TRAVEL TIPS: How to Extend an Indonesian Tourist or Social Visa
In my Guide to Indonesian Visa Options I detail the three types of visas available to travelers to Indonesia. In brief, they are Visa On Arrival, Tourist Visa and Social Visa. Not surprisingly, each has its own particular rules for extensions. Before you head to Indonesia, I suggest becoming familiar with the three visa options and choosing the one best suited to your trip.
Extending a Visa On Arrival
The Visa On Arrival (30 day visa) can only be extended once, for one month, allowing a total visit of 2 months (60 days) in Indonesia before you must leave the country.
I’ve never used a Visa On Arrival, however fellow travel blogger Derek Freal of TheHoliDaze has. He’s filled me in on the process of extending the VOA, which I present to you here.
Luckily, you do not need a sponsor to make a VOA extension. But you do have to visit the immigration office three times, on three consecutive days. Here’s the low down:
Day 1 – Visit any Indonesian Immigration office, fill out the required forms and present them along with your passport, 2 passport photos, photocopies of you passport and.
Day 2 – Return to the office to pay your 250,000 rp / $25 US fee
Day 3 – Return to the office again to pick up your passport.
As you’ll soon see below, this is quite an easy process compared to extending the Tourist and Social Visas. But visiting immigration 3 times in 3 days is still rather a pain in the butt. Nothing to do about that. If you have any other questions about the VOA extension process, please contact Derek at theHoliDaze blog.
If you’re in South Bali, I personally recommend visiting the immigration office near the airport, not the office in central Denpasar city. Avoid the Denpasar office, which is crazy busy. At that office, you’ll have to face a lot of waiting. And the officers are rather hard asses. They’re tired of it all, no doubt.
Extending Tourist and Social Visas
In the remainder of this post I detail all the long-winded procedures for extending Indonesian Tourist and Social Visas. I’ve extended both type of visas several times, doing so by myself and at other times by hiring visa agencies to do the extensions for me.
Both Tourist and Social Visas are 2-month (60 day) visas which can be extended month by month for 1-4 months, allowing a total of 6-months in the country before you must leave.
You need a sponsor for Tourist and Social Visa extensions
To extend either a Tourist Visa or Social Visa, you must have an Indonesian citizen as a ‘sponsor’. That can be anyone – guest house owner or staff, a friend or acquaintance. Anyone who’s willing to fill out the forms and sign his/her name. The sponsor is not required to reveal his assets or finances. He does not have to put any money up as collateral or pay any fees. In short, there’s no financial obligation on his part.
By becoming your sponsor, he is basically ‘vouching’ for you – ie. That you’re of good character and are not going to do anything illegally in the country, including working on a Tourist or Social Visa. Please bare in mind that if you do anything illegal and get caught, then your sponsor is going to get in trouble, too.
If you arrive in Indonesia with a Tourist Visa, you will arrive without a sponsor. (since a sponsor is not required to get the visa) After arrival you must find a sponsor in order to get an extension. You have some flexibility, if you’re going to extend several times, in that you can have a different sponsor each month. If you’re traveling around the country and applying at different immigration offices, you’ll need new sponsor each time – a local.
If you have a Social Visa, you’ll already have a sponsor when you arrive. And he/she will be the same sponsor for each and every visa extension. He/she will still have to fill out forms for each extension. But you don’t have to search for a new sponsor. In fact, you can’t.
The sponsor usually has to be a resident of the particular immigration office’s jurisdiction. For example, if you’re in Lombok, you will apply for your extension at the Mataram Immigration Office. They will only accept a Lombok citizen, not an Indonesian from Bali or Java.
If you’re in Bali and are applying in the north at Singaraja, you’ll need a sponsor from that region of the island. They are not allowed to use a sponsor from other districts of Bali, such as Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur or even Ubud. Those areas fall under the jurisdiction of the Denpasar office. If you already have an Indonesia sponsor from elsewhere, guess what? Too bad. Find a new one locally.
