Overstaying Your Visa in Indonesia
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It happens! Sometimes you inadvertently overstay your visa. What should you do? A few options and some great advice follow!
Extend your VOA
If you are in the country on a 30-day VOA and know you will have to overstay (for whatever reason) the simplest fix is to go to the immigration office to extend the visa for another 30 days. The cost of the 30-day extension is Rp 250,000.
Fees for Overstaying your Visa
A fine of IDR 200,000 per day is the legal sanction. Rp 25 million is the maximum fine, which can also include up to 5 years in jail and deportation. The fine is not a bribe, but is a legal part of the settlement of an overstay (PP 38/2009). Note: your sponsor is not legally liable for your overstay fine, you are.
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.
It may be possible to "negotiate your fee", to a certain extent. If you can convince the immigration officer that you don't have the funds, or can't get them, they may reduce the fine, but don't plan on it!
What happens if you just go to the Airport?
Go to the airport with your ticket in hand and tell them you think you have overstayed your visa. Prepare to pay the fine. If it has been less than a 60 day overstay, you have your travel documents in hand and can pay the fine, it shouldn't be a big deal. The officials will prefer to let you board the plane rather than going through the whole deportation procedure.
Give your honest reasons for overstaying (or some mild white lies), 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. The immigration office has records of your arrivals and departures :) 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.
Waiting and trying to avoid the issue is not a good option. Each day you delay you get hit with another Rp 200,000 fine. As soon as you realize you've overstayed your visa, take action! The sooner you act to terminate the situation, the better!
Report to the Immigration Office for Long Overstays
If you report to the Kantor Immigrasi (immigration office in the town - not the airport), the immigration officers have no choice: they MUST detain a foreigner who has overstayed. Remember that overstaying more than 60 days is a crime which may be punishable by up to 5 years in jail, and not considered a small offense by the Indonesian government. It is NOT likely that you will be released to go home after filling out forms (only).
The immigration officials must inform the prosecutor and start the legal procedure. 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. They don't have the same "solution window" as an officer at the airport, close to boarding time. In the Kantor Immigrasi they don't 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. The procedure in such case is clear: Step 1) detention, Step 2) deportation, Step 3) blacklisting.
Paying the legal fine may require a court process. The outcome is not decided by immigration officials, but by a judge. While awaiting the court process, the offender may be quarantined. This is what happens when a foreigner overstaying his/her visa has no travel documents or when immigration officials catch a foreigner in a "sweeping".
When you 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 then introduce you to the Kepala Seksi Penindakan Keimigrasian.
Report to your Embassy
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 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 internal 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 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.
Don't Panic ... and more good advice
Don't be scared, this isn't an evil crime. Don't let the immigration officials abuse you in the payment 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.
Don't get yourself in this situation to begin with!
Your 30 day visa period begins on the day you arrived as the first day and the 30th day is 30 days later ... not the same date in the next month.
Don't assume that a secret boat ride, stealthy trip across the border at midnight, or bribe to an immigration official is the solution. These are not solutions, but attempts to avoid the consequences of your actions.
Don't expect that your embassy will pay the price to get you out of an impossible situation. It's each individual person's responsibility to: keep your passport safe, pay for your expenses during your stay in Indonesia, and pay for your own ticket home. In most cases, your embassy may facilitate getting funds transferred from your family member abroad, but they won't pay for your ticket.
Detention is mandatory if the overstaying foreigner is unable to produce either a passport or a ticket. The immigration office will certainly detain you if you have a long period of overstay (more than six months) or have lost your travel documents.
If you have an Indonesian friend, leave him/her a bit of money to buy and bring you some cookies/fruits or anything you like while 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. It's doubtful that the immigration officials would 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 would be a good idea. Avoid any expensive items such as iPod/sunglasses, etc. An immigration officer may be tempted to ask for the item as a "donation". The rest of your luggage can wait with a friend for the resolution of your case.
Last updated December 20, 2011.
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