Bali Entry Visa – Onshore Visas End, Pre-Pandemic Rules Apply
With the reopening of Bali to direct international flights, reconnection with the global aviation network, and the resumption of the visa-on-arrival (VOA) facility, immigration authorities in Bali are now reimplementing visa rules and policies that existed before the global pandemic.
Immigration is now taking steps to eliminate the special exemptions for international travelers once stranded in Bali and requires adherence to pre-existing immigration rules and regulations.
As reported by Balipost.com, the Director of Residency/Stay Permits (Izin Tinggal) for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Pramella Y. Pasaribu, explained on Wednesday, 16 March 2022, that her directorate is socializing the applicable rules and regulations to the public, travel industry, and foreign nationals in Indonesia.
“There are facts that the public, tourism operators, and foreign nationals must know about the technical implementation of visas, entry permits, and stay permits for those traveling to Indonesia,” said Pramella while visiting the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office in Bali.
Continuing, Pramella explained that the gradually improving situation and steadily increasing international flight connections to Indonesia, immigration is eliminating the special visitor visa status given to foreigners who were formerly stranded by circumstance in Indonesia. Those individuals given “special visas” are now being switched back to the applicable immigration status that applied before the global pandemic.
dding: “Now, after the pandemic has passed and new forms of transportation are on tap, the (old) regulations will come back into effect and be earnestly applied.”
During the global pandemic, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights created special regulations to address the prevailing situation. Special onshore visas were provided to help foreigners stranded in Bali and unable to return to their home countries.
The Ministry of Law and Human Rights issued Law Number 34 of 2021 to assist foreigners living in Indonesia and unable to return to their home countries by allowing these individuals to apply for a special bridging visa during the period when no international transport was available. As explained by Pramella: “The earlier consideration was that because there was no available transport, the Ministery promulgated temporary regulations. This became the basis for foreigners in Indonesia, including Bali, to apply for a visa.”
Pramela explained that the immigration rules and regulations that applied before the global pandemic are declared again in effect as of 3 February 2022, with a grace period until 25 February 2022 given for final implementation.
In conclusion, after announcing the return to established rules and regulations regarding visas for foreigners in Indonesia, Pramella declared: “As I have said, the rules and regulations of the immigration department are dynamic. So, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when there was no available international transport, we provided the option of an onshore visa. However, now that conditions have changed, we are applying and reimplementing the rules that existed before the pandemic.”
Government plans to expand VOA (Bali Entry Visa) facility
Kompas.com reports that Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment, and Indonesian COVID Czar, says the government will likely expand the current visa-on-arrival (VOA) facility beyond Bali to other parts of Indonesia.
The Indonesian government has resumed the visa-on-arrival (VOA) facility, beginning in Bali, where nationals from only 23 countries can apply for and receive up to a 60 days tourist visa.
Luhut said the VOA would soon become available for foreign travelers in Jakarta and Surabaya.
Speaking on Monday, 14 March 2022, Luhut said that in the seven days since the resumption of VOA in Bali, 449 people applied for and received a VOA after paying a fee of Rp. 500,000. This has resulted in the payment of Rp. 244 million in non-tax revenues to the State.
“The visa on arrival can stimulate foreign tourist arrivals,” said Luhut.
Indications have also been given that the government of Indonesia will soon increase the number of countries eligible to receive a visa-on-arrival beyond the current number of 23. Luhut added: “The government will increase the availability of visa-on-arrival to include target countries who have tourism potential and also countries that are members of the G20.”
During the first 10-days since the resumption of visa-on-arrival (VOA) covering 07 March through 17 March 2022, 1,474 people received a 30-day VOA (Bali Entry Visa) after paying an official fee of US$35.00. VOAs are extendable for an additional 30 days after arrival in Indonesia.
The citizens of 23 countries are currently eligible to receive a VOA. The number of visitors seeking VOAs during the first ten days of the program’s resumption remains relatively low. These numbers are expected to grow as the international community becomes increasingly aware that this facility is once again available.
The Indonesian government will soon expand the eligible countries beyond the current 23. The citizens of 23 countries currently eligible to use the VOA facility are:
United Arab Emirates
As reported by Balipost.com, the head of the Bali Tourism Service (Kadispar), Tjokorda Bagus Pemayun, said 1,474 people had utilized a VOA (Bali Entry Visa) during the initial 10-day period of its reintroduction. The top five countries applying for and receiving VOAs during this period:
120 U.K. nationals
118 U.S. Citizens
The resumption of the VOA facility coincided with the elimination of quarantine requirements for travelers testing “negative” for COVID-19 upon arrival in Indonesia. As a result of these changes, international arrivals to Bali continue to trend upward.
Balipost.com reports that Bali Governor Wayan Koster is urging the Central Government to add at least 18 additional countries to the list of those whose citizens are eligible for VOA (Bali Entry Visa), namely:
Before traveling, foreign nationals intending to visit Bali using a VOA should ensure that their home country is on the current eligibility list. Bali Entry Visa
Bali Entry Visa – stakeholders want low hotels rates
RadarBali.com reports that the Indonesian Hotel General Manager Association (IHGMA) Bali is welcoming recent changes in government policy affecting international travel that resumes visa-on-arrival (VOA) for 23 countries, which eliminates quarantine requirements, that both took effect from 07 March 2022.
