Indonesia is gradually relaxing its immigration restrictions to support the country's economic recovery amidst the pandemic. On 1 October 2020, the Minister of Law and Human Rights (MOLHR) issued Regulation No. 26 of 2020 (Regulation 26) which lifted the immigration restrictions in Regulation No. 11 of 2020 (Regulation 11). The MOLHR also launched an online visa application process to create a faster, easier and more transparent entry permit service.
Easing of Travel Restrictions
Previously, under Regulation 11, all foreign nationals were prohibited from entering or transiting in Indonesia with limited exception for those with valid permanent or limited stay permits (Visa Tinggal Terbatas or VITAS) (amongst others).
Under Regulation 26, a greater number of foreign nationals are permitted to enter the country, including those on visitor visas (subject to health protocol clearance as determined by the authorities) and those holding an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Card.
However, it appears that only single-entry visitor visas are currently permitted Regulation 26 does not expressly permit multiple-entry visas. Further, the issuance of visa exemptions and visas on arrival will be temporarily ceased until the pandemic is over. Therefore, employers whose foreign employees need to travel to Indonesia for business will need to apply for visitor visas on their behalf, even though the employees have been granted visa exemptions or visas on arrival in the past.
Additional Documents for New VITAS or Visitor Visa Applications
In Indonesia, VITAS and visitor visa applications are submitted on the foreign nationals' behalf by their guarantors. A guarantor is an individual or an entity that is responsible for the foreigner's activities in Indonesia. For a multinational corporation, the Indonesian entity usually acts as the guarantor.
Under Regulation 26, the guarantor now needs to submit the following additional documents for VITAS or visitor visa applications:
- a health certificate (in English) issued by the relevant authority in the foreigner's country of origin certifying that the individual is free from COVID-19;
- a statement (in English) stating that the foreigner is willing to be quarantined and/or obtain medical treatment at their own expense if, upon arrival in Indonesia, they test positive for, or show symptoms of, COVID-19;
- a statement stating the foreigner's willingness to be monitored for medical purposes during any quarantine or isolation period (this statement should presumably be prepared in English, although this is not expressly stated); and
- evidence of health/travel insurance with medical coverage and/or a statement stating the individual's willingness to pay for their own treatment if they become infected with COVID19 during their stay in Indonesia.
Additionally, for a visitor visa application, the guarantor must submit proof of funds of at least US$10,000 or equivalent to cover the foreigner's living costs in Indonesia. This requirement is waived for foreign nationals who are medical or food aid workers or transportation crew members.
Previously, permitted activities that foreign nationals on VITAS or visitor visas could perform in Indonesia were set out in MOLHR Regulation No. 24 of 2016.
Regulations 26 now sets out a narrower list of permitted activities that may be performed:
In particular, the new list of permitted activities for VITAS holders no longer contains activities such as conducting artistic, music or sports performances, professional sports activities or movie productions. For visitor visas, the new list of permitted activities does not include tourism, family or social visits or arts and cultural visits.
MOLHR recently introduced an online visa application. Applicants will only need to submit visa applications and provide the required data on www.visa-online.imigrasi.go.id. The outcome will be delivered to the applicant's emails.
The changes are intended to encourage more business travel to Indonesia. However, employers will need to factor in the additional time required to furnish extra documents if a new VITAS or visitor visa application is required.
Employers should also ensure that their foreign employees comply with the new list of permitted activities. In our experience, the manpower and immigration authorities often act on anonymous tips and investigate foreign nationals who perform activities beyond the terms of their visas. If found to be in breach, foreign nationals may be subject to penalties, including deportation and a monetary fine.