this date till 31-12-2015.

New developments!
An update on this story can be found here

There are 52 comments

By Jase Ryan | Jun 05 2018 at 23:23

I was falsely reported to the bali police and immigration for leaving a motorcycle at the airport the owner of the bike reported me because he didnt pick bike up from the airport on the agreed date so he was charged for parking fees i paid the man 1.5 million for 2 days hire and additional parking fees for a below average bike then 3 days later he messages me demanding an extra 3 million by this point im in germany getting ready to return to NZ. I wish to move to bali one day but will this effect my journey there?.

By Admin | Jun 05 2018 at 23:26

Probably not, it more seems like a civil issue than a migration law violation.

Do expect these type of events to be not very uncommon..

By Jase Ryan | Jun 05 2018 at 23:33

Thanks for replying so quick this has taken a large weight of me and my defactos shoulders much appreciated

By monyet1990 | Oct 13 2016 at 16:16

I want to enter Bali for the third time within 12 months on a social / cultural visa. Can I expect any problems at the airport immigration? I don't work in Indonesia but I want to stay with my girlfriend from Bali and spent my saving money there.

By Melanie Valdes | Mar 28 2016 at 18:02

By Melanie Valdes | Mar 28 2016 at 18:00

By Melanie Valdes | Mar 28 2016 at 17:58

By saigon kabayan | Nov 10 2015 at 18:23

"Round and round it goes
And oh don't you know
This is the game that we came here for.."
-Spandau Ballet

By Dave | Nov 09 2015 at 09:46

I flew back into Bali Yesterday 08-11-2015 and had no problems at all, this will be my fifth month this year

By Admin | Nov 03 2015 at 00:28

We've published a translation, scroll down to related articles for the link

By Bunga Constantine | Nov 02 2015 at 20:22

Or look at that page.
Thats LEGAL decision about the cancelation.
From La Gazette de Bali page on fb

By Bunga Constantine | Nov 02 2015 at 19:46

The rules been cancelled since 30 October.
I got the pict from immigration Bali which shows the rule been cancelled.
Any one want the pict?
Can message me in facebook Bunga Constantine I will give you the LEGAL letter about the cancelation abt that rule.
I got the proof.

By ActiveCreative | Nov 01 2015 at 17:07

Any further information? My situation is that for 5 years I had Kitas by employement, now I started a PMA but I have not yet got the Kitas...its taken 11months to get the PMA sorted and I was on VOA for all of that....I arrive in 12 days back to Bali. I'm actually very worried. Is there any news that anyone has been stopped? or refuse entry yet?

By Vina | Nov 02 2015 at 13:03

Someone updated us that he was worried on the same situation and changed his flight ticket, entered Indonesia from Jakarta airport two days ago and continued to Bali using domestic flight, he got in without any issue.

By Dave | Nov 01 2015 at 09:24

When I left Bali I asked immigration about the new VOA policy and they did not know what I was talking about and said it would not be a problem coming back in as often as I wanted.

I wonder if this whole document posted is even real, or is it just some dick having a sick laugh at everyones expense?

By ActiveCreative | Nov 01 2015 at 17:16

Oh I hope so....has there been reports of anyone stopped, interrogated or refused entry so far?

By Matt Jan | Oct 31 2015 at 09:57

Im still confused ?
I was told by my notary that as of Thursday gone the Government has backflipped and will not be implemented !
Can anyone please confirm this ??


By Bunga Constantine | Oct 31 2015 at 11:47

Friends of mine went in yesterday (Friday) and no problem.
She also asked about this policy to the immigration worker on Jakarta airport while she were in transit, its still 50-50.
For secure btw, she brought and gave the worker itinerary (her hotel ticket for two weeks in Bali and flight back ticket to Amsterdam)
And they ok as long as you can show that you are in holiday.
Ps. She already got 4 stamps this year

By Dave | Oct 29 2015 at 12:07

Hi, my wife and I have been to Bali twice this year on 60 day Visas, one we got in Amsterdam and after the two months were up we went to Borneo for seven weeks, in Borneo we got another 60 day visa for Indonesia and are in Bali now.
Tomorrow our second two month visa expires and we are flying to Australia for a week, our plan was to fly back into Bali and get the VOA for one month before continuing our trip.
Do you think we will we still still be able to get the VOE or not?

