Indonesia changes discretely its visa regulation
On January 26th, Indonesia discreetly changed its visa policy for citizens of countries eligible for a visa-on-arrival (VOA). Instead of having a choice for two types of visa – 7 days for 10 US$ or 30 days for 25 US$-, travelers will have only the possibility to apply for a 30 days-visa. However, the new policy stipulates that travelers will also be able to get a visa extension for another 30-days.The new regulation has been largely welcomed by the tourism industry as it allows now visitors to stay longer and visit more of the world’s largest archipelago. The new regulation has also been implemented to better control eventual leaks when collecting revenues from immigration authorities. It has been reported that some immigration officer, while issuing 7-day visas, were asking travelers to pay for a 30-day visa. Confusion for tourists are now definitely over.
However, the compulsory 30-days visa for all tourists coming from the 64 countries eligible for VOA procedure, might affect tourism to typical city-break destinations such as Jakarta, Bintan and Batam Islands near Singapore and partially North Sumatra, a favorite for a three to four days retreat at Lake Toba. Bintan and Batam fear especially to lose their appeal to expatriates living in Singapore as they will have now to fetch systematically US$ 25. The Ministry of Tourism recognises the difficult situation for both islands and has already promised to discuss with the service of immigrations at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry and look for a solution…