When it comes to traveling arranging visas and finding out if you need a visa can be quite a hassle, it sure is to us traveling as a couple with two different nationalities. However, it doesn’t have to be, at least not for Indonesia. The Indonesian government has tried to make the visa process a lot easier and currently even provides visa exempt entry for 30 days for a 169 nationalities. But if you want to stay longer than 30 days then things might get a bit more complicated. So, to make it a bit easier for you we have tried to create the ultimate Bali visa guide in which we will try to help you decide which visa will work best for you!
After we have discussed some of the basic information on Indonesian visa options we will discuss one visa option in detail: The Visa on Arrival. The Visa on Arrival, contrary to the 30 day visa exempt option, can actually be extended and allows visitors off roughly 60 countries to stay for a period of up to 60 days. As the process of obtaining and extending the Visa on Arrival can be a bit confusing we will discuss this, and some frequently asked questions on the Visa on Arrival below. So without further ado, keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about visas for Indonesia, or if you have already obtained the Visa on Arrival skip straight ahead to the FAQs and the Visa on Arrival extension process!
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Before you book your flight to Bali
Before we start with the exact process of extending your visa, and some of the most frequently asked questions about extending your visa, we thought it would be best to get into some basics first before you actually board your flight to Indonesia. The last thing you want is to have your backpacks packed, be standing at the checkin desk only to realise that you have forgotten something. So without further ado, here are some of the most important things to know before booking your flight to Bali.
One of the most important things, and we honestly can’t stress this enough, is that visa policies are ever-changing. So before you book that flight check the visa policies that apply to your specific nationality, and be sure to check the current passport requirements as well (passport validity and how many empty pages are needed for example). Now, one or two weeks before boarding that flight check if that visa policy is still standing, you don’t want to be caught of guard or even worse, not be allowed on the flight because of the changes that might have occurred in this period. While we go a bit further into detail about what types of visas there are for traveling to Bali below, here are some websites that are updated quite regularly that you might want to check out:
Proof of return or onward ticket
So now that you know what visa will work best for your nationality, let’s discuss another important point before booking that flight to Bali: the need to have a return or onward ticket. It is becoming more and more a standard nowadays that the airline you will use to get to Bali will ask you to provide proof of either a return ticket or an onward ticket, a ticket that complies with the Indonesia visa policy that applies to your nationality, without it they will be very reluctant to let you board your flight. Now, not every airline will follow this rule as there have been times that we had to provide proof of onward travel and there have been times that we simply didn’t, it’s a hit or miss kind of situation so to say.
Count The Days
Last, but definitely not least on the list of things to know before booking that flight to Bali, is to count the days of your stay. Depending on the visa policy that applies to your nationality you will often be allowed to stay 30 days, or with an extension for some nationalities, 60 days. The day that you arrive in Bali will count as day 1, even if you arrive 5 minutes before midnight. The same rules apply for the day of your departure and even half an hour after midnight will be counted as another full day. Be sure to double check the amount of days you are staying in Indonesia by counting them exactly, as overstaying your visa is extremely expensive in Indonesia, but more on that below.
Types of Visas
After reading all about visa policy, return flights and counting the days of your stay we quickly wanted to go over the three most common types of visas for travellers. What type of visa you will have to apply for, or simply have to obtain at the airport, depends on not only your nationality but also on how long you are planning to stay in Bali. We have quickly listed some of the main key points that might help you decide what visa will work best for you:
One of the most popular visas currently is the Visa Exemption. Technically, the Visa Exemption is not a visa, it is a stamp in your passport that you obtain when you pass through immigration at one of the qualifying airports in Indonesia. Here are the main things you should know about the Visa Exemption:
- The Visa Exemption is completely free.
- At the moment citizens from a 169 countries are able to get a Visa Exemption upon arrival in Indonesia. Check to see if you can get a Visa Exemption by checking the full list of countries here.