By erik paris | Oct 29 2015 at 08:33

Just to remind you all, eventhough VINA has merely suggested to go thru Jakarta airport, but dont be surprised, if you get caught and forced to get back where you came from by the first available plane . I have seen quiete often French ppl at the embassy in Paris for visa application. They are so arrogant, they dont even care about what they have been told. They think that the embassy has to deliver them visa because they can pay for it eventhouh they have no proper documents. But the situation is completely different when you apply for visa at french embassy in Jakarta and the officers at french borders (CDG). If you really love Bali, why dont you try to follow rules? Get Itas , Kitas or Itap if you have Balinese BF or gf.

By Admin | Oct 29 2015 at 14:13

You can't get those if you have a BF or GF, only if you are married..

By erik paris | Oct 29 2015 at 08:20

If you are clean enough, no worries.But if you just feel "somehow"guilty, Imigration officers will detect it, (of course if he or she has "the 6th sense". So, this measure is to clear up Bali with those illegal workers, or those trying to misuse the visa they got. You "had" already this "comfortable situation, where you can bribe", now you feel scared. I can say about 75 to 90% the so-called "permanent resident" in Bali have no proper visas. If not, that would have never been sooo scary for guys!! :-))

By Bunga Constantine | Oct 28 2015 at 18:14

My bf coming to Indo in 16 November 2015, and he going to spend two months in Indo for travel around Bali and Java with me.
But the fly ticket from Paris to Amsterdam, and after get transit in Jkt first before Bali.
Do you think he will be rejected too, Vina?
He will have transit in Jkt then Bali.
He going to bring bank statement too about his account maybe it helps.

By Admin | Oct 28 2015 at 20:16

I highly doubt any problems, since he will go through immigration in Jakarta

By Johannes ter Bruggen | Oct 28 2015 at 06:01

1. Working on a VOA is not allowed.
2. Working on a Social Budaya is also not allowed.
3. Working in Indonesia for a foreigner without a proper permit is also not allowed.
4. That is not unique, that's for many countries in the world.
5. To prevent that there should be a proper control-system implemented.

Strange thing is that the companies who give these foreigners a job are mostly in de hands of an Indonesian citizin. The question is:"who in this case is the bad guy"?
Another question is why job's are given to foreigners and not to an Indonesian?
Is the answer maybe that the Balinees governement and authoritis promoting to the the young Balinees people to work abroad?
We all know I think that Balinees people are not so in favor of working at all. Proven by the fact that when Idul Fitri is there the whole Balinees economy comes to and hold because most Indonesian workers for sure don't come from Bali.

It's the typical way for Bali to solve, in this case illigal working, to solve the problem with the wrong solution.
One or another under-skilled immigration officer is thinking:"when we limit the entry of foreigners we can control this".

Forgetting that:
1. There are always ways to go around this regulations.
2. Damaging the economy of Bali given the fact that the money for these foreigners comes back into the economy.
3. Many people who come to Bali with the right intentions are victimized now. (foreigners who are married with an Indonesian or foreigners who stay here for a long term holiday trying to escape the winterseason in their own country)

Let's be clear what immigration is trying to do now has no legal base, it's not law. (Undang Undang)
It's only putting the horse behind the wagon by an under-skilled immigration officer.
Indonesia mostly is not even watching the real law's who are in place so this will fade out in short time too.

Don't forget the president of this beautyfull country is trying to promote Indonesia all over the world specially given more visa-free for more countries with his final goal 20 million tourists in some years.

