If you are coming to Indonesia on a Visa-on-arrival procedure, you have no choice but to travel out and back in to Indonesia to re-new your visa. This usually after 3 days (USD 10) or maximum 30 days (USD 25), depending on how long a visa you paid your US Dollars for.
Visa on-arrival or extendable visa?
That’s something similar I used to do when still living in Phuket/Thailand. Every month you just travel to one of the surrounding countries, cross the border, the officers at the checkpoint stamp you out, you enjoy a few hours in Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia or Laos – and back you travel to Thailand. New stamp, new visa. Now it’s a bit more difficult, as Thailand recently changed their visa regulations.
But back to Indonesia – if you want to spend some longer time here, traveling in and out isn’t really an option. Except you live somewhere close to the neighboring countries. Indonesia is just too big to just travel out for a short while. And it’s definitely more expensive, as you mainly need a return flight. If you have friends in Singapore to fly to once in a while or live in the northern Riau Island like Batam or Bintan, it might be okay – but we are talking Bali here. Right in the middle of the 17.000 indonesian islands, thousands of kilometres and about 2 hours of flight away from the next country.
So you probably came here anyway on a different kind of visa. That is (if you don’t work in Indonesia) mainly a Social Visit Visa, or Sosial Budaya, as it’s called here. The work visa is called KITAS or KITAP, depending if you are employer or being employed.
Application outside of Indonesia
You can apply for this kind of visa for instance at the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore (which is rumored to be the fastest and most effective one in Asia) or any other embassy or consulate back in your home country. The process at the embassy will take you 3 days and you will end up with a Visa (single- or multi-entry, again depending how much you spent), which is valid for 2 month and allows up to 4 renewals or extension within Indonesia. You will need a formal indonesian sponsor.
The first 2 months of this visa are obviously the most convenient ones, as you have 60 days in a row, where you don’t have to worry about visa problems. When the expiry date of your 2 months closes in, panic usually is setting in. 8-/
So, how to extend that thing? Cost me how much?
You have basically 2 options, to get your visa extended for another month:
- pay a Visa Agency to do all the paper work for you
- D.I.Y. – meaning, to deal with the Indonesia bureaucracy yourself
Option 1 is usually done by handing over your passport, some passport pictures and the amount of 400.000-600.000 Rupiah to an agent, who is doing all the paperwork and trip to the immigration offices for you. Those agencies are to be found all over Bali and are usually reliable (according to the expats I spoke to). Some even keep your passport the whole time or until you really have to leave the country for a re-newal or other trip.
If you don’t have that much money to spend (just imagine that you could buy about 16 to 32 large beer Bintang for the amount you could save) and if you have more time than money – why not go the extra mile and get your extension yourself for about 200.000 Rupiah only?
All you have to do is to show up at one of the 2 immigration offices in Bali (one is located directly at the Airport bypass, the other in a nice Balinese-style building in Jl. Panjaitan in Denpasar) and fill out the paper forms which will be thrown at you.
Actually it’s not that difficult: all officers speak english well enough, the forms are self-explaining and consist mainly of information from your passport and your sponsor in the first place. Fill them out, copy your passport (personals page and stamp/visa page) and hand it over to one of the officers. Voila! You can be out there in 10-15 minutes!
You have to come back usually twice: one time to ‘learn’, that your visa extension is approved and that *now* is the right time for you to hand-over the above mentioned 200.000 Rupiah. That is usually a matter of 2 minutes and you are out again. Then you have to come back the next day to pick up your stamped/extended passport.
Your time or your money!
That’s all! The only letdown is, that you are now only free for another 2 weeks, before starting the whole procedure again; as the time between 1st visit and pickup is about 1 week and you are supposed to go there again about 1 week before the expiry date.
3 days will do as well, as I just figured out last month. Nobody complained about it.
So, it’s really more a matter of time or money. What have you got? Do you want more independent traveling around the country without having to worry about passport matters? Either do it at the start of your Visa period (2 months in a row) or ask a Visa agency to help you get separated from your passport (and some more money). Either way – it’s still cheaper than flying or traveling in and out of the country every months to re-new and pay your visa “on-arrival”.
So it’s all up to your preference.
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