- With a Visa Exemption you are allowed to stay in the country for up to 30 days.
- If you enter the country with a Visa Exemption you will not be able to extend your stay.
Visa on Arrival
If you want to stay longer than 30 days in Indonesia you might want to check if you are eligible for a voluntary Visa on Arrival. A Visa on Arrival is obtained at the airport before you pass through immigration. These are some of the main things you should know about obtaining a Visa on Arrival (VoA):
- The Visa on Arrival costs US$35.
- At the moment citizens from 62 countries are eligible to get a Visa on Arrival. You can check to see if you can get a Visa on Arrival by checking the list of countries here.
- When you obtain a voluntary Visa on Arrival you will be allowed to stay in Indonesia for up to 30 days.
- The Visa on Arrival can be extended once with an extra 30 days, allowing you to stay for a total of up to 60 days. We discuss how to extent this visa, and some of the FAQs further on in this post.
Visit Visa (B-211)
While the rest of this post will solely focus on the Visa on Arrival and how to extend the Visa on Arrival we quickly wanted to discuss the Visit Visa, also known as a B-211 Visa, as well. The Visit Visa is a visa that is obtained at an embassy or consulate outside of Indonesia. In general you would apply for a Visit Visa if either your nationality does not allow you to get a visa exemption/visa on arrival as described above, or if you would want to stay longer than 30/60 days in Indonesia. Here are some of the main things you should know about a Visit Visa:
- The cost of a Visit Visa is about US$50.
- Not every nationality can apply for a Visit Visa, there is a select group of nationalities (currently 9) that are known as Calling Visa Countries, these countries will need to get authorisation from the Indonesian Immigration before they can apply for a visa.
- The Visit Visa is a single entry visa and a stay of up to 60 days can be granted (some embassies only give 30 days to their applicants).
- The Visit Visa can be extended up to four times, with each extension giving you an extra 30 days. However, the extension process differs from the described extension process in this post as a sponsor, and a couple of other things, will be needed for every single extension.
Now, these are just some of the main things to know about the Visit Visa, and as the rest of the post focuses on the Visa on Arrival we will not get into further details. So, if you are thinking of applying for a Visit Visa we would highly recommend checking out the website of the embassy or consulate that you want to apply at. They will have the most up to date information and will be able to provide you with further details such as for which visit visa to apply, what the requirements are and what documents you will need.
How to get a Visa on Arrival at the Ngurah Rai International Airport
Now that you know a bit more about the different types of visas the rest of this post will focus solely on the Visa on Arrival, not only on how to obtain it but also on how to extent it. Obtaining the Visa on Arrival at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali is a quick and easy process and requires no preparation.
Once you arrive at the airport simply follow the signs to immigration and look for the signs that state Visa on Arrival, or VoA. You will find a small counter in the middle of the arrival hall, situated before the actual immigration checkpoints. When you have found the Visa on Arrival counter simply hand over your passport with US$35 cash (or one of the other 15 currencies such as IDR, AUD and EUR) and state that you want to obtain a VoA. You might get asked to provide a return or onward ticket as well, just like with airlines this is a hit and miss kind of situation so to say.
After you have obtained your Visa on Arrival be sure to queue at the immigration lines on the right hand side of the arrival hall as there is a separate, and much shorter line (yay!), for people who have obtained a VoA. Now it is time to enjoy your travels in Bali until it is time to extend your visa!
Just a quick reminder: don’t forget that there are only 62 nationalities that will be able to get a VoA! So be sure to check the websites mentioned in the VoA section above, or to check out the website of the embassy in your home country for the latest information.
What if I obtained a Visa Exemption instead of a Visa on Arrival?
If you are already in Bali and only realising now that you should have obtained a Visa on Arrival instead of a Visa Exemption then there is only one option left: a visa run. For a visa run you will have to leave Indonesia (a great opportunity to explore another destination, yay!), so that upon returning you can either get another Visa Exemption or obtain a Visa on Arrival, depending on your nationality of course.
