**Note the following guide has been created from our first hand experience of extending our VOA in Bali in January 2017. We are not visa experts by any stretch but hope that this guide will be useful to some of you
So you’re looking to go Bali (great choice!) but are wondering how you can stay for longer than 30 days? Well the process is actually very simple, but requires a bit of messing about and legwork, but in the end, you will get to stay in Bali for another 30 days, 60 in total.
We ended up learning about this process by default, as we had planned to only be in Bali for the allowed 30 days, but then booked our flights in reverse chronological order, cherry picking the date we wanted our final flight and leaving us over staying our Bali visa by 3 days. Ironically, the 3 days ‘extra’ we got in Bali were all written off by having to visit the visa office!
Note – if your over stay your visa by only a day or two, you can plead ignorance and remorse at the airport and receive a fine of IDR300,000 per day of your overstay, if this works out cheaper/more convenient for you.
Arrival in Denpasar airport
Ok, so you’ve done your research and you know you want to extend your visa and stay for up to 60 days total, what do you do?!
The visa extension process actually begins not long after you’re off the plane. As you walk through the airport (before baggage claim), follow signs for VOA and immigration. You will eventually enter a huge room with a line of desks that everyone gravitates towards. This is the passport check and immigration check but you do not want to be at these desks yet. Spin around and look for the ‘Visa on Arrival Payment Counter’.
The staff are friendly enough and were able to help our clueless selves through the process of getting our VOA ball rolling. Here you will pay USD$35 in equivalent currency in exchange for a small purple slip. DO NOT LOOSE THIS SLIP! It is your ticket to a visa extension and without it you cannot complete the rest of the process. Currencies accepted at the payment counter include Euros, Aussie or New Zealand Dollars, US Dollars, Rupiahs, Pounds and just about any other moderately-well-off-country’s currency. Your change will be given in Rupiahs which is handy for paying the taxi to your hotel!
Once you have your purple slip, you are free to go through the passport check with everyone else and out into the alluring, chaotic wide world of Bali!
The Next Step
The next thing you need to do is wait! The immigration office will turn you away if you have ‘too long’ left on your first visa, whatever that means. We gave it about 2 weeks before we made the trip, and it worked out ok for us.
Note – the following step by step is specifically for the Denpasar Immigration Office, and while the process will be the same at other offices, the specifics of where the go etc will obviously not be accurate.
So you’re inside the window for getting the extension started, now you need to find the closest office to where you’re staying (we’d heard that if you go to a different one, say because it lines up better with later on in your trip for example, that they may turn you away and send you to the closer one. We decided we wouldn’t test that hearsay and from Sanur, headed to the Denpasar Office.
There are offices located in Denpasar (south), Jimbaran (further south) and Singaraja (north). We have also heard you can apply for your extension at the airport but double check that before making the trip. Also make sure you double check the opening hours for your intended office as they tend to open at 9am or later, and close around 2pm. They do not open on a weekend.
For your first visit you will need:
Note – don’t worry if you haven’t been able to copy your passport, there is a small shop near the immigration office that copy your picture page and your visa page for IDR1000. If you are already inside the immigration office, come back outside and turn to face the entrance. Go to the left and continue around the side of the building and you will see the sign that says ‘fotocopy’. Go inside and hand them your passport. They know exactly what to do and quite frankly, look totally over it!! The lady who dealt with us only said two words the whole time we were there and that was after she’d done the deed… “two thousand”. IDR2000 was handed over and we returned to the immigration office with everything we needed.
The First Visit
Ok, so you jump out of your taxi and follow the crowds to the front of the building. There will be all sorts of different people from different nationalities here, all doing their different things. Presuming you have all the right documents (more on that in a sec), go inside and turn right. Go straight down to the last room which will look like this.
Go to counter 1 or 2, not the first one on the left (follow the arrow on the image below. Note – position of the 2 girls may be different to what is shown) and ask for a Visa on Arrival application form. You will be given 2 pieces of paper in a pinky red card folder. It is up to you whether you take a ticket from the machine at this point, or wait until after you’ve completed the forms. We took a ticket first and then missed our call because we were still writing! The ticket machine is what the two girls are pointing at in the image.
On your paperwork, fill out the top three boxes on the pinky red folder, which are your name, residence in bali and nationality. Then fill out the first form and remember to sign the bottom. Fill out the front of the second form. We were able to leave the reference in Bali section blank, and used a parent for the ‘family abroad’ area. Sign where indicated on the back of the form (which is in mostly Balinese, but we left the rest blank)
At the desk, they will take your completed forms and the pink/red folder holding them, your physical passport, the copies of your passport picture page and visa page, and both copies of your flight confirmation. They will check everything while you stand there and ask you to amend or complete things accordingly if you haven’t done it right (like us!). This was the point we realised we didn’t have our copies of the visa page so were sent to get them. When we got back, we jumped the queue and headed straight back to the counter to complete the process. We were told to sit back down and listen for our names being called. This took only a couple of minutes, but the room is pretty noisy so you have to listen carefully. They tend to call out your first name as it appears on your passport, so this can include your middle name too – no surname. You will go to the counter to the left of counter 1 & 2 and be given a slip of paper with a return date and time (or timeframe in our case it was any time between 8am -12pm), and that is it for visit 1.
The Second Visit
For your second visit, make sure you’ve got deep pockets! Go through the entrance of the building like in visit 1, but this time the desk your want is just before the end room from last time. You want the Cashier’s desk, pictured below. Put the appointment slip that you were given at the last visit on the cashier’s spike (you can just see it to the left of the ‘cashier’ sign in the picture below), then listen out for them calling your name. Once you’re called, you will pay the fee of IDR355000 per person, then be given another slip to take to the counter to the left of ‘counter 1 & 2’ in the end room. Then it’s back to the waiting game as you listen for your name to be called.
When you are called up, go to that same counter and someone will appear out of the door to the left to take you in. Note that if you are doing this process with someone else as we were, this is the first time you will be split up as you are called one at a time.
Once you are in the room, the officer will ask you a couple of harmless questions about when you leave and where you’re staying etc, take your picture and your finger prints. Don’t be alarmed if he moves to grab your fingers – he’s just trying to apply the right amount of pressure onto the reader which is susceptible to the humidity.
After your mugshot and prints have been taken, you will get yet another slip with a time and date for your third and final visit and be sent on your way.
The Third Visit
With a spring in your step and feeling like a Balinese immigration pro, you stroll through the entrance and head down to the room at the end of the corridor again. This time you head to the only counter you haven’t yet been acquainted with – the one that faces you as you walk down the corridor. Hand them the slip and you will be told to take a seat and listen out for your name.
At one point in the waiting process, I thought my name had been called so went up to the counter only to be shown my ticket, which said to return at 2pm, and was told it was only 1:57pm and go back and wait! At 2:03pm, we were called up
When you are called, you will be asked to sign a register, be given your passport and the officer will verbally tell you the date you have to leave by. Make sure that date is what you were expecting or else I dread to think how many more tickets and name-calls you would have to go through!!
Once you have your passport, you are free to go! Officially with a completed VOA extension you should feel absolutely chuffed to bits and look forward to having fun for the rest of your stay.
Enjoy it & let us know if you need any other advice!
Kay and Dom