A dreamy island in the southeast Asian country of Indonesia, Bali has been a bucket list entry for many travelers like me. Known majorly for its magnificent beaches, Bali is home to so much more than just that – active volcanoes, magical waterfalls, splendid Hindu temples, and of course, a plethora of perfectly Instagrammable spots (the Bali swing, y’all!). And, as a brilliant effort to promote tourism in the country, the Indonesian government grants Bali visa on arrival for several countries.
I took a month-long trip to Bali in December 2017, a few days short of Christmas. And, since this was my first ever Christmas and New Year’s out of my home country i.e. India, needless to say, I was extremely excited for the whole trip. I would talk about the various aspects of my one month in Bali in the following posts, but I wanted to address one of the most important factors of traveling to Bali first – the visa.
Before I talk about my visa experience or how to get a visa on arrival for Bali, let me clarify that this post majorly talks about the visa on arrival procedure for Indians, however, the citizens of a total of 169 countries (including India) are eligible for the same. These countries include but aren’t limited to Australia, UAE, the US, the UK, and most European countries.
How much does it cost to get the Bali VOA?
Short answer – Nothing. Yes! The Bali visa on arrival is absolutely FREE.
Long answer – Though the 30 days Bali visa on arrival is free for eligible travelers, keep in mind that this visa cannot be extended. And, if you wanted to stay longer than 30 days (which you most likely will – given the charm and magnificence of the island and the country as a whole), you would have to exit and re-enter the country.
However, to avoid the hassles of re-entering the country, the Indonesian government offers you a chance to pay USD 35 during your visa on arrival process and get a stamp that allows you to extend your stay by 30 more days if you decided to stay beyond your first 30 days in the country.
Note: The USD $35 doesn’t give you an automatic extension for 30 days. It only gets you a stamp on the passport from the immigration that allows you to extend the VOA. There is an additional fee to extend your visa. Process to extend the visa on arrival later in the post.
What do you need to get the free Bali Visa on Arrival?
The process of getting the free Bali VOA is fairly simple. It doesn’t require you to do anything from your home country – in our case, India. BUT, irrespective of your return date, make sure you have a return flight ticket, especially if you are flying Air Asia our of Kolkata airport. You can read more about how I almost didn’t board my flight to Bali in another post, but for now, let us get on with the process of obtaining the free visa on arrival.
Most websites and blogs I read about getting the Bali Visa on Arrival suggested that I have:
- Return flight tickets
- Hotel bookings
- Proof of sufficient funds (information on this vary but most say about USD $100 per day for the duration of your stay)
- Normal passport size photos – 2
That being mentioned, I wasn’t asked for any documents even though I took the paid visa on arrival during my visit. As I walked to the visa counter to pay the fee of USD 35, the officer asked me how long I was planning to stay, and I told him I wasn’t sure but 45 days approximately.
The same question was asked by the officer at the immigration counter. They took my biometrics (just the usual photo at the counter) and stamped my passport. And, I was good to go.
Later, I checked with a couple of friends I had met during my trip to Bali and they confirmed that they weren’t asked to show any documents. But, it doesn’t harm to keep the documents handy just in case.
Note: Bear in mind that Bali visa on arrival is the same as Indonesian Visa on Arrival as Bali is one of the islands in the archipelago of around 18,000 islands in Indonesia. So, the process remains the same, irrespective of where you go in Indonesia.
How long can you stay with the free Bali VOA?
The answer to this is simple – 30 days. It’s not a month, it is 30 days including the day you arrive in the country. Be certain of this number because you do not want to overstay and pay a penalty. Plus, the risk of never being allowed in the country as beautiful as this is a big price to pay for a silly mistake or negligence to obey immigration rules.
What happens if you overstay your visit?
First and foremost, please do not. Second, if you happen to do it unintentionally, be prepared to pay a penalty fee of IDR 1,000,000 per day (USD $70 | INR 5,300 approximately).
How can you get the Bali visa on arrival extension for stays longer than 30 days?
As explained earlier, Indonesia allows the citizens of about 169 countries to visit the country on a free visa on arrival that is restricted for 30 days. This visa cannot be extended unless you decide to do re-enter the country or do a ‘visa run’ to one of the bordering countries.
If your plan includes staying in the country for more than 30 days and within 60 days, the best way to do it is to pay USD $35 at the visa counter when you first arrive in the country. Now, once again, I would like to highlight that this fee doesn’t give you an extension on your 30 days. It only gives you a stamp and a receipt (which you must protect with your dear life) that allows you to extend your 30 days visa before it expires, to avail another 30 days.
Points to remember:
- Visa extension fee – The visa extension fee is IDR 500,000 (USD 35 | INR 2,700 approximately). This is over and above the USD 35, you pay at the time of your arrival.
