Visa on Arrival, Fiscal Tax

Jan 24th, 2007, in Travel, by

On visas and fiscal tax.

Comments on these two interesting topics are split off from the Dating Indonesian Girls page to prevent it going wildly off-topic.

The nationals of many countries have, since 2004, been required to pay a small fee to obtain a tourist visa to enter Indonesia, called Visa On Arrival.

Meanwhile Indonesian citizens and foreigners employed in Indonesia are required to pay a fee of one million rupiah (about $110) each time they leave the country. The fee, called Fiscal Tax, is meant to be an advance payment on that person’s income tax for the next year. Technically citizens who have paid it can claim it back on their tax return, but this is rarely done as many claim that doing so invites the attention of tax auditors.


February 16th 2007.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla announced that shortly tourist visas will have a duration of four months, in order to attract more foreign tourists. Visitors have complained that 30 days is far too short a time to take in the vast archipelago. antara

159 Comments on “Visa on Arrival, Fiscal Tax”

  1. Peter says:

    I have another question, though: If I study abroad in Australia, is it possible for me to go from Australia to Indonesia – even though I’m not an Australian citizen?

    And also, any things I should watch out for if I visit Indonesia?


  2. Anna says:

    As far I know you can go from Australia to Indonesia. Even you are not Australian Citizen. But to make sure perhaps you can ask the consulate.

    Well, when you visit Indonesia, just be careful if there a guy/girl come to you and try to offer you something, it’s a scam, they will say anything to get you go with them. And if you have foreign money, only go to authorized places who can exchange it. I like go to the bank instead, more save.

    Well, if you ever go to bali I have a friend, he is english, he have been lived there since 95, well, actually at Java at first, and he move to bali. Maybe he can show better.


  3. Ihaknt says:

    Peter, depending on your passport, you may have to buy a visa on arrival US$ 25. Have a great holiday! I hope you enjoy your time there. Oh, watch out for the bird flu i guess, and make sure you have the address of your embassy, just in case. Have fun!

  4. Anna says:


    I think it’s depend you going to Indonesia as a tourist or as student.
    Because there is a different, as a tourist visa you do have to pay 25 bucks on arrival, but for the student visa which mean that you take a study in Indonesia, you have to go Indonesian consulate in australia and ask for.
    but hey”¦just to make sure”¦Just call and ask about all this information.
    ask to someone that really know what they doing.

    Good luck and have fun.

  5. Parvita says:

    Peter: Usually when people come here, they already have someone that they know that lives here to show places. But hey, if you are a young student, just back pack over here and you will definetely meet another backpacker and by those Lonely Planet book on Indonesia. Mr. Bush probably is putting Indonesia as one of the travel warning place though.

  6. Dimp says:

    On the topic of VOA, what is the purpose of this? Indonesia needs all the tourists it can get, VOA is just another hinderance for overseas tourists who wants to stay longer in Indonesia.

    Another “fumble” from the government.

    While on VOA, what do you think of the “Fiscal policy” for people who want to go overseas, do you think it is justified for them to pay Rp. 1.000.000 just to go to out of the country?

  7. Anna says:


    I think fiscal policy is ridiculous, I don’t even sure or know what the purpose if that policy.
    And, No I don’t think its justified for them to pay Rp 1.000.000, just to go out of the country,
    supposedly is for tax purposes, but I hear from the news they have to pay Rp 1,500.000, it’s went up.

    I thought is POA, which is, they have to go out of the country just for the foreigner to renew their visa.
    I don’t know, this government issues is so screw up, it’s pathetic.
    And most of the official don’t know what they doing, and its getting that way all offer the world.

  8. Dimp says:

    Hi Anna,

    Not all over the world, some bureaucracies in the world are a bit annoying but they tend to help to maintain order, but on some corrupt countries (ie. Indonesia). They always think something to “fatten” their own pockets, everything needs to be taken care with “some fees”.

    In Australia a lot of things used to be for free, Universities Guides for example. Now they are charging for these guides, but more because this good will was abused by some people.

    So not all bureaucracies are bad, but in the examples above for Visa on Arrival and the fiscal policy, these are clearly just another abuse by the officials to gain something extra.

  9. Anna says:


    Well I supposed you are right not all offer the world, that have that kind of bureaucracies. And as you know Indonesia probably the most worst, when it come to a government issues, and yes that’s is very annoying.
    I mean just about everything you have to use a bribe, They always think something to “fatten” their own pockets, everything needs to be taken care with “some fees”.

    So, I supposed you are Australian?

    Ok, not all bureaucracies are bad, And I agree with you about this Visa and fiscal policy, just another for them to get more money out of you.

  10. Dimp says:

    Nope, still Indonesian thus my attention to the state of our country.

  11. Parvita says:

    On Fiscal Tax: I heard the opposite though, that fiscal tax will be stopped. By the way, you can redeem your fiscal tax.

