Ahh it’s that time, is it!? Time to get to the most important (but TEDIOUS) part of trip planning – the dreaded visa. If you’re heading to Sumatra for a holiday, it’s likely that you’re going to need an Indonesia Tourist Visa.
But exactly what kind of Indonesian visit visa you need can change, depending on where you’re from and how long you’re planning to stay in Indonesia.
In this blog, we’ll fill you in on exactly what Sumatra Indonesia Tourist Visa you should get, tell you how to get it, and give you all the important details you need to know so you can tick this tedious task off your to-do list.
A Quick Guide to the Different Tourist Visas for Indonesia
Is Visa-Free Entry to Indonesia Possible?
Pre-COVID, foreign tourists from many countries could enter Indonesia on a visa-free policy – aka enter the country for 30 days for FREE! This is no longer offered by the Indonesian government unless you fit into the category below.
Indonesia Visa Exemptions – For ASEAN Passport Holders
Visitors from the following 10 ASEAN countries are allowed to enter and stay in Indonesia for 30 days for free (with no extensions possible).
If you’re from one of the below countries and would like to obtain a visa exemption, you must have a passport that remains valid for at least 6 months. You will also need to show a return or connecting ticket within the 30-day period.
1. Brunei Darussalam
2. The Philippines
10. Timor Leste
The Indonesian Visa on Arrival (VOA) – The Most Common Type of Tourist Visa for Indonesia
Valid for 30 Days, Extendable to 60 Days at Immigration Offices Throughout Indonesia
The VOA (Indonesia Visa on Arrival) is currently available to 93 nationalities (see the list below).
It can be obtained at 57 entry ports (15 airports, 35 seaports and 7 land crossings) throughout the country.
The VOA costs IDR 500,000 (around 35 USD,30 Euro, or 50 AUD) and lasts for 30 days, although it can be extended for another 30 days by visiting an immigration office.
Below is the most up-to-date information sourced from the official Indonesian Immigration Instagram Page.
IMPORTANT: When planning your trip, it’s essential to note that the 30 days is in fact 29 nights and 30 days. It INCLUDES your day of arrival and departure.
Even if you arrive at 11:59 pm, that day is counted as DAY ONE of your 30-day stay.
Count your days carefully, as any overstay incurs a fine of IDR1,000,000 per person per day.
Here’s what you’ll need to bring to obtain your VOA once you arrive in Sumatra (or anywhere else in Indonesia).
- An undamaged, valid passport with at least 6 months remaining before expiry
- A return or onward ticket (via plane or boat) proving that you have an exit plan within the first 30 days. Yes, you will likely need this even if you’re planning to extend your visa in-country. (Skip to THIS SECTION for workarounds and solutions for proof of onward journey.)
Some arrival points in Indonesia will allow you to pay the VOA fee using a credit card, but not all.
We suggest bringing cash with you just in case there is no credit card payment available and no ATMs. It is generally okay to pay in other currencies such as USD or Euro if you’re not travelling with Indonesian Rupiah.
Important: The VOA cannot be converted to any other form of visa. If you want to stay beyond the 60 days after your one permitted extension, you’ll need to leave the country and secure another visa (either another VOA or one of the other options below).
How to Extend your Indonesia VOA in Sumatra (or anywhere in Indonesia)
To extend a regular VOA, you’ll need to visit the nearest immigration office.
The earliest you can apply for an extension is 14 days before the expiration date, and the latest is one day before expiration (although we recommend giving yourself a little more time just in case you bump into an issue – like an unanticipated public holiday or travel hiccup).
The extension will cost you another IDR500,000.
You’ll need to make three visits to the immigration office, so make sure you plan your travel itinerary around this. The first visit will be to fill out and submit the application forms. You will then receive an invoice which you will need to pay at a Bank or Post Office. (Often, you’ll then need to pop back to immigration to show them proof of payment).
Once you’ve paid, you’ll likely be requested to revisit immigration at a later date to have your fingerprints and photo taken. According to official websites, your passport with the visa in it should be ready within 3 working days, which means the third visit is to go and pick up the passport.
Although the Immigration Offices in Sumatra generally aren’t as busy for foreigners as those in Bali, we still recommend arriving as early as possible in the morning to avoid a long wait.
Make sure you take public holidays into account when planning your travel and visas. Some public holidays, such as Idul Fitri, can see immigration offices closed for at least a week. You can check public holidays on this site: https://publicholidays.co.id
Important: Indonesian Immigration offices require you to respect the Indonesian culture by wearing appropriate clothing.
This means covered shoes (no flip-flops), long pants or skirts that cover the knees, and modest tops that cover cleavage and shoulders.
The Indonesian e-VOA
30 Days, Extendable Online to 60
Finally, Indonesia has gifted tourists with a wonderful, simple electronic visa on arrival – the e-VOA!
The e-VOA costs the same as the VOA above, IDR500,000 (around 35 USD,30 Euro, or 50 AUD)
There are two major benefits to getting this tourist visa for Indonesia:
- Applying online before you go saves you hassle and time when arriving in Indonesia
- If you want to extend it for a further 30 days, you don’t need to spend precious time and money getting to an immigration office: it can all be done online from wherever you are.
Important warning! Bear in mind that the e-VOA is a relatively new thing for Indonesia. This means there are still some glitches and issues with the whole online system. We have heard of many people experiencing problems applying online and extending online – with error pages and payment issues.
Most of the glitches seem to happen when people try to extend it online within the country, so if you are staying for fewer than 30 days, the e-VOA is probably a great option. However, if you’re planning on extending, want peace of mind and don’t mind scheduling a few days near an immigration office to process the extension, the VOA might be the way to go until they sort out the system.
Before applying for your e-VOA, you need to make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your arrival in Indonesia.
You’ll also need a return or onward ticket.
To apply for the e-VOA, visit the website below (there are scam sites around, so make sure you use this URL only).
NOTE: There are a few different visas on the site, including the B211A 60-180 day visa (more info on those below). For this 30-day extendable e-VOA, make sure you choose the B213 option.
You’ll need to set up your own account using your details (don’t sign in as a guest). Remember these details as you’ll need them for any future renewals.
Make sure you have the following items ready to apply online:
A scan of the main page of your passport (showing you have at least 6 months validity remaining from the date of your arrival to Indonesia (JPEG or PNG format and a maximum of 200 kb),
A colour passport-size photo of yourself with white background (JPEG or PNG format and a maximum of 200 kb)
An email address (which will be required to validate when registering your account)
A debit or credit card – Mastercard, Visa, or JCB – for payment. (It need not be in your name.)
Once you’ve entered all the information, you’ll proceed to the payment page.
You can pay with any debit or credit card within the Visa, MasterCard, or JCB network.
Once payment is verified, your e-VOA will arrive in your email inbox. You have 90 days to use the e-VOA to enter Indonesia. Once this deadline has passed, it will be cancelled (no refunds allowed).
Print it out and have it ready to present at the immigration desk on arrival to Indonesia. They’ll check the details and put a VOA sticker in your passport.
For more in-depth info on the e-VOA processes, including common glitches to avoid, take a look at this great blog from our friends over at Travelling Indonesia.
Longer-Stay Tourist Visas for Indonesia
Want to spend more time exploring every corner of Sumatra and beyond? Then 30 days is definitely not long enough. You may want to stay longer even than 60 days!
No problem, the Indonesian government has you covered with the B211A Indonesia Visitor Visa.
The B211a costs IDR1,500,000 (about 100 USD, 90 Euro, or 150 AUD). Each extension costs a further IDR1,500,000.
Note that if you are using a sponsor/agency to obtain this visa, there will be additional fees on top of the base fee. The price varies, but you’re probably looking at around IDR3 million (maximum) for the first visa, and a similar amount for extensions.
The B211A Tourist Visa is the best option for:
- visitors who want to remain in Indonesia for 60 days without the need to extend
- visitors who’d like to stay for up to 180 days
- visitors from countries that aren’t on the VOA permitted list
This can get a little confusing as there are other types of B211A visa for purposes other than tourism, but we’ll focus on the B211A Single Entry Tourism e-Visa.
As with the e-VOA above, you’ll need to apply for this visa online before you arrive in Sumatra (or wherever you’re heading to in Indonesia).
There are two options for this one, which can get a bit confusing, so let’s get it clear.
- Apply online yourself (no sponsor needed) for a 60-day single-entry e-Visa. This CANNOT be extended beyond 60 days.
- Use a recommended agent/sponsor to apply for a 60-day single entry e-Visa that can be extended twice for another 60 days (this will need to be an in-person extension, not online). This will provide you with a total stay in Indonesia of up to 180 days (6 months).
Once your visa has been approved, you have 90 days to enter Indonesia.
Important note: Since this is a single-entry visa, it will become invalid if you exit Indonesia at all.
Apply for your 60-day B211A Tourist Visa for Indonesia at the below website (remember, this version is non-extendable).
Or find yourself a reputable agent to sponsor and apply for the 60-day (extendable up to 180 days) visa.
If you are applying for a 60-day visa, your passport must be valid for 6 months.
If applying for the 180-day visa, it must be valid for 12 months.
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance for Indonesia!
While we’re taking care of important Indonesia travel business, let’s not forget your travel insurance!
Whether you’re visiting Sumatra for a week or a month, travel insurance is an absolute must. We highly recommend investing in a robust insurance plan before your trip.
Sumatra is a safe country overall, but the unexpected can happen anywhere, and medical costs can add up fast in Indonesia.
Get yourself and your loved ones covered, so you can explore and adventure with a safety net.
We recommend the following top-rated insurance companies:
SafetyWing – great for long-term travellers, budget travellers and digital nomads
TravelInsurance.com – compare and buy travel insurance from some of the top-rated insurance companies available.
Frequently Asked Questions for Sumatra Indonesia Tourist Visas
Can I do a visa hop from Indonesia to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur?
Yes! Visa hops from Indonesia to other countries are a feasible and often quite affordable option. You get to see a bit of another country maybe, or just spend a day or night offshore before jumping back in to secure another VOA.
Visa hops to Malaysia are a great option. With the right flights, you can arrive in Kuala Lumpur or Penang in the morning, spend a few hours shopping at the airport, and hop on a flight back to Sumatra in the afternoon or evening.
We have done this plenty of times with no issues. Of course, you can stay away a bit longer if you like – totally up to you!
Visa hops to Singapore are also an option, but we have heard that Singapore is less lenient about the faster one-day hops than Malaysia. If you choose to hop to Singapore, it could be wise to at least spend a night or two there before returning to Indonesia.
Looking for cheap flights for your Indonesia visa hop?
We rely on SKYSCANNER to book all our flights – domestic and international.
If I’m transiting through Jakarta heading to Sumatra, where do I get my VOA?
You’ll need to secure your VOA (or show your e-VOA or B211A Tourist Visa) at your first entry point into Indonesia, regardless of whether you’re just transiting through.
What happens if I’m travelling from one part of Sumatra (or Indonesia) to another, but I transit via a different country?
Annoyingly, some of the flights to different parts of Sumatra or Indonesia transit through Malaysia or Singapore.
Bear in mind that if you’re booking a domestic flight that transits via another country, your visa should be fine as long as you’re purely doing a brief stopover and not actually passing through that country’s immigration system.
If you do actually exit Indonesia and enter another country, your existing visa WILL become invalid and you’ll need to get a new one when you reenter Indonesia.
Can I pay for my Indonesian tourist visa with a credit card?
If you’re applying in advance online, then yes. But if you are planning on getting the VOA when you arrive in Indonesia, it’s a solid maybe.
Some ports of entry are equipped to receive credit cards, but not all (and it can be unclear which ones do!)
We recommend travelling with enough cash to pay the IDR500,000 fee. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in Indonesian Rupiah – you can pay in USD or Euro also.
Need an easy solution for managing your travel money in Indonesia?
We can’t live without Wise. You can send and receive money in various currencies, and even withdraw from Indonesian ATM’s at a great rate using your Wise credit card.
Can I work in Indonesia on a tourist visa?
The official answer is a hard no. The immigration website states that you cannot undertake any kind of work while visiting Indonesia on a tourist visa.
However, there is a bit of leniency and a certain grey area when it comes to digital nomads.
We’re not going to tell you it’s ok to do your freelance/online work online in Indonesia, as that’s not our place. But we will say that there are A LOT of people doing it who seem to have no problem.
Just remember, you can’t do any work for an Indonesian company while you’re here on a tourist visa (that means no teaching yoga, no dive instructing etc).
The best policy no matter what is to let immigration know you’re just here for a holiday.
Do you really need an onward ticket to get your Sumatra Indonesia Visa?
The short answer is yes. This is a requirement listed on Indonesia’s official immigration page. In reality, sometimes the immigration officers won’t ask for this, but if they do and you don’t have it, you won’t be allowed through until you have booked one.
Some airlines won’t even let you board without this.
If you really don’t want to book any flights before you go, there are a few options.
- Just wing it – you might be one of the people who doesn’t get asked. If they do stop you and won’t let you through immigration once you arrive, you can always use the airport WiFi to search a cheap flight and purchase it on the spot. They will then let you in once you show that you’ve done this.
- The Expedia platform often has flight options that allow cancellations within 24 hours of booking. Book your exit flight before hopping on the plane to Indonesia, then cancel it once you have arrived and obtained your VOA.
Just make sure that you read the small print and select a flight with a cancellation option, and ensure you leave enough time between booking and arriving in Indonesia so you can cancel.
- Book an onward flight with flexible options so you can change the date or location.
- Book the cheapest onward journey ticket that you can find that you won’t be fussed about losing the money on. There are often very affordable flights between Medan and Kuala Lumpur, Penang or Singapore.
- There are “dummy ticket” sites online that we’ve heard work fine; however, we’ve never used them personally so can’t recommend any.
Are there any COVID requirements to travel to Sumatra, Indonesia?
None whatsoever. All testing, vaccination, quarantine and mask regulations have been dropped.
The information in this blog is here to help you get your Sumatra Indonesia Tourist visa. We are aiming to help people headed to Indonesia for tourism purposes.
If you’d like more information on the other Indonesian visa types available, visit the official Indonesian Immigration website.