Overstaying Your Visa* in Indonesia:
*Visa on arrival (VOA)/Stay Permit/Visit Visa, Limited Stay Visa, KITAS/KITAP
It happens! Sometimes you inadvertently overstay your visa. What should you do? A few options and some great advice:
Prevent an Overstay!
If you are in the country on a limited time visa and you are reading this article BEFORE you have overstayed your visa ... go to the immigration office (before your visa expires!) to extend the visa. Different rules apply to different types of visas and not all of them are extendable (multiple entry visas, free visa, tourist visa)!
Applicable Law: UU No. 6, 2011
CHAPTER VII - Administrative Actions
(1) Holder of an expired Stay Permit but still in the Indonesia for less than 60 (sixty) days from the expiry date of the Stay Permit is charged in accordance with the provisions of the legislation.
(2) Foreigner who does not pay the charges referred to in paragraph (1) is subjected to deportation and blacklisting as a form of deterrence.
(3) Holder of an expired Stay Permit but still in Indonesia for more than 60 (sixty) days from the expiry date of the Stay Permit is subjected to Administrative Measures and Deportation in the form of deterrence.
Note: unofficial translation
If you have a sponsored visa, except when the sponsor is the Indonesian spouse, we understand (from Art. 63 of UU6/2011) that the sponsor may be liable to pay the fine.
Overstaying your Visa for less than 60 Days
Effective May 2019 The visa holder will be fined Rp 1,000,000* per day (approx. US70) and may be detained for questioning too. The fine is not a bribe, but is a legal part of the settlement of an overstay. Plan on paying the official fine in full at the immigration office. See Government Regulation No. 28, Year 2019 for the official regulation.
An overstay of more than 60 days is a more serious matter. The visa holder will be detained, questioned thoroughly, investigated, deported, and blacklisted against re-entry into Indonesia, for a period of years.
Be nice and apologetic (non-confrontational) and work with the immigration officer to resolve the overstay issue. They will try to determine what you have done during the overstay period and how you have been living in order to assess if any illegal activities, including working without a work permit, may be suspected. They may check with the police to see if there is a suspicious police report. Be honest and tell them what happened to cause your overstay. Believe me, they've heard every story there is!
If asked, tell Immigration nobody else knew you overstayed your visa. Bring any proof you can get to show what you did in the overstay period.
Your Indonesian friends/family can be threatened for helping you or even for knowing about your lack of valid visa status and not reporting it. Bringing them with you to the airport to help resolve matters may end up exposing them to extensive questioning and threats/fine/legal issues from the immigration officials. The intent "dengan sengaja" in the law (below) means they had full knowledge and purpose to gain or obvious advantage in your overstaying. Whether they can be legally charged, or not, is a legal issue, but their presence will involve a lot more questioning and potential threats. The law below is primarily used against Indonesian companies illegally hiring foreigners as in those cases the intent is very clear.
Relevant regulation: Pasal 124 UU 6/2011
Setiap orang yang dengan sengaja menyembunyikan atau melindungi atau memberi pemondokan atau memberikan penghidupan atau memberikan pekerjaan kepada Orang Asing yang diketahui atau patut diduga:
a. berada di Wilayah Indonesia secara tidak sah dipidana dengan pidana penjara paling lama 2 (dua) tahun dan/atau pidana denda paling banyak Rp200.000.000,00 (dua ratus juta rupiah);
b. Izin Tinggalnya habis berlaku dipidana dengan pidana kurungan paling lama 3 (tiga) bulan atau pidana denda paling banyak Rp25.000.000,00 (dua puluh lima juta rupiah).
Don't be scared, neither a short or long overstay is a crime. Don't let the immigration officials abuse you in the payment of huge bribe! Don't let anyone persuade you that the short overstay is a catastrophe or a criminal act. It is an administrative problem which is about to be solved, once you take action.
Don't take desperate action. Don't assume that a secret boat ride, fake documents, stealthy trip across the border at midnight or bribe to an immigration official is the solution to an overstay. These are not solutions, but attempts to avoid the consequences of your actions.
Please do not be inconsiderate to the immigration officials in the reporting of your overstay. It's your mistake that you overstayed your visa, not theirs. And, don't expect that your embassy will pay the price to get you out of an impossible situation.
Once you realize you have overstayed your visa, don't wait! Waiting and trying to avoid the issue is never a good option. Each day you delay you get hit with another Rp 1,000,000 fine. As soon as you realize you've overstayed your visa, take action! The sooner you act to begin to resolve the situation, the better!