In one or another way Bali immigration is trying to block that with this redicules rulling proven that the wrong man is on the wrong place.

Last but not least......
The final word commes from the immigration-officer on the airport..... I think we all know what that means......

By Admin | Oct 28 2015 at 16:03

So true..

It seems they want to target foreigners working illegally, but instead will hurt a lot of people who stay in Bali long term without actually working there (and in fact pump a lot of money in the local economy).

By erik paris | Oct 29 2015 at 08:38

Dude, you have to differenciate "tourist" eligble for free 30 days visas and those "longstayed" tourists with unclear visas! mostly misused or unappropriate visas.

By Paul Van Der Meer | Oct 27 2015 at 19:30

Hi Vina, My last Visa run was in february 2015 and april 2015. In May 2015 I went back to The Netherlands. I will arrive in Bali on November 28th 2015. Do I facing any issues with Immigration?

By Vina | Oct 28 2015 at 23:09

Hi Paul, I really don't know. But if you haven't spent 4 months in Indonesia on VOAs, I think you have pretty good chance. Otherwise, just land in Jakarta airport and take domestic flight to Bali. They don't apply this instruction in Jakarta. Other recommendation would be to bring proof of income, showing that you really don't come to Bali to work. Good luck!

By Paul Van Der Meer | Oct 29 2015 at 23:14

Ok thanks. Otherwise I will bribe immigration ;-)

By erik paris | Oct 29 2015 at 08:51

Hi Paul, it s better to ask Indonesian embassy in the hague. If Vina is one of immigration officers, she has to tell you the thruth. Better to get infos from the 1st hand, right?

By Bursting Through | Oct 27 2015 at 15:50

Ok Vina/Admin so do you think I will be safe if I come into Bali on a tourist visa obtained from Indo embassy abroad, show my marriage certificate coming through Immigration and inform of my intent to renew my marriage visa whilst in Bali (I've had marriage kitap before but didn't renew it). I need to actually be here in Bali to do it (I would need to go to Singaraja) so surely they wouldn't deny my right to be with my local husband?

By Vina | Oct 27 2015 at 18:30

Yes, I am sure you'll be good. If they do stop you from entering, be bold enough to ask them for their legal basis. A law should be announced publicly before taking effect. The said law will be effective nation-wide in January 2016. Everyone heard about it already. This instruction in Bali airport is not law, only internal instruction and they don't have the legal basis to enforce it to anyone at the moment.

PS: Please later update us on what happen when you go through.

By Admin | Oct 27 2015 at 13:01

The letter mentions VOA and free visas. It doesn't mention the visas you can obtain from indonesian embasies abroad. Those are tourist visas, valid for 30 or 60 days, and will cost some money. They usually take 2 days to processs (day 1 you give your passport at embassy, day 2 you pick it up).

I would suggest anyone with too many VOA stamps to acquire one of those..

By Ayu Mutiara Sari | Oct 27 2015 at 11:57

if anyone wants to consult further I have friend who that are familiar with thanks

By Made Craig McLeod | Oct 27 2015 at 11:33

this law will enable Immigration to play games, example, no you cannot come in......unless...........

By erik paris | Oct 29 2015 at 08:54

Why are you so pessimist Made with your immigration officers? Ok they did wrong before.

By Bursting Through | Oct 27 2015 at 10:31

Vina or Admin can you please comment- I'm officially married to a Balinese man however need to return to Bali mid-November on either a social or tourist visa. I've already reached the quota for visas however. If I present a copy of my marriage certificate at Immigration counter would they let me through? Thankyou.

By Vina | Oct 27 2015 at 12:26

I am pretty sure it's only a trial to test the water in Bali before they implement the national law on 2016 (or not) depending on the outcome here. The main objective of this instruction is clearly to reduce the number of illegal workers in Bali. Presenting your marriage certificate should help and if they insist, you have to be brave and ask for their legal base of not letting you in (if that happens) since the new (real) law will be effective by January 2016. This instruction, from a legal perspective, is not yet a law. They will most likely do this as a soft warning and not actually catch/deport anyone yet.

