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Visa Rules Being Strictly Applied

Immigration Authorities 'Playing It By the Book' for Those Arriving with No Visa.

Bali News:
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During the first week of the new visa-on-arrival policy's introduction at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport, it appears that local immigration officers are applying the very letter of the law against the visitors of certain countries arriving in Indonesia without a visa. In the first four days of the new visa policy following its February 1, 2004 introduction, at least 42 foreign nationals were refused entry into Indonesia and required to leave on the next outbound flight during the first week of the new policy.

Under the new policy the nationals of 11 countries and territories are given visa free of charge upon landing in Bali while the nationals of 21 other countries are eligable to obtain a visa at the airport following the payment of a US$ 25 fee for a 30 day visa and US$ 10 for a 3 day visa. Nationals from any country not on the free-visa or visa-purchasable on arrival list, however, must first obtain a visa from an Indonesian Embassy of Consulate before landing in the country.

According to local press reports, 42 tourists, some of them elderly, were forced to immediately fly out of the Country when they arrived without a visa in their passport. The affected tourists were from Spain, The Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Mexico, Turkey and Ireland - all countries whose nationals are required to obtain a visa before landing in Indonesia.

The tourists supposedly arrived in Bali with the mistaken impression that they would be able to secure a visa after paying a fine at the airport.

In reality, however, the immigration authorities are applying a strict interpretation of the rules and refusing any special facilities to such passengers, requiring those affected to immediately depart and apply abroad should they wish to try to return to Indonesia.

The Government says the new visa policy generated more than US$ 143,000 in state revenues from visa fees during the first two days of the program's introduction.

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