How to find a sponsor in a place you’ve never been before? Ask at your guest house or hotel. One of the staff or perhaps one of their friends will do it or they’ll know someone who speaks English, who’s done a sponsorship before and is willing to help you out. You’ll probably have to pay them to do so! 100,000-250,000 rp is normal (Actually, 100,000 rp is very very low. They’d be doing you a huge favor at that rate).
Two methods to extend a visa
Regardless of which visa type you have, you have two methods to extend that visa once you’re in the country. Each visa extension, regardless of visa type, currently costs 250,000 rp / about $25-27 US per month.
Method 1 – You can go to any Indonesian Immigration Office by yourself and make the extension. Immigration offices are located on all of Indonesia’s main islands, at the island’s capital city. Some larger islands like Sumatra and Java have several immigration offices.
Even little Bali has three offices, probably because of the shear number of tourists there. Bali’s offices are located in central Denpasar city, near the airport and on the north coast in Singaraja city, near Lovina beach.
Method 2 – Alternately, you can hire a visa service to do the extension(s) for you.
Here’s the low down on how it works.
This is the least expensive way to extend your visa. The only cost is the extension itself – 250,000 rp (and the cost of transportation to the office and back). But it does take a lot of time and paperwork.
You will have to visit the office three or four times over the period of 9-12 days. That’s assuming you start on a Monday. And you don’t make any mistakes on the application form or forget a form (perhaps because they didn’t tell you previously that you needed it), that your Indonesian sponsor doesn’t make any mistakes on his form, and no Indonesian holidays get in the way. If any of those things happen, it could take longer.
Basically the process goes like this:
First visit – Go to the immigration office where you plan to extend your visa. Pick up all the forms & instructions
Second visit – Take in all your forms, photos, photocopies of passport. If this is your first time to make a visa extension in Indonesia, they will also take your finger prints.
Third visit – 3 working days later, return to pay your 250,000 rp
Fourth visit – 3 working days later, return to pick up your passport. Whew, you’re done
Obviously, with the 3-working days between each visit, this cannot be completed within one week. It will overlap at least one weekend, assuming you start on a Monday or Tuesday. And if you make any of the errors mentioned above, it could easily entail more visits and more time.
Visa Extension Process in Detail
Step One – First Visit to the Immigration Office
Go the the chosen immigration office with your passport and tell them you want to make an extension. They will give you the correct forms (hopefully all of them) depending on which type of visa you have and whether you are making your 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th extension. The 1st & 2nd extensions are the same. But the 3rd & 4th extensions require slightly different forms and one extra step.
So it must be clear which visa you have and which extension you’re making.
Be sure to ask the officers exactly what you need to do and how exactly to fill in each form. Write down all their instructions. Then ask more specific questions – anything you’re not clear about. Then re-state what you think you’re supposed to do, to confirm. And then ask them, “Anything else?”
For one thing: The forms are written in Indonesian, not English. So you’ll have to ask them what each line means. Be sure to find out on each form which section is for your information and which section is for your sponsor’s information. The forms look almost identical, but they’re not. The sections for you/your sponsor are reversed on each form.
Don’t guess! You’ll make a mistake, the form will be invalid, and you’ll have to do it all over again. Make sure you understand what each and every line on each form means & what info to write there.
All this questioning might sound excessive, but it’s not. It’s quite likely the officer will forget to mention all the details and leave something out. If that happens, you’re going to return to the office next time without everything you need.
You’ll probably get 2 copies of each form, which you’ll have to fill in by hand. (Uh, hello, why can’t they use photocopy machines? I presume it’s just to make you jump through more hoops?)
Step two – Filling in the forms
Carefully fill out the forms and have your sponsor fill out the forms as well. He/she will have to provide all his/her personal identity information: full name, address, phone number, marital status, religion, occupation, Indonesian ID number.
He will sign the forms, but before doing so, he must place a special stamp, called ‘materia’ on the form at the specified spot and then sign his name on top of the materia. This is important! He must sign on top of the materai.
There are many different materai in Indonesia. The correct one for visa applications costs 6000 rp / ~ $0.60 US. You can buy it at any post office, various small shops and at the immigration offices. (They prefer you get them elsewhere). All Indonesians know what a materia is and where to buy them, so just ask your sponsor or guest house owner.