The IHGMA is an association of Indonesian nationals serving as general managers of hotels in Bali, with meetings generally conducted in Indonesian. The counterpart to the IHGMA is the English-speaking Bali Hotel Association (BHA), comprised of general managers, both local and foreigners.
To maximize the benefit resulting from recent changes in visa and quarantine rules, the chairman of the IHGMA-Bali, Agus Yoga Iswara, urged tourism leaders in Bali to safeguard efforts to restore the recovery of tourism by not increasing the cost of accommodation at this time. Adding: “We must work to jointly promote the destination of Bali in the most attractive way,” said Iswara on Friday, 11 March 2022.
Meanwhile, the operating chairman of the Indonesian Housekeeper Association (IHKA), Nyoman Sugiarta, also welcomed the opening of the gates of Bali to international tourism with the return of the VOA and the end of quarantine. “Hopefully, this is the revival of Bali Tourism. We hope that all the tourism stakeholders in Bali will lead in the implementation of COVID-19 Health Protocols, safeguarding the policies of the central government,” Sugiarta added. (Bali Entry Visa)
Sounding a similar chord with Sugiarta were the chairman of the Indonesian Food and Beverage Association (IFBEC-Bali), I Ketut Darmayasa, and the Bali spokesperson of the Indonesian Union of Tourism Workers (FSP-Par) I Gusti Ayu Ketut Budiasih.
Bali Entry Visa – Businesses on the island need a helping hand
Bali has suffered unprecedented financial setbacks resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic. An economic analyst, IGK Sandjaja Putra, interviewed in Balipost.com on Tuesday, 15 March 2022, said that Bali entrepreneurs burdened with debt repayment desperately need a “bailout.”
Putra explained that the “bailouts” would be cash injections needed for bankrupt or near-bankrupt companies or banks in financial difficulties to cover their short-term debt.
Putra, a former commissioner of PT Jamkrida Bali – a government-owned credit guarantor agency, described the financial circumstances of many companies in Bali as very dire. Adding: “For two years of suffering during the pandemic, tourism and the economy of Bali is almost dead; this is difficult and will take a long time to recover.” (Bali Entry Visa)
The respected observer of the Balinese economy said that despite the increased mobility signaled by the reopening of Bali to international travelers, Bali would not soon recover from the economic setbacks caused by the pandemic. In the current situation, Sandjaja called on the government to be more aggressive in providing bridging relief to affected companies and agencies.
“For instance, aid could be given by reducing, relaxing, and rescheduling the debt of Bali companies. Bailouts can remove accumulated interested payments and write-offs of principal amounts,” explained Putra. He said bailouts should be prioritized for small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives, adding: “the authorizing officers (for the bailout assistance) must be penalized by prosecutions in the future.”
Meanwhile, Putra said entrepreneurs seeking to become “new” borrowers could be given liquidity assistance via low-interest rates. He also suggested that banks as creditors should not take margins and spreads that are too large from the interest rates charged and provide long repayment periods. (Bali Entry Visa)
Sandjaja concluded, “So, is there any leader asking the President, or the related ministers, to undertake these steps?”
Bali Entry Visa – Russians in Bali Suffering a Cash Crunch
Kompas.com reports that Russian tourists and expatriate residents in Bali are encountering problems trying to withdraw funds from ATMs.
These difficulties are presumed to affect global economic sanctions against the Russian State following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Konstantin Ivanov, a Russian living in Bali, complained he could not access his blocked Russian bank account from any ATM in Bali. “This has created a big problem for us. We have lost our money, and it is as though our funds have been frozen, and we cannot use our money here,” Ivanov told Kompas.com on Thursday, 10 March 2022.
Ivanov said that he might need to find work in Indonesia to meet his daily needs because of the current situation.
Bali remains a popular holiday destination for Russians. Based on official government data, around 1,150 Russians came to Indonesia in January 2022.
Meanwhile, Rifki Saldi Yanto, a restaurant manager in Bali, says he has recently seen a decline in Russian customers, with those visiting his business paying in cash instead of using credit cards. (Bali Entry Visa)
The Russian Embassy in Jakarta has announced that they continue to give information and assistance to every Russian experiencing difficulties in Indonesia. Denis Tetiushin, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Jakarta, explained that the Russian Bank Pochta offers a “virtual” credit card using Union Pay China instead of Visa or Mastercard. Tetiushin added in a text message to Kompas.com: “This is free and can be opened everywhere, wherever you are.”
The Russian economy is facing a financial crisis not seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The problem was precipitated by steps by Western nations to isolate the Russian economy from the global banking system.
The SWIFT International Bank Settlement Program has dropped several Russian banks from their network, while Visa and Mastercard have blocked the use of their Russian cards since 09 March 2022.
The value of the Ruble against the U.S. Dollars has suffered a massive downturn from trading at 60 Rubles to the U.S. Dollar on 01 December 2021 to Rubles 139.13 to the U.S. Dollar on 09 March 2022.
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