I was looking up information for our annual Asia trip and came across some information on Indonesia Tourist Visa Exemption. Apparently effective June 10, 2015, US Citizens and foreign nationals of 45 countries and territories are eligible for Tourist Visa Exemption. Read the full information here.
I looked up some travel forums to verify this information and to see whether there are any tips given to smoother the process. The information I found was mixed. Some were successful going through immigration and using this new exemption. Others were not due to lack of proofs as tourists. What do you need to proof yourselves as tourists ?
One person on the TripAdvisor forum came through Soekarno Hatta airport and was rejected by Immigration Authorities when he tried to leave through Bandung airport. He was told that when using the tourist visa exemption he needed to come through and leave through the same airport. Though that piece of information was not mentioned anywhere on the link above.
At the same time I was confused as to why US was still listed as country whose nationals are eligible to apply for Visa On Arrival. But an email to the Indonesia Embassy made it a bit clearer. The Tourist Visa Exemption is meant for tourists only. If you're visiting Indonesia for other purpose other than being a tourist then you need to pay for the Visa On Arrival.
With these information on hand I was still a bit stressed out over our arrival in Soekarno Hatta on October 17 afternoon. We were one of the few that got out of the plane. There was no line on the visa payment line and there were only a few people on the immigration line for foreign nationals. Hubby got in front of me and he got through without getting sent back to pay for the Visa On Arrival. And then my turn. The officer asked what was the purpose of the visit and how many days will I stay. I answered those questions and got my stamp. Phew.
Another change that I noted also but I didn't know when it started taking effect was the elimination of arrival card. The only form we needed to complete was the custom form (one for each family).