When I first saw @CanadianKMs tweet this a few weeks ago, I thought it was great.
Canadians and Americans now get Visa-Free access to Indonesia! Yay! http://t.co/VTdRDx4RZs
— Jeff (@canadiankms) March 17, 2015
Well, it turns out, its not so great. I received a tweet from 2 Global Nomads today, alerting me to things not looking so bright.
— 2 Global Nomads (@paivisanteri) April 15, 2015
Well, as it turns out, even though the Indonesian government said it would waive the visa requirement for 30 countries (including the US, Canada, and the UK), it’s putting that on hold. I had to dig deep for a supporting FlyerTalk thread (because, after all, someone has to have experienced a rude surprise of having to pay the Visa fee!) If you’re curious, here’s the whole list of folks that probably got excited, only to be let down:
Why backstep on the visa-free policy?
It seems that the answer is that:
The Immigration Law No. 6/2011 stipulates that the only foreigners who are allowed to enter Indonesia without visas are citizens of countries that similarly don’t require Indonesians to get tourist visas. – See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/23/free-visas-30-nations-violates-law-may-not-fly.html#sthash.vGiNhudD.dpuf
In order to waive the visa requirements, or provide them free, Indonesia would have to find some way around Immigration Law No. 6/2011. This is not good for the tourism industry, which likely saw this as a way to make Indonesia more attractive as a vacation destination.
What does that mean for all of us heading there with trips planned?
Not a whole lot. If I had to guess, most folks probably figured they’d have to pay for a Visa anyway. The last time I went to Bali, the Visa on Arrival cost was $25 USD, per person. Looking now to the US State Department’s Travel page, it’s now $35 USD. I sincerely hope that no one would cancel their trip for $35 USD per person, but I could totally see how it would hurt a family of 4, at a price of $140.