In my experience being Indonesian my whole life, our govt usually apply "grace period" in the first few months of a new reg/law being implemented. Other safer option would be just to land in other airport (like Jakarta, Yogyakarta, or Lombok) and continue to Bali by domestic flight. This instruction is released by the immigration head in Bali and only applied locally, not nation-wide. Good luck!

By Admin | Oct 27 2015 at 13:23

Lombok airport doesn't do VOA. You would have to arrive in one of these airports:

Jakarta, Soekarno Hatta International Airport (CGK).
Medan, Kualanamu International Airport (KNO).
Surabaya, Juanda International Airport (SUB).
Batam, Hang Nadim International Airport (BTH).

By Vina | Oct 27 2015 at 14:11

I stand corrected. Thank you for clarifying on the other airports.

By Maree Mackenzie | Oct 27 2015 at 07:26

Hey Carolyn, if what they are saying is correct, your daughter won't be allowed in as she would have had 2 or more VOA in her passport in one year! It is crazy :( Please check more, as I read it is has nothing to do with length of stay each time, its just about the amount of visa's in the passport! All the best x

By Carolyn O'Neill | Oct 27 2015 at 03:34

My daughter has been for 2 week holiday earlier this year, she is going for 10 day holiday in novemeber and then another 10 days in january. I am guessing this does not effect her as she is not living there for 4 months. Am I right?

By Vina | Oct 27 2015 at 12:30

I am guessing the same. The immigration should be able to see a real tourist coming for short visits and a foreigner living in Bali for the past one year with VOAs and visa runs. Better bring work or income statement to show that your daughter is employed in her country and has no intention of working (illegally) in Bali. It might not be needed, but just in case. Other option would be just to land in Jakarta and continue to Bali by domestic flight. This instruction is only applied locally in Bali.

By Tracy Dale | Oct 27 2015 at 00:26

So im here for third time this year only stay 10 days usually but have already bought tickets for feb to bring my 5 kids for a 10 day holiday will this affect me?

By Vina | Oct 26 2015 at 19:16

Since this instruction is applied in Bali airport only at the moment, please take safer option and land in other airport, like Jakarta, and take domestic flight to Bali afterward. Later you should try to get business visa, if you know any friends who own a company and can sponsor you. Other option is probably to get married to get legal ITAS (KITAS). Sorry about that....

By Admin | Oct 26 2015 at 21:27

Also it seems the whole measure is aimed at foreigners working in low-level positions (work that can be done by locals).

I would guess (hope..) that if you can show them proof of income or assets overseas you can take away their fear of you being one of those workers. It will probably depend on the official in question if they let you pass or not.. Hukum karet

By Ginger Lyly | Oct 27 2015 at 03:54

Thanks so much Vina !! perhaps i make like this ,i change my ticket to Jakarta ,take a tourist visa in Jakarta and later make business visa ..I have friends can sponsor me..but business Visa i don't want make business in Bali

By Vina | Oct 27 2015 at 09:57

Good luck!!

By Ginger Lyly | Oct 26 2015 at 18:07

I have my ticket to arrive in Bali on the 31 October. I'm french from Paris and my boy friend is indonesian. We are in Paris now for holidays..i live with my boy friend in Bali. Im 54 years old ,and i have visa social last's mean i'm allowed entire in Indonesia ? my life is in Bali.; i have house with my boy friend,dog..i'm not working in Bali!!

By Vina | Oct 26 2015 at 17:10

It's the instruction from the head of immigration office in Bali to all immigration staff at Ngurah Rai airport. This Instruction is to be carried out from 20-10-2015 till 31-12-2015. That means, it's already implemented today.

By Tim H Ressom | Oct 26 2015 at 16:55

So does this mean it has been implemented or it's simply a recommendation that has been submitted for approval or rejection?

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