To save time, you could potentially combine steps 1 & 2 by going to the immigration office with your sponsor and fill out the forms there at the office. If your sponsor speaks English well enough, he might be able to translate the form for you to fill out. But be careful, because they might also make mistakes, especially if it’s their first time. It’s probably better to ask the immigration officials.
Step three – Second visit to immigration
Take all your forms, photocopies of your passport and two photos. You’ll need to photocopy three pages in your passport: the page with your personal information, your Indonesian Visa and your entry stamp into the country.
If it’s your first time to extend a visa in Indonesia, they will also finger print you. On subsequent visits to the country, they wont’ have to repeat that. They have in on file.
If all is in order (cross your fingers) then you’ll be instructed to return after 3 working days to pay for the extension.
Step four – Third visit to immigration
Three days later, return to the office and pay your 250,000 rp. ( Why oh why don’t they want your money when you give them the applications, like every other immigration office in the world? )
You’ll be instructed to return in another three working days to pick up your passport with the extension.
Step five – Final visit to immigration
Three working days later, return to the office and pick up your passport.
You must go through the extension process each month that you want to extend. You can’t do them all at once.
If you’re going to extend the visa at the same immigration office, on your first visit you could pick up all the forms you’ll need for every extension you plan to make. That way you’ll only have to pick up forms once. If you’re going to apply at different offices around the country, you’ll have to visit each new office to get their forms.
Each extension will take about 10 days, during which time you have to visit the office at least 3 times.
If you’re trying to travel through Indonesia, this can put a serious damper on your travels. For 10 days every month you must be near an office and return repeatedly.
Now that you know all taht’s invovled in making a visa extension yourself, you might be ready to hire someone to do it for you instead.
Hiring a Visa agency to do it for you
You wont’ have to fill out any forms. They’ll do it for you.
You simply give them your passport. They will get all your necessary personal information from that.
You’ll still need a sponsor. The agency will give you the forms for your sponsor to sign, complete with the special stamp, materai, already placed on the forms.
Alternately, take your sponsor with you to the agency for him/her to sign the forms there. He/she will have to sign forms for each month that you’re going to extend, usually two forms per extension. So, for example, if you’re panning to stay 6 months, he’ll have to sign 2 x 4 = 8 forms.
You will only have to visit the immigration office the very first time on the 1st extension, with the agency, regardless of how many times / months you extend.
Give the money for your extension to the agency, along with their fees. Usually total cost is 450,000 – 650,000 rp. That is almost double to triple the price of the doing extension itself. But you’ve seen how much work is involved in making an extension each month. The agency will have to visit the immigration office all those times instead of you.
That’s it. That’s all you have to do.
The agency will probably be willing to hold your passport over the months that you’re there and handle all your extensions for you, without you having to visit them again, aside from paying.
You will have to pay upfront each time. You could pay for all the extensions at once and go travel all over the country. Or you could stop by their office each month to pay. You might be able to desposit or transfer money into their bank account.
Summary and other notes
Start the application process at least one week before your visa expires
You need a sponsor, an Indonesian citizen local to the immigration office’s jurisdiction
If extending yourself, you’ll have to visit the office 3-4 times over a 10 day (or more) period.
Make sure you get explicit instructions for each and every line of the form + anything else you need to do
Make sure you & sponsor fill out correct sections of each form! Else it will be void and must do over againMake sure the 6000 rp materai stamp is on the form in correct place and your sponsor signs on top of it
Hiring a visa agency to do the extension(s) for you will cost double to triple the price, but save you a tremendous amount of time, energy and hassles.
If you’re staying in south Bali, go to the immigration office near the airport. Avoid the Denpasar office, which is crazy busy. At the Denpasar office, there’s a lot of waiting involved. And the officers there are rather hard asses. They’re tired of it all, no doubt.
The friendliest, easiest and fastest immigration office in Bali is up north in Singaraja, located halfway between Lovina & Singaraja. But you must have sponsor from that area. And if you’re actually staying elsewhere in Bali, then it’s a very long drive each time.
Have you ever extended any Indonesian visas? If so, how did it go?
Do you have any other tips or information to add to this guide? Pitch in!
You might also find this post useful: