Issues of the day: Free visas for 30 nations violate law

March 23, p1

While the government recently said it would waive visa requirements for 30 countries starting in April, legal issues could delay its implementation as Indonesian law stipulates that visa exemptions could only be made on a reciprocal basis.

Tourism Ministry spokesperson Vincent Jemadu said the ministry would propose the elimination of the “reciprocity clause”, which could hamper the implementation of the visa-free privilege for the 30 countries.

Your comments:

This breakthrough may attract more tourists to Indonesia. If the implementation is hampered by our own laws, it will be no big deal if we revise the law that stipulates the free-visa policy must be done on a reciprocal basis.

Then we can revise the law by removing reciprocal agreement. As long as it is used for the good of our nation, we can change/revise our own law policy.

We made the rule, if it is necessary to revise, we can do it to better Indonesia.


The main effect to the vast majority of visitors is not the US$35 but the line and waiting to get the VOA.

In many places, you have to line up for the visa and then line up in another place to pay for it. All you need is someone that doesn’t have the exact change and the lines get longer and longer.


If we’re offering free visas we should ask if the tourism industry is ready yet? I doubt it. The tourism infrastructure needs to be improved first before we do this, if not, we’re only making a bad name of ourselves.


Indonesia is free to grant free visa status to whomever it likes. However, we must avoid the hypocrisy of denying some countries purely because of some political row. If increased tourism and with it increased financial benefits is the goal, then leave the politics out.

So what about these other countries who don’t grant reciprocal rights like some European countries, the US, Australia, New Zealand, etc.? Actually, I don’t see their citizens wanting to flee those countries and then become illegal immigrants in our country seeking a better life.

Indonesians go to those countries, violate visas, hide in the country and try to make a better life. So it makes sense that they have visa requirements stricter than ours. If we want to improve our economy, let the Kiwis, Aussies, Yankees etc. come and spend their money. Let’s not stop them because of some silly so-called “reciprocal” visa policy!

Joko Harmono

There are 26 member states in the EU and it’s all for one and one for all as far as non-EU visitors are concerned. This will never be agreed upon.

Who are the people in the government, who thought it would? Scrapping reciprocity is an act of desperation to save one’s face.


This policy has many more twists/turns to be revealed before the red faces in government lose total face! This is a perfect example of people in jobs they are not capable of performing.


Has a new policy been rapidly announced without being thought through properly? I don’t believe it! Minister Dhakiri announced the Indonesian language test would be ready by February and it is already up.


This “new” policy would actually be a reversion to a policy that was in place back in 2008 or thereabouts. In fact, most countries could get a two-month visa for free back in 2002.

It was pared down repeatedly by government ministries for ego and isolationist nationalism issues (rather than financial reasons).

One former Islamist minister had been denied an educational visa to Holland as a college student and thus wanted to exact personal revenge using his position, ignoring the financial impact on millions of Indonesians in the tourism industry.

Cinnamo Nape

Just issue the visas free of charge. Problem solved.

Also I wonder what this policy will do to those wishing to stay longer. Previously they could extend their visa from inside Indonesia, but now, since there is no visa, it may make it impossible to extend.

This would be a step backward for many people, not a positive development.

Jbl Nor

This really is odd. Government ministers have said that free visas would not be offered to Australians due to reciprocity. And yet, it turns out that many of the countries on the list also do not offer reciprocity. Is Jokowi’s government incompetent or specifically penalizing Australia?

-The Jakarta Post

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