Many people choose to go to Singapore as this is the cheapest destination to fly to from many destinations in Indonesia. However, be aware that there are rumours that Singapore is getting more and more strict when it comes to visa runs, especially those who are planning on returning to Indonesia the same day, with stories going as far as deporting people out of Singapore, which would be less than ideal. So perhaps extend your stay in Singapore for a couple of days and explore all that it has to offer to avoid any issues, perhaps even enjoy a drink or two at one of the many rooftop bars!
Visa Agent vs. Extending it Independently
There are two ways to extend your visa in Bali, you can either do it yourself, or you can use an agent. We have always done our visa extensions ourselves, but there many people that prefer to use a visa agent instead, we’ll list some of the most important pro’s and con’s below so you can decide what will work best for you.
Option 1: Use a Visa Agent
Your first option would be to use a visa agent. Visa agents are very common in Bali and you will be able to find them in almost every city or town you’ll visit, especially the more touristic towns. A visa agent will take care of the papers, the application and the pick up of your passport for you. Here are the main reasons many people will use a visa agent:
- Using a visa agent means a lot less hassle as they will take care of almost everything. A visa agent will tell you exactly what to do, when to do it and how to do it making the process a whole lot easier.
- Instead of three trips to the visa office you now will only have to go once. The visa agent will take care of the first and third visit, the second visit you will have to attend yourself as photos and fingerprints will be taken.
- A visa agent will take care of the paper work for you, no need for preparations, you just have to make sure you start the process in time.
All of this must sound very appealing by now, however, there are definitely some things you should take into consideration before stepping into a visa agents office. You will find many reviews online about lack of communication from visa agents, overpriced service fees, delays causing issues with travel plans and more. As you will be handing over your passport, it is important to find someone you will fully trust.
Oh and don’t forget that you will be paying a service fee on top of the visa extension fee, which can make this a bit expensive for those who are on a budget. In the end we weighed the pros and cons for us and decided to just do the visa extension ourselves, which brings us to option 2…
Option 2: Do the Visa Extension Process Independently
As we were curious how difficult the visa extension process really is we decided to do the extension independently. While it does take three visits, we ended up finding the process rather easy and straightforward (as long as you come prepared). These are the reasons why we decided to do the visa extension process ourselves, and why you might decide to too:
- You don’t have to wait for a call or text from your visa agent to let you know what is currently happening, you will know exactly where you passport is and when you will have to go for your next visit making it a lot easier to plan your travels.
- It is a lot more affordable as you won’t be paying a service fee.
In the end the process might be a bit tedious, but as we were planning on traveling to Indonesia for a longer period in the future we thought it would be best to just learn how to do the visa extension ourselves so we wouldn’t have to rely on visa agents in the future. If this is the option you have decided to go for as well, keep on reading as we will answer some of the most important FAQs and the full details of the visa extension process below.
Extending your Visa on Arrival in Bali – Important Information
Before we will explain the process of extending your Visa on Arrival in Bali we thought it would be easiest if we discuss some of the frequently asked questions, including some questions we had ourselves before our first visa extension. The info below will hopefully help to fully prepare you for extending your visa so that you can enjoy your travels in Bali worry free. Should you have any other questions though, just ask them in the comment section down below and we will do our best to answer them!
How long will it take to extend my visa in Bali?
Extending your VoA in Bali independently will take you a total of three visits that are spread over a period of 5 – 10 working days. Here is a quick overview of the visits you’ll have to make:
- First visit: Apply for your visa extension
- Second Visit: Get photos and fingerprints taken
- Third Visit: Pick up your passport
Just know that these days are not consecutively, with holidays and weekends causing even longer delays between your visits. For example, on our last visa extension we applied for our visa and filled in the forms on Monday, but did not get our fingerprints and photos taken till Friday due to the office being closed for the Christmas Holidays. Then, our third visit was scheduled for the next Thursday, so taking a total of 10 days to complete the whole visa extension process.
