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Visa concerns for long term stay in Bali


An article popped up in my news feed titled “Visa concerns for Australians living in Bali provide an unwanted reality check“. The headline obviously caught my attention.

The article was talking about an internal immigration memo put out by the head of immigration in Bali, which I wrote about here on October 24. At the time expats living in Bali on tourist/social and business visas were understandably worried. The directive was put out to try and curb the possible misuse of these visas by foreigners working illegally.

The memo was obtained by a visa agent who then started posting rumors of a possible crackdown. Some people thought the agent was just trying to drum up new business. I am sure there are many foreigners abusing the system by working on tourist visas when in fact they should have a working visa. There are also many people who earn income outside Indonesia and are not eligible for retirement our family visas, so either stay in the country on a social or tourist visa. I know because some of my friends live like this. Bali has also become a popular place for FIFO workers to base themselves.

The directive was retracted 10 days after it was initially announced and many foreigners breathed a sigh of relief. This was not mentioned in the original article, but I can see now it has been updated and says “It is unclear if the directive has been enforced, or whether it may have been revoked.” Well I can say that it has definitely been revoked.

As the Indonesian economy has faltered, the government has taken steps to boost tourism and investment to the country, including free visas for many countries (excluding Australia) and an easing on the restrictions for working visas.

From the article:

Beyond these visa options, there is little scope for Australian nationals to achieve permanent resident status. While there is a permanent residence permit, it is available only for a five-year period.

Actually there is a great deal of scope to live permanently in Bali. A KITAS is good for one year and KITAP for 5 years. Both can be easily renewed as long as you continue to meet the requirements. A KITAP is a permanent stay permit. At least in the case of the spouse sponsored KITAP, the 2nd renewal is for life!

From my own personal experience, I have found immigration easier to deal with since first moving to Indonesia, probably due to becoming more familiar with dealing with the bureaucracy, but there has also been some noticeable improvements in efficiency and communication with foreigners.

While there is concern about some foreigners working illegally, the almost immediate revoking of the crackdown directive does show there are some people in the government who understand the economic value foreigners bring to the country.



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7 Responses to Visa concerns for long term stay in Bali

  1. Tom Graciano November 27, 2015 at 9:21 am #

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve been a subscriber of your Bali Expat newsletter since Feb 2012 when I was still living in Singapore. You mentioned in your post that KITAP holder sponsored by a spouse will have the second renewal for life. Would you please elaborate on this?

    I’ve been living here in Bali since Jan 2014 on a 5-year retirement visa which I must renew every year. The agent said when I’ve completed my 5-year stay as KITAS holder I can apply for KITAP which will also be good for 5 years. The agent can’t tell me what happens after I’ve completed another 5-year period as a KITAP holder

    Look forward to hearing from you and thanks in advance.


    • mike November 27, 2015 at 10:38 am #

      I believe after you get your second KITAP you no longer need to renew your visa and there are no further costs, but apparently you need to “check in” with immigration every 5 years. Since I still have a few years to go I can’t say I have been through that process.

  2. Sue Ashen December 21, 2015 at 6:47 am #

    Hi could you give some advice on you how to go about getting a retirement visa and what’s involved , as we are are wanting to come live in Bali and looking at renting long term as we have been coming to Bali since 1980
    Kind Regards

    • mike December 21, 2015 at 7:44 am #

      With regards to the retirement visa you must use an agent. They will tell you what you need. You need to choose the agent wisely as it is apparently difficult to change later. Feel free to send me any questions to:

  3. Megan November 22, 2016 at 2:36 am #

    Hey Mike,
    We are looking to move to Bali from Australia as our children would love to attend the Green School there.
    What is the process to stay long term? I just started looking online and came across your site .. which is fantastic by the way!
    Also looking at purchasing you eBook 😉

    Thanks and look forward to your reply!

    • mike November 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

      The process really depends on what you will be doing in Indonesia when you come. You mentioned your kids going to Green School, the school does have a person who helps out with visas. I wrote my book especially for families like yours so I do think it could be of help to you. I am also available to answer any questions you might have.

  4. christ demeyere March 15, 2017 at 8:54 am #

    my head off the village want not give thepaper stayment why ???? en i life here all ready 10 years en every year no probleme after my divorcing starting watt i can do limited datum its 11 april end off my kita pls help

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