    On Visa: I sort of like that we don’t have to ask for Visa if I travel in Southeast Asia.

  12. Dimp says:

    Hi Parvita,

    On Visa, yep not only in Southeast Asia though, some countries like Chile accept Indonesian passport without any Visa. But then Argentina actually considers Indonesia as “special country”. Found this the hard way.

    On all, the VoA policy applied by Indonesian government is just a joke, you need all the overseas people to come and spend their money in Indonesia, don’t hinder then from doing this.

  13. Parvita says:

    Dimp: why is VoA ridiculous? Forgive me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that Visa is a permit to enter a country, don’t we need a permit when we enter any country? And to have a record that we are in the country, so if something happens, say, accident, it is much easier?

  14. ali says:


    On Fiscal Tax: I heard the opposite though, that fiscal tax will be stopped. By the way, you can redeem your fiscal tax.

    Yes, technically you can redeem your fiscal tax when you file your annual tax, but that will put you under the “lebih bayar” category, which means the government has to pay you back. And guess what when that happens: they will audit you. And what’s next? right or wrong, they will make you look wrong in an attempt to blackmail you.

    No, this is NOT a myth, it happened to an unsuspecting (and under-informed) friend of mine last year.

  15. Joy says:


    When Indonesia collects Visa On Arrival, I think it is mostly for the money not really for the “permit” to enter the country. Because everybody will be granted the visa as long as they pay. But for some countries (Japan, Australia or America, etc) you really need a “permit” to enter the country. These countries can denies request for people that want to visit their countries. Not everybody that want to go, can enter the country.

    Anyway, if I am not mistaken, 4 or 5 years ago Americans did not need any visa to enter Indonesia.

  16. Anna says:


    I agree on that, when Indonesia collects Visa On Arrival, it’s not really “permit” to enter the country.

    No, not really everybody will granted their Visa, as long as their pay.

    For instant, US visa, yes you have to pay to get the visa, but that does not mean you will get the visa, and if you are get it, and that’s doesn’t mean you can enter the country, especially after 9/11, everything is so strict, all the airport security is very strict, custom, now you can’t even bring a lotion,tooth paste, hair spray or just about anything (for carrier bag), they said because all that make-up stuff contain explosive ingredients.

    Yup when you offer pay on tax, they will audit, and they give you a hard time, but you know what it happen to one of my friend and luckily we got the best tax people.

  17. Tomaculum says:

    I have no problem with paying the VOA, for the tourist visa for Germany you have to pay too (since Jan. 1st, 2007, about 60 € (for max. 90 days in 6 months). But I have the problem with the unfriendliness and the impoliteness of those officers.

    The 25 US$ are administrative charges. But I still don’t understand the purpose of the fiscal tax even for foreigners who visite Indonesia with sosial-budaya visa (= for visiting family, friends, etc). Just one money source more?

    As my sister visited me in Europe for 3 months, she didn’t have to pay for the permission to leave the country again.

    This is in my eye only one more arbitrariness.

  18. Joy says:

    Hi Tom,
    I think only Indonesian citizen that need to pay the Fiscal (Rp. 1.000.000,- ?) when they want to go out of the country.

  19. Andrew says:

    If you are an Indonesian citizen living in a different country, you can be exempted from paying fiscal everytime you leave Indonesia (e.g. your “mudik” trip). There is a limitation on the number of exemptions per year per person (2x if I’m not mistaken…)

  20. Tomaculum says:

    no, even as a foreigner living in Indonesia for a longer time (working, visiting family etc.) you have to pay fiscal too. I don’t know the time limit for sure. But as a foreigner studying in Indonesia you can request for an exemption.

    you’re right. As far as I know 2 times per anno.

  21. Anna says:

    Tomaculum, Joy

    Only for Indonesian have to pay a fiscal, but for foreigner who living in Indonesia they pay the fiscal, when they have KITAS, which is the foreigner working there, I mean that is ridiculous (still), the foreigner pay the tax every year for US$ 1.500, and every time they leave the country they still have to pay tax.



    The Indonesia Minister of Justice and Human Rights has announced that the VISA on ARRIVAL (VoA) will be introduced on February 01, 2004 for foreign visitors arriving by air in Jakarta (SOE-HATTA), Bali (Ngurah Rai), Medan (Polonia), Manado (Sam Ratulangi), Surabaya (Juanda), and Padang (Tabing), as well as sea ports of Batam, Tanjung Priok, Belawan, Jayapura, Benoa, and Tanjung Perak. In short VoA eligible visitors will pay an entry fee upon arrival………..

    I still say all new regulation is BS, I put there just for the information purposes, so we all not get little confused.

  22. Ihaknt says:

    Andrew, it’s 4x.

