On April 27, Indonesia made entering Bali, Batam, Bintan, and Nunukan easy for yachts now that quarantine is lifted for arrivals by sea or air. This is especially good news for foreign-flagged yachts since a new visa is on the horizon as the country returns to pre-COVID times. Once in effect, the visa will provide a continuous 180-day stay in Indonesia with no extensions needed.
“Previously, this 180-day visa needed extensions every 30 days, which was very annoying for cruising around this large country as trips often would have to get interrupted by [visiting] an immigration office,” says Thomas Taatjes, a former yacht captain and now manager at Asia Pacific Superyachts (Indonesia).
This new 180-day visa complements the Visa on Arrival (30 days and extendable for another 30 days) and the free Visa Exemption, which is valid only for a maximum of 30 days. Taatjes adds that “the other visa will be shortened to 60 or 90 days, maximum yet to be confirmed. All in all, this gives a lot of more visa options and flexibility that agents can advise incoming yachts,” says Taatjes.
President of Indonesia Joko Widodo recently issued a Presidential Decree regarding visa-free facility for visitors from 90 countries and a Presidential Decree for easy access for foreign yachts to enter Indonesia.
Even before COVID-19, this new visa has been in discussion for a few years, and was being pushed by APS Indonesia. “Visas and immigration matters were very tightly regulated before COVID, with little room for changes possible,” says Taatjes. “However, since COVID, the government has re-evaluated the visa situation and changes have become more progressive [and] easier to be implemented.”
Since quarantines are no longer required when entering Indonesia, you can also expect to skip the PCR test on arrival; Visa on Arrival has been reinstated for many countries, too, reports Taatjes. He adds that APS will keep advising clients so they’re aware of the last-known situation for entering Indonesia. Furthermore, foreign yachts no longer will be requested to have a CAIT (Clearance, Approval for Indonesia Territory) permit to enter the country.
“Indonesia is currently seeing a big progressive push towards marine facilities and the overall welcoming of visiting yachts,” Taatjes says about the vast tropical country that’s made up of more than 17,000 islands. It “spans both sides of the equator, making for year-around cruising. It holds vast beauty both above and below the water line and myriad of cultures and diversity to explore.”