Indonesia: Visa exemption extended to 169 countries

Under a presidential decree, Indonesia has exempted nationals from 169 countries from the requirement of obtaining visitor visas.

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What does the change mean? Business travelers should be aware that while the visa exemption does allow some business activities, permitted activities are explicitly limited to the following: attending meetings held by the head office or representative office or attending seminars. Any other business activities require applying and obtaining a business visa before travel.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Who is affected: Business travelers.
  • Business impact: Business travelers conducting the permitted business activities will save time and have fewer administrative hurdles by not having to apply for visas.
  • Next steps: Companies should ensure that employees are well informed about the limited nature of the permitted business activities if they intend to travel without a visa.

Background: Previously, visa-exempt nationals could travel to Indonesia without a visa for tourism or leisure only (except ASEAN nationals who could attend business meetings). The new decree expands the number of visa-exempt countries and allows those entering Indonesia without a visa to visit for tourism, leisure, family and social visits, government visits and flight transfers, as well as to attend seminars or give lectures or to attend business meetings held by the head office or a representative office.

The list of the 169 countries may be viewed here.

BAL Analysis: Although certain business activities can now be carried out visa-free in Indonesia, if the duration of stay exceeds 30 days, an appropriate business visa or work permit must be obtained prior to travel. BAL continues to recommend that business travelers apply for a business visa when conducting any type of business activities in Indonesia, to reduce the risk of being denied entry or being detained by Indonesian authorities in-country for not holding the appropriate visa.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network partner in Indonesia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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