The visa on arrival only allows for a maximum stay of one month and a two month tourist visa can also be applied for in advance. For longer stays however, you will need to apply for a social visa otherwise known as the Sosial Budaya visa.
The social visa needs to be applied for in advance at your local Indonesian embassy or consulate. The visa is good for 60 days and can be extended on a monthly basis, for a maximum stay of six months. As the name implies that visa is for people wishing to visit friends and family in Indonesia, but does not allow you to undertake any form of work, paid or unpaid.
To apply for a Social Visa, you need an Indonesian sponsor. This can be any friend you have in Indonesia. Your sponsor is required to vouch for you should you get into any trouble in Indonesia and while the person can be anyone you know, if you can, choose someone with a steady job or business in the country.
Where can I find a sponsor?
There are companies that will help organize a sponsor, but if it is your first time to Indonesia, it could be a good idea to come on a tourist visa, make some friends and ask one of them to be your sponsor. I have heard of some people asking for money to be your sponsor and while I don’t think there is a problem giving a gift to someone for going to the trouble of sponsoring you, I don’t think it is a good idea to encourage people to ask for payment.
What do I need from my sponsor?
You need a copy of your sponsor’s KTP (ID card) and a letter from them inviting you to Indonesia. Other websites I have read, said you also need a copy of your sponsor’s family register and a copy of your sponsor’s bank account statement.
I only needed a copy of the KTP and letter of invitation when I applied for my visa in Malaysia.
Where should I apply for the visa?
The visa is reportedly easiest to get at the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur or in Singapore. It might take longer or you might need more documents if you apply in your own country. Your passport can be dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon.
Address and telephone number of the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur
233, Jalan Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan 50400, Malaysia
+60 3 2116-4000
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Address and telephone number of the Indonesian embassy in Singapore
Embassy Of Republic Of Indonesia, 7 Chatsworth Road (S)249761
+65 6737 7422
The visa takes a whole page in your passport and when you get the visa, check that your sponsor’s name appears on the visa.
Should I do it myself or use an agent?
Everyone has their own opinion as to whether you should do the renewals yourself or to use an agent. If you do it yourself, you need to visit the immigration office in person three times for each renewal. The first time to submit your application, the second time to get notified when it will be ready and the third time to pick up your completed visa, over the course of about a week, or sometimes more. Since you need to do this every month and you need to apply for the visa at least one week before your visa expires, you will have to visit immigration almost every week.
This is fine if you are near an immigration office, but if you have to travel a bit to get to the office, you could be wasting nearly a day each time.
It is not surprising that people use agents for their renewals. A renewal costs about 350,000 rupiah each extension if you do it yourself and around 600,000-700,000 in total if you use an agent. Some expats just leave their passport with the agent for their whole time in Bali, so they don’t have to worry about dropping off and picking up their passport every month.
If you travel in the country, a photocopy is usually enough to check into a hotel. So, usually this is not a problem. You should make sure your agent is a reliable person, because if you overstay your visa, you will have to pay a fine for each day and long overstays could cause serious trouble with immigration.
On the second renewal, you need to visit the immigration office in person to get finger printed and photographed, even if you are using an agent.
Where to renew your social visa
You need to apply for an extension at least one week before your visa expires. There are three offices in Bali.
Office in Jimbaran:
Jl. Taman Jimbaran no.1, Mumbul, Kuta Selatan, District Nusa Dua
Jl. Jalan D.I. Panjaitan
Desa Sumerta Klod, Denpasar Timur
Jl. Raya Singaraja-Seririt
If you have any questions about applying for visas or living in Bali, I would suggest joining the Bali Expat Forum.