What if you're in the hospital?
If you are truly sick, injured or have a valid medical reason that is forcing you to delay your timely departure from Indonesia, you can send a proxy to apply for your extension.
If your visa is still valid and can be extended, ask an agent or other proxy to assist you. Ask their help to write an appropriate authorization letter (surat kuasa) that you will sign, giving them the authority to pursue the extension on your behalf.
The proxy/sponsor should take the following to the immigration office:
- Your signed letter of explanation (referencing your passport or ID number and authorizing the proxy to act on your behalf, including the proxy's ID number)
- Fee to extend your visa (cost depends on the type of visa)
There may be additional documents requested by the immigration office, but the above may also be adequate.
... All this should be completed before the visa expiration date. That is, of course, assuming you entered Indonesia on a visa that could be extended.
If you are unable to extend your visa before it expires/expired, due to extraordinary circumstances, you should submit a "Izin Tinggal Keadaan Terpaksa" requesting stating the extraordinary reasons - detailing the humanitarian/natural disaster/medical reason that you need to stay past your visa expiration date. A letter of explanation from your doctor is required if the request is based on medical reasons.
Relevant regulations: PerMen No. 27, year 2014
(1) Under certain circumstances, a foreigner whose Visit Stay Permit, KITAS or KITAP expires can be given a Stay Permit due to a compelled situation.
(2) Circumstances in (1) above are:
a. humanitarian reasons
b. natural disasters ....
(1) The referred Stay Permit mentioned in items a and b of Article 86 is issued for up to 30 days and can be extended for additional maximum 30 days for each time it is extended.
(1) The referred Stay Permit on humanitarian grounds is given upon request.
(2) The request shall be submitted by the foreigner, the sponsor, or the responsible person ... with:
a. a valid passport or similar
b. A letter from the hospital, doctor's statement, medical records, or a letter of recommendation from a government's doctor.
Note: unofficial translation
Because the regulations don't specify an actual cost, it may actually be free.
What happens if you just go to the Airport?
The best option is to go to the airport with your passport and ticket in hand and tell them you think you have overstayed your visa. If it has been less than a 60-day overstay, and you have money to pay the fine, as well as your travel documents (valid passport and ticket) in hand, it shouldn't be a big deal. The officials mostly likely would prefer to let you board the plane rather than questioning you much.
If you overstayed for more than 60 days, be prepared for an exhaustive questioning. Give your honest reasons for overstaying; the clearer and more truthful you can be, the better. Be nice and apologetic (non-confrontational) and work with the immigration officer to resolve the issue. They may try to determine what you have done during the overstay period and how you have been living in order to assess if any illegal activities may be suspected. They may check with the police to see if there is a suspicious police report. Be honest and tell them what happened. Believe me, they've heard every story there is!
Don't assume that you can lie your way out of the situation. Remember, the immigration office has a record of your arrival date. You're always in a better situation if you report to immigration, as opposed to them finding out about your overstay through their own means.
Here is a good example of the story of someone's 60+ day overstay in 2016.
What happens if you go to a Kantor Imigrasi rather than the one in an airport/seaport?
If you choose to report to the immigration office, ask to see the Bidang Pengawasan dan Penindakan Keimigrasian. Once inside the office of the Bidang, ask to talk to the Kepala Seksi Pengawasan Orang Asing and explain your case. He is the first official you will have to deal with. He will introduce you to the Kepala Seksi Penindakan Keimigrasian. Don't let the immigration officials ask you to pay of huge bribe! Don't let anyone persuade you that the overstay is a catastrophe or a criminal act. It is an administrative problem which is about to be solved, once you take action.
If there is a reasonable reason to believe that the foreigner may escape justice or may be unable to pay the legal fine, the immigration office MUST detain him/her. They don't have the same "solution window" as an officer at the airport, close to boarding time. The officer may not want to take the risk of accompanying a foreigner to the airport. In the immigration office, they tend to stick as close as possible to the official procedure.
What happens if you don't have a valid passport and/or ticket?
Without a passport and/or ticket the immigration officer may quarantine you until your embassy delivers the required passport, and a ticket is issued. Once these matters are all settled, immigration will fine (if less than 60 days) or deport (if more than 60 days) the overstaying person.
What if you're caught in a "sweeping"?
Occasionally the immigration authorities will go out looking for foreigners who don't have current documents - be that a valid working permit and/or a valid visa. If caught, while awaiting the outcome of the processing, the alleged offender may be quarantined.
