One of the most common issues that foreigners in Bali talk about is immigration law. It is a reality that the Indonesian immigration makes things difficult for foreigners – so if you are not careful, you could be in trouble such as being deported, or ending up in jail.
However, if you want to avoid these problems, it is not that difficult. All you have to do is do not underestimate the legal way and make sure you do not commit the following offences because the reason why you might be deported from Bali might surprise you.
In case you have already got into troubles with the Indonesian immigration, read Deportation from Indonesia: An Introduction and Solution.
Let’s face it. No one would enjoy going through immigration. We all know that even when you have nothing to hide, certain things should never come out of your mouth – which may be treated as disrespect or insult to the immigration officer.
There is a horrific story told by a foreigner in Indonesia – he used an insulting word and “kantor imigrasi” (which means immigration office in Indonesian) in his tweet due to a visa extension issue. Unfortunately, social media is a public space and the immigration officers got to know about it soon.
As a result, he was put in a detention centre and then deported. Remember, be respectful to the officers and the local culture.
Since Bali is now flooded with a huge number of digital nomads, some officials might try to make money from them.
In Bali, if you are on a Visa-on-Arrival (VOA), social visa or in fact any visa without a work permit, you are not allowed to do any work – yes, we mean any freelancing work including filming, travel blog, modelling, etc.
If you do so, and you are not even hiding your business activity and doing a job for Balinese companies, you can expect officers knocking on your door soon.
Beware, any activity you are paid for is considered as a business and breaking the law. You might have seen dozens of photographers and models taking pictures on Balinese beaches, but have you heard the story of Canadian and American photo shooting group being deported because of that?
Due to the previous conflict between Papua and Indonesia, it was reported that several informal restrictions apply, and journalists may be put on the immigration blacklist.
The most recent story happened last year to an Australian journalist on her honeymoon to Papua via Bali. She was also reportedly deported soon after, but the exact reasons remain unclear.
This is not a particularly shocking reason that you might get deported. Just a gentle reminder – do not exceed the limit on your visa as it is a surefire way to get you deported from Bali immediately if you do not pay the fine.
For the free visa, you are only permitted to say up to 30 days, for Visa-on-Arrival – which is extendable – your stay in Indonesia is limited to 60 days.
If you overstay less than 30 days, a daily fine applies, and you can leave the country after you pay. However, in case you exceed your stay in Bali for more than 30 days, get ready for blacklisting and deportation.
If you apply for a temporary stay visa in your home country prior to your arrival in Bali, you will get a VITAS (Visa Tinggal Terbatas). Many foreigners think a VITAS would allow them to stay up to 2 years.
However, this is a big mistake.
Your VITAS is only an entry visa to Bali, and you will need to convert it to ITAS (Izin Tinggal Terbatas) at the local immigration within 7 days upon arrival.
Failure to do so will make you deported and may not be able to enter the country for at least 6 months.
In summary, a foolproof not to get deported as a foreigner is to apply for the proper visa that suits your purpose of stay or work in Bali. In addition, we highly advise you not to take up any job without a work permit in Bali and avoid frequent and short visa runs that will put you under the immigration’s radar.
If you need advice regarding the visa proceeding or immigration law issues in Bali, please consult Cekindo’s professional advisors.