- Travel Agent – If you choose to get a travel agent to help you with the extension, the fee would be slightly higher as it includes the agent service fee – IDR 700,000 to IDR 900,000 roughly.
- Timeline – It takes 7-10 days for the extension process to fulfill. Any later than that, you risk not getting your extension on time and paying a penalty. Any sooner than that, the officials would ask you to come back when it is time.
Note: If you choose to do a visa run instead of a visa extension, be very discreet about it. Do not let the immigration officers know that you are on a visa run, especially in Singapore. Doing so could lead to detention and hours of unnecessary interrogation. Rather, say that you are here for work or to catch up with a friend. Also, you must spend a night in the country you visit. Spending a few hours and catching a flight back is not just risky but totally not recommended.
Where to get the Bali visa extension done?
In Bali, there are three immigration offices that process visa extensions but the most popular one is in Denpasar. Keep in mind that if you choose to do the extension yourself, you would have to travel back and forth from Denpasar (or the location of your choice) at least thrice.
If you ask me, getting an agent to do the extension for you is any day better than having to do it yourself. Plus, when you go via an agent, you only have to visit the immigration office once for your biometrics and photos. But, if you’d rather save the extra money (though you do have to pay to get to Denpasar and come back), then by all means, go for it.
Depending on where you are located on the island, you can pick between one of these three locations:
- Renon (Denpasar, Southeast Bali) – Jl. D.I. Pandjaitan No.3, Dangin Puri Klod, Denpasar Timur, Bali
- Nusa Dua (South Bali) – Jl. Taman Jimbaran no.1, Mumbul, Kuta Selatan, District Nusa Dua, Bali
- Singaraja (North Bali) – Jl. Seririt, Desa Pemaron, Singaraja, Kec. Buleleng, Bali
Most immigration offices operate from 8:00 AM till 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. They observe a lunch break from 12 noon to 1:00 PM. Also, don’t forget to check for local holidays and festivals since the offices will be shut on those days.
Read: If you plan on visiting Thailand instead, yu can also read my guide to getting a Thailand Visa on Arrival here.
What is the process of getting a Bali visa on arrival extension?
I have divided the Bali visa on arrival extension process in three parts – one for every visit you make to the immigration office.
Part 1: Passport and document drop-off
Prepare the following items the day before you make your first visit –
- Original Passport
- A copy of your passport picture page
- A copy of your visa page
- A copy of your return flight ticket
- A black ink pen to fill the forms
- IDR 500,000 visa extension fee (this will mostly be paid on your second visit but keep it handy anyway)
For your first visit, show up as early as you can but definitely before 11:00 AM. Once there, ask the officers at the counter for a visa extension form and you will be handed a folder with a couple of forms inside. Fill them both in CAPS and mention your reason to travel at the back along with a signature. Also, write your name on the folder.
After filling the form, head over to the kiosk located next to entrance (in Denpasar) to get a queue number and wait for your number to be called.
Once you hear your number, head over to the counter and hand the officer the folder comprising the duly filled forms, the passport, and the copies of required documents. They will take a look at the forms and the documents and let you know if you need anything more.
Take a seat after you hand over the documents and wait patiently but cautiously to hear them call for your name. Go to the desk and collect a receipt with a date and time to return – usually 1-3 days later.
Warning! – Keep in mind that your passport will be submitted at the immigration office on your first visit. The only proof of your legal presence in the country and that you are getting your visa extended is the receipt that you are given at the end of your day 1. Protect it with all that you have! I mean it.
Part 2: Fee payment, biometrics, and photos
Much like the first day, show up early for your appointment on the date as mentioned on the receipt on your day 1 at the visit to the immigration office. The only thing you require to bring with you on Day 2 is the receipt and the IDR 500,000 visa extension fee.
Again, just like Day 1, take a number at the kiosk and wait for it to be called. Go over to the desk with the receipt and the visa extension fee. Upon collection, you will be given another number and asked to wait.
When the second number is called again, go to the designated room to have your fingerprints scanned and photo taken.
Collect another receipt when this is over which will indicate the day you should return to collect your passport with the visa extension stamp – usually a day or two later.
I don’t have to tell you what to do with the receipt again, do I?
Part 3: Passport collection
This is perhaps the easiest part in the entire Bali visa extension process. On the designated day, visit the office on time with the receipt given to you on Day 2 of your visit to the visa extension office in Bali.
Head straight over to the counter and show them your receipt – you shouldn’t even have to take a queue number for this. Take a seat and wait for someone to call your name.
Once called, go ahead and get your passport with your visa extension for Bali and voila! You are all set to enjoy an additional 30 days in the splendid island of Bali or the country overall.
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