It's each individual traveler's responsibility to: keep your passport safe, pay for your expenses during your stay in Indonesia, and pay for your own ticket home. In many cases, your embassy may facilitate getting emergency funds transferred from your family member abroad, but they will NOT pay for your ticket home or your overstay fine.
If you have a serious (long term) overstay, report the fact to the consular office at your embassy in Jakarta or the nearest consular office. They can't help you avoid the legal/financial repercussions of your actions, but you should make them aware of your situation before you report to the immigration office. Inform your embassy which immigration office you are planning to report so that they can follow-up with you/the officials.
Embassies/consulates have no power in domestic Indonesian affairs. They can only make sure that a foreigner is fed while jailed/detained and/or is not abused. They can refer you to legal counsel (but not pay for it) and in some cases a small loan to pay a small fine, or contact your family to transfer the funds, but that's it. Nothing more. They won't send anyone to the airport to solve your immigration problems.
Detention may be chosen by the immigration authorities if a foreigner has overstayed his/her visa. Detention is more likely if you have a long period of overstay (more than 60 days). Detention/Quarantine facilities are much nicer than if you would be detained in an Indonesian jail.
If you have an Indonesian friend, leave him/her enough money to buy and bring you some food or personal necessities for use during your stay in detention. They can also visit you, bring you newspapers, and get messages to your friends/family.
If possible, keep your mobile phone with you, fully charged and with the charger. Take a couple of extra voucher pulsa with you. It may be very useful if you need to call your embassy a few times. Don't charge the pulsa right away. Immigration officials would not steal your cell phone but they might use it! A couple of extra sets of clothing would be a good idea, bottles of water and toiletries, all in one backpack. Avoid bringing any expensive items such as iPod/sunglasses, etc. The rest of your luggage can wait with a friend for the resolution of your case.
Relevant Regulation: UU No. 6, 2011 Chapter VIII - Immigration Detention Place
(1) Immigration officers have the authority to put a foreigner in the Immigration's Detention Place if he/she:
a. is in Indonesia without having a valid Visa/Stay Permit;
d. is awaiting execution of a deportation
Note: unofficial translation
Visiting an Expat in Detention/Jail
If you've got a friend or family member in an Indonesian jail, read this article from Indonesia Expat - Just Visiting.
Don't get yourself in this situation to begin with!
Your visa period begins on the day you arrived as the first day and the 30th day (for an example) is 30 days later ... not the same date in the next month.
Don't rely on what is in the visa stamp you get prior to arrival, but instead what is actually stamped in your passport when you enter Indonesia. Unfortunately sometimes the stamp is difficult to read, but in there you will find (in small letters) something like "Permitted to enter and stay for X days from date shown above." This stamp is the "Stay Permit" which substitutes any previously issued visa (from an overseas Indonesian consular office) as your legal authorization to stay in Indonesia.
Be also informed that when you are issued (overseas) a 6 month/one year/2 years Limited Stay Visa, you will get ONLY 30 days in your initial "Stay Permit" (see the rule below). You are required to request the definitive Limited Stay Permit/KITAS within 30 days from the day you enter Indonesia.
Relevant Regulation: Article 24 of PerMen No.27/2014
1) A foreigner who enters Indonesia with a Limited Stay Visa ... is granted an Enter Permit by the immigration officer.
2) The Enter Permit referred to in paragraph (1) acts as a temporary Limited Stay Permit for a period of 30 (thirty) days.
Getting off the Blacklist
Once you are added on the immigration "black list" it may be for a period of 6 months, or years! But in practice your name will be there forever unless somebody asks Immigration to remove the name from the blacklist.
Removals can occur if:
- the stipulated time period has ended
- the blacklisting was removed by the minister
- the blacklisted individual has fulfilled obligatess to pay charged fees or fines placed by immigration admin action.
After your blacklisted period is over, make a request at the main Immigration office: Sentra Mulia Jalan Haji R. Rasuna Said No.Kav X-6, 8 RT.16/RW.4 Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12940. Or, if you are overseas, a consular office in the Embassy or Consulate nearest you. See more details on the Expat Indo forum.
Before going to the consular/immigration office, ask them what you need to do, like downloading a specific request form or a sample letter, and what documents you need to bring.
Once the relevant Indonesian office has cleared you from the blacklist, request a written statement of such to present at the airport on your next arrival.
Our thanks to community and Expat Forum members for their contributions to updates for this article.
Partially updated December 30, 2022