Indonesia has introduced a new online process that allows foreign nationals who are currently in the country to extend their stay. This move allows residents from other parts of the world and temporary visitors who are unable to leave due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to gain an Indonesia visa extension without first leaving the country.
The Indonesian government made the announcement on July 30, with the application system becoming available from August 3.
The news comes as a relief to the large number of foreign nationals currently in Indonesia, particularly on the island of Bali.
Foreigners have been told to obtain their visa extension for Indonesia or make plans to return to their country of origin before September 20. This date has been extended twice: the “grace period” was initially set to end on August 11, which was later changed to August 20.
The online system now allows foreign nationals in the following categories to apply for a “telex visa” to extend their stay if their previous visa or allotted time in Indonesia has expired:
Under normal circumstances, once a visa has expired, foreign nationals must leave Indonesia. If they wish to return, they must reapply for a visa. This involves first obtaining a “telex visa”—a recommendation letter from the Indonesian Directorate-General, which must be presented at an Indonesian embassy in order to obtain a temporary or permanent stay visa.
Travelers from certain countries are exempt from applying in advance for a visa for tourism, business, and transit and may travel to Indonesia using only their passports. However, these individuals may stay for a maximum of 30 days visa-free. After this, they must leave the country.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has left many foreign nationals unable to leave Indonesia due to closed borders, travel restrictions, and costly quarantine requirements in their home countries.
The initial solution was to issue emergency visas to those whose permits had expired, but this policy has now ended.
The new system allows these groups of people to obtain the “telex visa” online from inside Indonesia and use it to obtain either an ITAS or a Visit Visa (ITK) from an immigration office. This process is referred to as an “Online Onshore Visa Application”.
The good news for those in Bali and other outlying parts of Indonesia is that you do not have to go to Jakarta for a visa extension.
Bali is a popular part of Indonesia for foreign nationals, both as a holiday destination and as a place to live and work. A high number of overseas citizens have been left stranded on the island as a result of the pandemic.
Earlier in the year, in the wake of border closures across the globe, Indonesia granted emergency visas to those foreign nationals in Bali whose visas and permits had expired but were unable to leave the country.
Now it is possible to get a Bali visa extension by completing an Online Onshore Visa Application to obtain a “telex visa”. This must then be taken to a Bali immigration office, where the relevant visa will be issued, avoiding the need to leave the country and go to an embassy.
Normally, the free 30-day visa on arrival for citizens of various countries can be extended to 60 days at certain entry points to the country for a fee.
However, due to the pandemic, those who entered Indonesia with a 30-day visa before the borders were closed will have now overstayed this visa if they have been unable to leave. People in this situation will most likely have been issued with an emergency visa to cover their stay up to now.
While it is not possible to extend the original 30-day visa, the online platform will allow you to apply for a “telex visa”, which can then be used to get a Visit Visa from an immigration office.
Foreign nationals who do not extend their visa for Indonesia before the deadline of September 20 will be fined 1 million rupiah (US$94) each day that they remain in the country without authorization.
For this reason, all foreign nationals are advised to use the online system to extend or reapply for a visa.
Foreigners who have any concerns regarding their legal status in the country or who have encountered difficulties either applying for a visa or returning home should contact an immigration office in Bali, Jakarta, or their nearest major town or city.