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Indonesia suspends visa-free policy, travelers to Bali now have to pay

Indonesia suspends visa-free policy, travelers to Bali now have to pay post thumbnail image
Morning sun in Bali
File photo: The morning sun over a beach in Bali
BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images

Indonesia has scrapped its visa-free policy for over 100 countries including the United Kingdom.

Over the years, Indonesia has established itself as one of the most popular destinations across the globe, mostly because of its affordable options and visa-free entry.

Why has Indonesia suspended visa-free services?

Indonesia has now suspended its visa-free services for 159 countries and the decision was taken by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, reported the Bali Times. The report stated that the main reasons behind the suspension are the concerns regarding public order disruptions and the potential transmission of diseases from countries that aren’t certified as disease-free by the World Health Organization (WHO).

However, it is understood that the decision to halt visa-free services for 159 countries is temporary.

The affected nations were previously counted in the group of 169 countries eligible for visa-free visits, as outlined in Presidential Regulation Number 21 of 2016, along with 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations.

The only countries exempted from this rule are those 10 nations from the ASEAN, ie Brunei, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

Travelers from the ASEAN region can stay in Indonesia for 30 days straight, with just a valid passport and a confirmed return flight ticket.

Out of the 159 countries that now need a visa to enter Indonesia, only 92 are eligible for a visa on arrival, including the UK, and it can be obtained for £27 (500,000 Indonesian rupiah). Speaking specifically of the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, you can pay the visa fee in American dollars, British pounds, Australian dollars, Euros, etc, but if a person does not have the exact change, they’ll receive the balance amount in Indonesian rupiahs.

Tourists from the 92 nations can also apply for an e-visa before their arrival on the Indonesian immigration website.

The remaining countries from the group of 159 need to apply for a visa in advance at an Indonesian embassy or consulate.

Hefty fine for staying beyond visa

To extend their stay, visitors can choose from the types of immigration visas that Indonesia offers, such as e-VOA (Electronic Visa on Arrival), Visit Visa or Limited Stay Visa.

Meanwhile, visitors who overstay without the proper permissions can be held in detention or reduced permission to leave the country until a fine of 1 million Indonesian rupiah (£53) per day is paid. If a person has overstayed their visa for less than 60 days, they must pay their fine at the airport. After 60 days, they will be detained until the fine is paid.

Every month, Indonesia attracts thousands of travelers from around the world, regardless of the season, thanks to its lush green rice fields, pristine beaches, volcanic mountains, nightlife, waterfalls, and its culture. From honeymooning in Bali or exploring the locales of Jakarta and Yogyakarta, the archipelago has a lot to offer.

In addition, Indonesia also offers digital nomad visas for remote workers looking to stay in Bali. Previously, the Southeast Asian country had also announced plans to launch a golden visa program for those who wanted to invest in the country through property ownership.

Like several other beach destinations, Indonesia, especially its gorgeous island Bali, has struggled with overtourism, yet it has maintained its quality and continues to thrive among the Southeast Asian countries.

One of the steps Bali is working on to protect its locales from more nuisance is to ban foreign travelers from riding a scooter or motorbike on the island. The proposed ban will mean tourists caught breaking the rules will be slapped with hefty fines – and may even be deported from Indonesia altogether.

The tires are expected to come into effect sometime later this year. The suggested scooter ban is set to be implied since the island constantly witnesses accidents because of unruly driving by foreigners, who keep violating traffic laws time and again.

Check the full list of 159 countries suspended from free visa services: HERE.

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