When should I start the visa extension process?
While you should make sure you don’t try to extend your visa too late, you should also avoid trying to extend it too early. If you start earlier than two weeks before your VoA expires then the immigration officers might tell you to come back on a later day. We normally start our visa extensions roughly 14 to 7 days before our visa on arrival expires to be sure we have started the process on time as the last thing you would want to do is to overstay your visa.
What happens if I overstay my visa?
While overstaying was already quite expensive in Indonesia, it has become insanely expensive as of May 2019, a bill you definitely don’t want to receive at the end of your vacation. Overstaying your visa will currently cost you IDR 1,000,000 for every single day you have overstayed, even if it is 10 minutes after midnight.
How much does it cost to extend my visa in Bali?
Extend your Visa on Arrival will cost you exactly IDR 500,000 which is about US$35 if you do it independently. If you are using a visa agent expect to pay a bit more for the service that they will provide. The Visa on Arrival itself also costs about US$35, adding up to approximately US$70 (depending on the exchange rates) total for your stay if you extend your visa yourself.
Where can I extend my visa in Bali?
There are currently three offices where you can extend your visa in Bali. The office where you will have to extend your visa depends on the location of your hotel or guesthouse. Contrary to what we believed you cannot pick the office yourself, instead offices are assigned certain working areas. These are the current immigration offices in Bali:
- The Denpasar Office
- The Ngurah Rai Office, also known as the Jimbaran or Nusa Dua Office
- The Singaraja Office
We personally have only visited the Denpasar Office as we stayed in Ubud (Gianyar) during both our visa extensions. Before entering the office they had a sign informing applicants of the working areas of the Denpasar Office. Which meant that if you are staying outside of these areas the office will not be able to assist you and instead will send you to a different immigration office. For example, Canggu and Seminyak, although located closest to the Denpasar office, are actually not covered by the Denpasar office but instead by the Ngurah Rai Office.
How to Extend your Visa on Arrival in Bali
And now, last, but definitely not least how do you actually extend a visa in Bali without a visa agent? While we have covered most of the necessary info above, you might still wonder what the process looks like, in the end there is very little info available on the official government websites when it comes to extending your visa. As you’ve read above it will take a total of three visits to the immigration office, we have done our visa extension multiple times at the Denpasar office and the steps below describe the exact process we had to follow every single time.
First Visit: Applying for your Visa Extension
On your first visit to the immigration office you will have to apply for your visa extension. We would advise you to show up as early as possible to avoid being stuck behind the long lines. While the Denpasar office opens at 8am from Monday to Thursday, and 9am on Friday’s you will be able to enter the building earlier. As we weren’t sure how long it would take us to get to the office we showed up at 7.30am on our first visit and while we were first in line that day, at 8am, when the immigration office actually opened, there were sitting at least 25 people in the waiting area already.
What you’ll need to bring to the immigration office:
- Your passport.
- A photo copy of your passport picture page.
- A photo copy of the Visa on Arrival page in your passport.
- A copy of your flight ticket out of Indonesia. At this moment you will need proof that you will be leaving within the 30 day extension period that you are given.
- A black ink pen.
- The name and info of the hotel or guesthouse where you are staying at.
Step 1: Upon arriving at the immigration office in Denpasar you will find a separate entrance for foreigner applicants. When you enter the immigration office you will find a small ticket booth right at the entrance, click the screen and you will be given a number. After you have taken your number simply sit down and keep an eye on the screen displaying the numbers, once your number appears go to the designated counter.
