How to extend Indonesian visa on arrival (VOA) in Indonesia

What is the best way to extend visa on arrival in Indonesia? I will have 30 days visa on arrival (25 USD) and I need more 30 days without leaving country. It’s possible to extend visa right after you get VOA?

Answer

I have never tried to get my visa extended in Indonesia. Take this is a disclaimer, then, for this what I know from a mix of personal experience and what I’ve heard from other travellers.

A lot of fanfare was made in 2009-2010 when it was announced that VOAs would be made extendable. Technically, the visa-on-arrival is extendable for 30 days in addition to the initial 30 days by visiting a local immigration office – as the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website states. However, the Embassy of Indonesia in UK website makes adds a note:

Please be advised that Visa On Arrival may only be extended upon
approval from the Director General of Immigration of the Republic of
Indonesia in case of natural disaster, illnes [sic] or accident, but
cannot be transferred to another type of visa.

The official website of the Indonesian Tourism Board also states the same. On searching online, it appears other people like this guy – who has an Indonesian wife – could list her as a sponsor and got the visa extended. Others, however, weren’t as successful (search Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree).

To further confuse matters, my Indonesian VOA stamps all state ‘Valid for 1 time only. Not extendable.’ There aren’t multiple categories of VOA, as far as I know, so I don’t know why it says this.

My advice would be that it’s just a lot less hassle to get a 60-day tourist visa by applying at your local embassy / consulate. The less you have to deal with local Imigrasi – from what I’ve heard of experiences from other travellers there – the better for you.

It will probably be cheaper for you too. For VOA, they accept payments in US dollars and Indonesian rupiah. The first time I went to Indonesia I made the mistake of not carrying any USD, only rupiah. The published rate for visa fees in rupiah turns out to be around $3-4 higher – so I ended up paying more. You’ll pay in rupiah at local immigration offices for the extension which means you’ll get the same lousy exchange rate instead of the $25. So paying for the 60-day tourist visa in your own country (roughly $45, depending on country) is going to be cheaper, not to mention less hassle compared to getting it in Indonesia.

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