    I dont mind the VoA either, as I’ve seen that the process is not that ‘difficult’. It’s the usual fill out a form and pay. But what i dont get is why and what for? The closest thing I can think of is probably to provide monotonous jobs, to record how many visitors and in case of emergency, they can go back to the form and look for their details. BUT, I doubt they have a sophisticated filing system. I would rather get a VoA then having to send my passport to obtain a visa, i.e schengen visa, there’s a risk of losing it on the mail.

    And for the fiscal? Pah!! Stupid, and outdated! It makes people think twice to go abroad. I think in a way that contributes to how some Indo are not open-minded. They cant get to know their neighbors. Only the well-off can afford going abroad. And the havenots can only ‘see’ luar negeri from TV, and only see what the medias show them. 1 Mil maynot be hugely substantial these days, but it’s still a good chunk of spending money goes to the already-corrupt government.

    I think (and hope) they will abolish this fiscal policy. It’s like a ‘wall’ divider. That way more Indo can and would like to see their neighbors, and see that their neighbors are not as bad as they assume. For example the Berlin wall, when it was knocked down, the people from both parties learnt that the people from the other side are just it, PEOPLE, with similar social issues and problems. And wonder why their parents were killing and hating each other.

  23. Anna says:


    Well they say fiscal is for tax purposes, but still it is no sense for the citizen have to pay that fee just to go out of the country. And we all know most (not some) of Indonesian are not paying taxes.

    Well how can some people can go out of Indonesia or visit their close neighbors when they can not even lived for today. All that only for the people who have money and lots of money. (No offense). And why they just pass that new regulation about VOA, and for really for what?
    There’s no VOA before, so what change?

  24. Dimp says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Yes I can confirm that they have changed the policy for fiscal free travel to 4 times for Indonesian living abroad, although I don’t really appreciate the way they handle this, the way you have fill in a form, queuing up to return the form along with your passport, then again queuing up again to retrieve your passport. All in all it can take up to 20-30 minutes. And when you are already finish queuieng to be checked in for 1 hour, you don’t really want to see another queue again.

    Why can’t they incorporate this to the check in gate? Or do this electronically, you can have a special stamp on your passport or anything.

    Anyway, probably the best thing is to eradicate the fiscal policy at the airport.

  25. Ihaknt says:

    Anna, I don’t personally know. I only found out the visa thing early last year. But I can only guess it’s to provide jobs, and as Dimp mentioned, queues, I personally never get the visa as I am Indo, but my friends who visited with me did, and they didn’t seem to mind. I don’t really agree with it, but if it provides jobs for people then why not. At least the way I see it, people (non-Indo) don’t have to go all the way to the embassy in their country just to get the US$ 25 visa. I think that would be more hassle than having to fill up the form while queuing. I do my fair share of queuing to obtain visas for other people and I can tell you it’s very mind-numbing, boring, and expensive.

  26. Joy says:

    See, you learn something new everyday. Thanks, guys.

    I found that it is easier just asking for the VOA when visiting my family in Indo rather than applying for the visa from the Indonesian Embasy (need pictures, forms, invitation letter from the family back in Indo, etc..).

    But if you want to stay for more than 1 month than you have to go thru the embassy as VoA only good for 1 month (tourist).

  27. Andrew says:

    Ihaknt / Dimp – thanks, so it’s 4x (although 2x is enough for me, I don’t get to go back there more than twice a year).

    BTW, I agree with you, they should just get rid of that fiscal tax.

    I remember in the 80’s we used to have something called “exit permit” – even leaving our own country needed a permit back then.

  28. Dimp says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Yes, but twice was inconvenient, let’s say you go to Indo, then you decided to travel to Singapore, and bought the ticket return CGK-SIN-CGK, that’s already one of the two free rides you already take, then when you have to return you have to use the other one… and that’s it, at least with 4 free rides you have more choices.

    I don’t quite understand why you pay only Rp. 500.000,00 if you travel via sea from Batam to Singapore, and if you hold Sumatran or Kalimantan ID then you don’t have to pay fiscal if you travel to Singapore from Batam.

    Of course this gets abused daily, you can actually pay less than the Rp. 500.000,00 if you pay through the check-in agent. Or you can always obtain the Sumatran or Kalimantan ID.

    So all in all the whole system can be manipulated for your convenience, thus again the integrity of the system is questionable.

  29. PerempuanRantau says:

    Never understand why fiscal tax is necessary anyway. Especially when you have to go abroad for some nationalistic purpose (of course you can exempt it but still the bureaucracy is quite long). Last time thanks to the changing address at my ID card from Indonesia to foreign country, I don’t have to pay the fiscal tax anymore. I usually agree with tax as a good way to build infrastructure and such but this time I really see no points of fiscal tax. I mean there’s not much improvement at the airport anyway.

  30. Tomaculum says:

    Do the people going to hadj also have to pay the fiscal tax?

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