Free Entry

Last updated: July 12, 2015

More tourists can enter Indonesia without paying for a visa.

Starting 12 June 2015, tourists from an extra 30 countries can visit Indonesia for free.

This brings the total to 45 countries:

free visa countries

Initially, it seemed these countries would need to give Indonesian tourists free entry in return (called “reciprocity”), suggesting the new policy was never going to happen. However, the government later decided that the benefits to the Indonesia tourism industry were too large to ignore, and changed the law requiring reciprocity.

The Fine Print
However, there is one important restriction.

Visitors of the 30 new countries can only receive free entry by entering and departing through one of these airports:

Jakarta
Bali
Surabaya
Medan
Batam

or one of these seaports:

Batam Center
Batam Sekupang
Bintan Tanjung Uban
Bintan Sri Bintan Pura

Visitors arriving at or departing from other airports (e.g. Yogyakarta) will still need to pay $US35 per person for a tourist visa, a.k.a. visa on arrival. This might seen unusual/unnecessary, but there is also a list of airports and seaports where tourist visas can be purchased.

How Does It Work?
On arrival, passengers can bypass the visa on arrival queue and head directly to immigration.

Reactions
Despite the economic benefits, some locals are unhappy about the government allowing e.g. European visitors free entry when it is relatively difficult for Indonesian citizens to obtain visas to those countries.

Many have also noted one large omission from the list: Indonesia’s third largest source of foreign visitors, Australia. Initially, govenment spokespeople blamed this on the – now removed – reciprocity requirement. The cynical would suggest that only political considerations (i.e. the currently strained bilateral relationship) are preventing Australian tourists receving free entry.

With plans already afoot to expand the list of countries receiving free entry, there is an opportunity for Indonesia to correct this perception. It would also increase the country’s international competitiveness with e.g. Malaysia, who already gives free entry to 164 countries’ citizens.



3 Comments on “Free Entry”

  1. avatar Chris says:

    Interesting update on what happens if a foreign tourist gets free entry in Bali but then departs from Lombok: a letter in local newspaper, The Jakarta Post

    and another about tourist confusion at Yogyakarta Airport in Lonely Planet’s Thorntree

  2. avatar Chris says:

    Many have also noted one large omission from the list: Indonesia’s third largest source of foreign visitors, Australia. Initially, govenment spokespeople blamed this on the – now removed – reciprocity requirement. The cynical would suggest that only political considerations (i.e. the currently strained bilateral relationship) are preventing Australian tourists receving free entry.

    With plans already afoot to expand the list of countries receiving free entry, there is an opportunity for Indonesia to correct this perception.

    47 more countries’ tourists – including Australia – will get free entry to Indonesia, starting in October. Source: Tempo English

  3. avatar Chris says:

    Tourists from another 84 countries – including Australia – will get free entry to Indonesia, starting this week. However, the limited list of entry/exit points still applies. Source: The Jakarta Post

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