After nearly 30 days in Indonesia the time had come to renew our visas! We had read a little about the visa extension application process before we arrived and as ever with these things upon searching online there was really no real clear explanation of how to do it, what you needed, where to go, how long it would take etc…
So, after completing the process in the Mataram Immigration office on Lombok, we thought we should do the right thing and provide a simple step by step guide on how to extend your VOA (Visa on Arrival) for a 2 month stay in Indonesia!
The Airport on arrival
– When entering the country make sure you pay for the extendable Visa on Arrival. This will cost you $35 American dollars and will allow you to extend your visa once your first month has expired.
– You can pay for this with either American Dollars or Indonesia Rupiah (roughly 460k with the current exchange rate)
– There is another VOA that will allow you 1 month of free travel, however, should you get this you will NOT be able to extend the visa for a second month, so beware!
– They will give you a loose receipt in your passport once you have paid for the VOA. Make sure you keep it!
– To avoid more scanning/printing at a later date keep any boarding pass/stub or ticket that you have as you WILL need this for the extension process
Finding the print shop in Mataram
Ok so this isn’t really that important as you can do it anywhere but if like us you didn’t plan ahead or you just want to wait there is a very cheap print shop just around the corner from the Immigration office.
Once you arrive at the office with your back to the building turn left and walk down the main road. The second left turning is the road you need and the print shop is at the end of the road. Anyone on the street will know where you mean or just ask in the office itself!
1 scan costs 1k Rupiah and 1 print costs 500. Cheap as chips!
What you need!!
i) 1 copy of your passport (must be at least 6 months before its expiry)
ii) 1 copy of your onward transport (This can be any ticket that proves you are leaving the country – plane, boat etc)
iii) 1 copy of your entrance to the country (as mentioned above – boarding pass/stub, ticket, or as we did a copy of the exit stamp from your previous country visited in your passport)
iv) 1 copy of your VOA stamp in your passport (best to copy the receipt with it if you can)
v) And of course…your passport!!
What to wear
No were haven’t turned into fashion advisers but this step is absolutely key! You MUST wear suitable clothing in order to even be allowed to step foot into the visa office. This means long trousers and a top which covers your shoulders and this applies to both men and women. It does say no flip flops so we wore trainers but a lot of people were wearing flip flops or sandals and so this did seem to be acceptable. If you arrive in something they deem unsuitable you will be refused entry before you’ve even started the process!
Day 1 process
You can pay extra for a 1 day turn around but we had time to spare so took the longer option (more to come on this)
– Go up the stairs immediately on your right as you walk in the building. This will take you into a room where you will undoubtedly see lots of confused travellers
– As you enter the room look right and you will see the cashiers desk and 3 other desks labelled Counter 1,2,3 (helpful)
– The first step is to pick up the correct forms in a red folder from the counter to the left of counter 1 (you can probably ask at any counter for this bit)
– Fill in both the forms. They are simple and have English translations (If you need help there are example forms filled out on the counter with the pens)
– The front of the folder requires your name, nationality, passport number and address (All in Indonesian so just ask any staff member which one is which)
– Take the completed forms, including your print outs, copies and passport to counter 1 and give it to the person on duty
– They will check all your documents and providing all is correct will give you a numbered ticket
– Sit down and wait for your number to be called, they will process your documents and give you a receipt of when to return to pick up your passport/visa.
That’s all for the first visit…easy!
– It usually takes 3 days for them to process the relevant information, however, if they are busy it may take longer (see the ticket receipt they gave you)
– If you are near the end of your visa dont worry as if they already have your passport and it expires within these wait days then you are free to stay in the country irrelevant of Visa expiry
– Get out of Mataram and see some of Lombok. Mataram has very little going on and is to put it mildly….boring
– We took a car to Kuta Lombok to explore the amazing beaches (4 people 175k and 1 hour journey)
– The office opens at 8am, we recommend getting there early to avoid queues or system errors (if this happens they won’t be able to process anything! At all! One girl sitting there when we returned had to wait another 2 days…nightmare!)
– It costs another 355k Rupiah to get the Visa extension. This is of course very annoying for those of you who, like us, are on a budget and we are not sure what its for but there is unfortunately no way around it! Before extending we also checked how much it would be to simply fly in and out of the country to get another months free visa but it was much more expensive!
– When you arrive take the receipt they gave you on day 1 back to counter 2 and they will give you another numbered ticket (can you see a theme? Yes, they love the tickets!)
– When your number is called go to counter 1 where they will give you a Visa receipt. Look left and you will see the cashier counter…this is the part where you hand over the money (cry!)
– The cashier will give you ANOTHER ticket. Once you have this go and sit down again and wait your turn.
– When your number is called go to counter 3. This is the fun picture and fingerprint part…don’t forget to smile!
– The officer taking your pictures will then tell you whether you can just wait or if you have to come back!
– We, along with everyone else that day had to come back at 3pm to pick up the completed visa and passports
– This may be standard protocal so be prepared to spend a fun 4/5 hour in Mataram waiting for the stamp
Pick up Passport
– The best part! Go back to the office at your given time and ask if it is ready. If it is – you are done! If not just sit and wait and they will call out your name!
– Go to the counter and savour the glory of finally having your most prized possession back in your hands
– Leave quickly before they try to throw any more tickets at you and grab yourself a celebratory Bintang!
– If you have overstayed your welcome and gone past your visa expiry, they will not, under any circumstances take pity on you! There were at least 8 crying/angry/helpless travellers there in the time we were waiting all trying to plead their case! All of which were swiftly asked to go to the airport, pay their fine and leave the country immediately.
– Plan ahead! The office was closed for a week during Ramadan (which is when we wanted to extend) however this does not mean you can overstay and be let off. If you are unsure its best to call ahead on this number to double check:
Mataram Immigration office – (0370)-632520 or (0370)-633346
Website – http://www.imigrasi.go.id/index.php/en/contact-us/immigration-offices
Congratualtions, you made it! Enjoy another month in Indonesia!
P.s. The above may seem like a long drawn out process (which really, it is) but if you have all of the relevant documents, the only long part is the waiting, your involvement is minimal!
C & J