Step 2: The immigration officer will ask for your documents (your passport and the copies as listed above) and will then give you a pink folder with two forms that need to be filled out. Next to the waiting area you will see a small table where you can fill out your forms, here you will also be able to find an example of form #23 filled out in case you are not sure how to proceed. You don’t have to fill in the section about a sponsor on form #23, even though it is filled in on the example form, as you don’t need a sponsor to extend a VoA. Besides form #23 you will also need to fill out the general information on both the pink folder and the second form.
Step 3: Once you are done filling out all your forms go back to the immigration officer that handed you the documents, there is no need to take another number, just simply wait till the immigration officer is free. Hand him the forms you filled out, including the pink folder, your passport, the copy of your passport, the copy of your VoA page and the copy of your flight ticket.
Step 4: The immigration officer will then check all the documents and after 5 – 10 minutes he will then hand you your receipt. This receipt will state your name and the date of when you are supposed to return for your second visit, the immigration office will keep your passport in the mean time. You will need this receipt not only for your next visit, but it is also proof that your passport is currently at the immigration office, so be sure to keep this very safe.
Paying for your Visa Extension
After you are done with your application at the Denpasar Office head over to the main entrance of the immigration office. Right outside of the main entrance to the building you will see a black/orange van. This van acts as a mobile post office, and this is where you will have to pay the fee for your visa extension. Hand them the receipt that was given to you by the immigration officer together with the fee of IDR 500,000. They will staple the proof of payment to your receipt.
Second Visit: Photos and Fingerprints
Your second visit, especially compared to your first visit, will be much easier. The second visit in general is roughly 2 – 4 working days after your first visit, and also for this visit it is best to just show up early. The only thing you’ll need to bring this time is the receipt you were given on your first visit. During this visit you don’t have to fill in any forms, they will just simply take your finger prints and a photo.
Now, upon entering don’t get a ticket from the machine, instead go to counter number 4 and hand over your receipt, they will give you a ticket that starts with the letter C. They will tell you to take a seat in the waiting area again and to wait for your number to be called. Once your number is called go to the photo room located on the left hand side of the counters, right next to counter number 1. Inside take your seat at the agent that has your ticket number. After you have taken your seat your agent will ask you a couple of basic questions, such as your name, where you are staying and to confirm that the passport he or she is holding is actually yours. After that a photo and finger prints from all 10 fingers will be taken.
Once you are done they will stamp a new date on your receipt, this will be the date for your third and last visit, the day you pick up your passport.
Third Visit: Pick up your Passport
Now that you have your first and second visit out of the way the third will be a piece of cake! Pick up of passports are often scheduled for the afternoons, in the Denpasar office pickups were between 1pm and 3pm. While this visit might be a lot quicker then the other two we still recommend showing up early, just so you can be the first in line when the counter opens again after their lunch break.
There is no need to take a ticket, just take a seat and wait for the counter to open. Once the counter opens just hand the immigration officer your receipt, he will then inform you to take a seat again. Now just wait for your name to be called. Once your name is called head over to receive your passport with your visa extension! Now, before you leave be sure to check the extension date to see if it is correct, the last thing you’ll want is to find this out when you get home because that would mean another trip to the visa office!
Once you checked that everything is okay you’ll be asked to sign a list with some basic info such as your name, passport number and signature. When that is done you are good to go and can enjoy the rest of your stay in Bali!
And there you have it, everything you need to know to extend your Visa on Arrival in Bali! As you can see by now the process is quite straight forward, just a bit tedious. However, should you have any questions left be sure to ask them in the comment section down below and we’ll do our best to answer them! Before you leave, be sure to check out our other guides and articles filled with tips and tricks that will help you plan the ultimate Bali vacation:
- Bali for first timers: 21 Things to know before you go
- The ultimate Bali bucket list: 80+ Things to do in Bali
- 16 Amazing things to do in Ubud
- The ultimate Bali waterfalls guide – Bali’s best waterfalls
- Bali travel budget: How to travel Bali on 20$ a day
- 12 Unforgettable things to do in Canggu
- Bali temple guide: 7 most beautiful temples of Bali