This information is accurate as of May, 2016, and relates to entry at Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Extending a tourist visa…. What a nightmare!
There is a load of information about it but what can you believe? It is a minefield of Google trust issues.
Do you use an agent? Do you have a crack yourself? Where do you go? What does it cost? How long will it take? What forms do I need?
Why didn’t I just organise it before I came? Idiot!
I recently extended my 30-day Indonesian tourist visa to 60 days. Here is how it is done through the new immigration office in Bali.
But before I get started there are two points to make, and they’re important.
Most countries now have free entry to Indonesia for up to 30 days. If you wish to extend your visa DO NOT exercise this right. You Will NOT be allowed to extend without having paid for a visa on arrival.
When you enter the arrival hall at Ngurah Rai International Airport, don’t follow the holidaying crowd through passport control. Look for the cubicles before passport control and there you will be able to pay for a visa on arrival. As the V.O.A. is no longer a necessity for most countries, the cubicles may seem abandoned. Don’t be fooled, there will be a few officers sitting out of sight, probably laughing and playing on a phone, waiting for you to seek them out. Pay the $50 AUD (or your country’s equivalent) and then head through to passport control.
Secondly, many airlines will not let you board the plane if you don’t have proof of leaving Indonesia within the initial 30 days. You can scream black and blue that you are getting an extension once in Bali but they wont budge. If you haven’t thought of sneakier ways around this, you can buy a reservation ticket and save having to argue/purchase another ticket at the last minute. Onward flights and Fly Onward do cheap and easy ticket reservations.
Now, once you’ve paid your V.O.A., entered Bali and are guzzling that first cold binny; here is how the visa extension process goes.
Kantor Imigrasi has moved into a new building down towards Nusa Dua, just off Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai.
The address is: Jl. Perum Taman Jimbaran No.1, Kuta Selatan, Jimbaran.
Or Google: Kantor Imigrasi Kelas I Khusus Ngurah Rai.
Be aware that this is a government building and you are required to dress accordingly. That means shoes, covered limbs and modesty. And definitely no pashing off.
Trip 1: Lodging your forms. (took me one hour)
You will need:
- Your passport.
- 2 photocopies of your passport picture page.
- 2 photocopies of you current V.O.A. stamp page.
- 2 photocopies of you plane ticket for departure from Indonesia. This must be within 60 days of your initial arrival visa stamp, not from the date you apply for the extension.
(You will likely only need one of each of these but it’s good to have two).
- A black pen. They require a black pen and there aren’t many to go around at immigration.
- A sponsor in Bali and details of where you are staying in Indonesia. I used the hotel I was staying at and the owners name for both of these. You will definitely need accomodation information, however, I have read that you don’t require a sponsor when extending a 30-day V.O.A.
Go to the front desk. Tell them you are extending your visa. They’ll ask for your passport, passport copy, V.O.A. copy and outgoing ticket. In turn, you will get some forms to fill out.
Fill out the forms and return to the same desk, where after checking them out you will be told to take a ticket from the nearby ticket machine and wait to be called. Wait around the back of the first desk in the seating provided.
When your number is called go to the relevant counter and hand in your forms. They’ll check them over and tell you to sit down. Sit down again. Wait for your name to be called and listen carefully for it. Once it is sorted and your name is called, go back to the counter and collect your receipt. This will tell you when and what time your next visit is.
(Mine was two days later between 8-12AM).
Trip 2: Payment, Photo and Fingerprinting. (took me one hour)
You will need:
- 355,000 Indonesian Rupiah (take more than that).
- Your receipt from the previous day.
Get there early and say hello to the same desk. Grab your ticket and wait to be called. This time you go to the payment counter and make your payment of 355,000 Rupiah (about $35 AUD). They will then point you to another counter where you’ll be given a ticket for the photo queue. When your number is called, head into the “tourist” photo booth and have your shot taken and fingerprints scanned. Then head back to the same counter with your payment receipt and the officer will write down when the next visit to collect your passport is.
(Mine was two days later between 2 -3 pm.)
Trip 3: Passport collection. (took me 20 minutes)
You will need:
- Your receipt from the day before.
Same as the first two trips, check in at the front counter. They will instruct you where to go to hand in your receipt for the visa extension. Hand it in and go to the seating area to wait for your name to be called. When you are called collect your passport and sign the register (no one knows what this is for). Breathe a sigh of relief, return to your hotel and book a flight to get the hell out of Bali!
The next month or two are yours to wander these amazing islands freely at your own leisure. The joys of Indonesia lie outside of Bali, away from the swarms of tourists.
Things to keep in mind:
DO NOT lose the receipts/forms you are given at the end of each visit. This is all you have for proof of your visa extension, and ownership of your passport!
As I mentioned earlier, if you plan to extend the your visa, YOU MUST pay for a visa on arrival. It’s not negotiable; if you entered for free you will have to fly out of Indonesia before the 30-day visa deadline. A friend made this mistake and went to immigration office to change her initial visa. She offered to pay the extra but was not allowed.
You must apply for the extension with at least 7 days left on your current visa, according to the passport control officer when I entered. I would say leave a lot more time than that! You can never be certain how bureaucracy works in Asia.
If you haven’t made photocopies or printed any forms before getting to immigration don’t freak out, there is a printing shop just around the corner past Kantor Imigrasi. They also sell cold drinks.
As is always the case in Indonesia, there are many ways to achieve the same result. My payment day went differently to my friend, even though we followed the same process at the same time. But like the Dutch guy alongside me said,
“We must never wonder, otherwise we begin to worry.”
Kick back and wait for what’s happening to happen.
Transport isn’t cheap. Kantor Imigasi is quite far from Kuta, almost to Nusa Dua. I made the first two trips from Canggu on my scooter so the cost is only the extra fuel (the best way to do it). My final visit was from Kuta and the motorbike taxi cost me 100k Rupiah. Keep in mind the overall cost of everything included when you’re deciding to go for it yourself.
Do it yourself versus use an agent….
It’s a question of the value of your time. An agent can cost up to three times as much and still YOU MUST visit immigration at least once to make the fingerprint scanning. The cost of transport when doing it yourself, plus the visa extension, could end up close to the cost of an agent, and if you value not having to make two extra visits then an agent might be the way to go.
Make a return flight versus extending your visa…
If you’re in Bali, a visa extension is far cheaper than flying out and back in. However, if you plan to head somewhere like Sumatra or Java, there are really cheap flights to Singapore or KL. It might take you a couple of days to get out and back but it could also be a cheaper, faster option and you can bail on Bali as soon as possible. Remember, the extension requires you to be in Bali for at least one week.
Plus, if you decide to on a return flight option, you’ll skip having to pay the $50 AUD visa on arrival fee.
The process is a simple but elongated one. If you have the time, you can save money doing it yourself. But there is no shame in using an agent if you can’t be bothered with the hassle. Just make sure you find a responsible and trustworthy agent.
I did it myself and was impressed with the ease of it. Now I’m sitting at Lakey Peak with back to back to back swells on the move here and plenty of extra time to enjoy them.
Shoot me an email at email@example.com if you have any questions.