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The On-Again Off-Again Visa Saga

Watch This Space. Visa Fee to be Introduced on December 1. Well, Maybe.

(9/10/2003) When, exactly, the proposed visa-fee-on-arrival policy will be introduced, which countries will have to pay the fee, and how much that fee will be remains clouded in confusion.

Introduction on December 1?

Latest statements attributed to Yusril Ihza Mahendra, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, indicate that the new visa policy will be introduced "at the latest" on December 1, 2003. The Minister also reportedly stated that the exact amount of the visa fee was yet to be decided, but did say that the visa issuance against a fee on arrival would eventually apply to the nationals of 22 countries and Taiwan.

Those Who Will Pay

Rumors persist that the eventual fee for a visa of 30 day's duration, extendable for an additional 15 days, will be available to the citizens of the following countries: France, Spain, Switzerland, United States of America, Australia, Norway, South Korea, Canada, Germany, Italy, U.K., Poland, Russian Federation, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, Finland, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Argentina, Brazil, Hungary and Taiwan.

The Countries that Will Obtain Visa Free Arrivals

With the new visa policy's emphasis on reciprocity, the following countries will continue to continue to receive a visa-free on arrival for a period, assumed to remain at the current 60 days: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong SAR, Chile, Morocco, Macau SAR, and Peru.

Disaffection for New Visa Policy in Bali

The introduction of the new visa policy has now been delayed for 3 times. The initial introduction of the Presidential Decree dated March 31st was scheduled for September 1, 2003. That date was pushed back to October 1, 2003, and, then, moved to the latest date of December 1, 2003 following mass demonstrations in Bali calling for the delayed implementation of the new policy until Indonesia's tourism industry recovered from its current depression.

The Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Putu Agus Antara, commenting in the Indonesian-language Bali Post on the latest announcement said: "Which is correct? It is as though the Government is playing around despite the implications and impact (of the policy) on the tourism sector."

Time to Meet the President?

Antara said that if the latest news from Jakarta is correct, it is as though the recently voiced aspirations of the people in Bali are being ignored. "If that's the case," Antara added, "all the tourism stakeholders in Bali are now consolidating to discuss plans to meet directly with President Megawati to make our objections known."

Awaiting the President's Final Review

The final list of countries to be affected by the new policy are subject to a final review by the President, expected to take place at a Cabinet meeting in the coming few weeks.