Confusion Following Changes in Visa Rules

Confusion abounds in local tourism circles following the reports of the suspension of the Free Visitors Visa (BVK) for 159 countries. The sudden ruling ratified on 17 June 2023 leaves only 10 ASEAN member nations eligible for Free Visitors Visas (BVK): Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Cambodia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.

The “BVK” or “Free Visitors Visa” should be differentiated from the Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) that remains available to nationals of 92 countries. 

Quoted by, the sub-coordinator for public relations for the Director-General of Immigration and Human Rights, Achmad Nur Saleh, explained that the Minister’s decision (Keputusan Menteri Hukum dan HAM RI Nomor M.HH-GR.01.07 tahun 2023) temporarily suspending Free Visitors Visas (BVK) is provided under the law as a means to preserve public order, and to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Adding somewhat cryptically in a statement issued on Friday, 16 June 2022: “Based on these considerations, the Minister has taken his decision.”

BVK – Free Visitors Visa

Before the latest ministerial ruling, 159 countries were eligible for Free Visitors Visas (BVK -Bebas Visa Kunjungan). This class of BVK Visa required a “guarantor” or “sponsor” by a company, travel agency, or hotel. 

Application for a BVK could be made OnlineBVKs were valid for 30 days and could not be extended. Also, a BVK that met official conditions could be converted to a longer-term limited stay permit (ITAS).

After 17 June 2023 and until further notice, BVK Visas for 159 countries are no longer available. As an alternative, visitors can utilize an e-VOA (electronic visa on arrival) visitor visa (visa kunjungan), or a temporary stay permit (ITAS).

BVK Visas remain available for ASEAN Member country nationals: Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Cambodia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.

Visa on Arrival (VOA) is Still Available

The popular Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) remains available to passport holders from 92 countries and six-month remaining validity on their passports when landing in Indonesia. No sponsor or guarantor is required for a VOA. that can be obtained at Indonesian Air and Sea Ports after paying an official VoA fee of Rp. 500,0000. 

VoA is valid for 30 days and extendable for 30 days via a local immigration office in Indonesia.

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