Visa & Immigration for Visitors to Lake Toba
Depending on passports and citizenship, below are three options for visiting Indonesia if the primary purpose is to travel as a tourist and not to work or engage in any form of business.
1. Visa Free: majority of countries (FREE entry, valid for 30 days, NOT extendable)
If you plan to visit Lake Toba as a tourist and stay for less than 30 days, then citizens of 169 countries below need not worry. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of arrival.
|Antigua and Barbuda||Hong Kong SAR||Qatar|
|Bahamas||Jamaica||Sao Tome and Principe|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Lebanon||South Korea|
|Brunei||Lithuania||St Kitts and Nevis|
|Burkina Faso||Macau SAR||St Vincent and Grenadines|
|Commonwealth of Dominica||Marshall Islands||Thailand|
|Croatia||Moldova||Trinidad & Tobago|
|The Czech Republic||Morocco||Turkmenistan|
|The Dominican Republic||Myanmar||Uganda|
|Egypt||Nauru||United Arab Emirates (UAE)|
|El Salvador||Nepal||United Kingdom (UK)|
|Fiji||New Zealand||United States (US)|
|Ghana||Papua New Guinea||Zimbabwe|
As a matter of caution, please double check with your travel agents the latest status of visa requirements for your passports before going to Lake Toba or elsewhere in Indonesia. The immigration official website is www.imigrasi.go.id.
2. Visa Required: rest of countries (US$ 160, valid for 30 days or 60 days, extendable)
Citizens of countries not listed above shall obtain a visa before traveling to Indonesia. Apply at one of the Indonesian embassies or consulates. It takes about 2 to 7 days and a fee of about US$ 160 (2.160.000 rupiah) for visa issued to people who visit Indonesia in government work, business, social and cultural activities, and leisure. If you want to stay longer than 30 days then you can apply for a 60-day visa – depending on the purpose of your visit (e.g., sponsor letter required). Note: You may extend the 30-day Standard Arrival Day Visa in Indonesia at one of the immigration offices (or with agency assistance). But the >30-day free entry stamp cannot be renewed.
For more information, please contact the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in your home country. Make sure you start applying a few weeks before departure and get all the necessary documents upfront. Types of visa available: Single Visit Visa, Business Visa, Social-cultural Visa (Social Visa), Tourist Visa, Government/Diplomatic/Service Visa, Multiple Entry Visa, Temporary Stay Visa.
Social-cultural Visa: valid for 60 days, extendable up to 3 times for 30 days each, issued by Indonesian consulates or embassies outside of Indonesia
Multiple Entry Visa: stay up to 60 days per visit, valid for one year, issued by consulate or embassy outside Indonesia. If you intend to do business in Indonesia, then Multiple Entry Visa is the way to go.
3. Visa on Arrival (VoA): 61 countries (US$ 35, valid for 30 days, extendable once for 30 days)
Nationals of 61 countries below can obtain VoA at designated entry airports and seaports, including Kuala Namu International Airport and the Port of Belawan in Medan, or the immigration offices in Indonesia. The VoA is valid for 30 days and is extendable for another 30 days. It costs US$ 35.
Countries extended with the Visa-on-Arrival facility are 1. Algeria, 2. Australia, 3. Argentina, 4. Austria, 5. Bahrain, 6. Belgium, 7. Brazil, 8. Bulgaria, 9. Canada, 10.Cyprus, 11. Denmark, 12. Egypt, 13. Estonia, 14. Fiji, 15. Finland, 16. France, 17. Germany, 18. Greece 19. Hungary, 20. Iceland, 21. India, 22. Iran, 23. Ireland, 24. Italy, 25. Japan, 26. Kuwait, 27. Lao PDR, 28. Latvia, 29. Libya, 30. Lithuania, 31. Liechtenstein, 32. Luxembourg, 33. Malta, 34. Maldives, 35. Monaco, 36. Mexico, 37. New Zealand, 38. The Netherlands, 39. Norway, 40. Oman, 41. Panama, 42. The People’s Republic of China, 43. Poland, 44. Portugal, 45. Qatar, 46. Romania, 47. Russia, 48. South Africa, 49. South Korea, 50. Switzerland, 51. Saudi Arabia, 52. Spain, 53. Suriname, 54. Sweden, 55. Slovakia, 56. Slovenia, 57. Taiwan, 58. Tunisia. 59. The United Arab Emirates, 60. The United Kingdom, 61. The United States of America.
Please note that starting January 26, 2010, the 7-day VoA has no longer been available. The exception to this is the Special Economic Zone in the Riau Islands province, where you can still obtain the 7-day VoA at the seaports on the islands of Batam, Bintan (including Tanjung Pinang and Bandar Bentan Telani), and Karimun. The 7-day VoA fee is US$ 15.
Upon arrival at any entry port or airport, you will need to complete a Passenger Arrival Card before passing through Customs Passport Control. A passenger arrival card is available during your flight/sail; if not, cards are available in the arrival area. After you’ve cleared the passport control, you should collect your baggage and proceed through customs and biosecurity checks. To protect Indonesia and the country’s environment, Customs officers will not allow certain items into the country. These include food, plants, animal products, and narcotics.
Airports levy an airport tax of Rp 150,000 on departing passengers on international flights and Rp. 40,000 on domestic routes. Most airlines have incorporated the tax into their fares. Make sure that this is the case.
Luggage boys often come to offer help in the luggage claim area. If you use their service, a tip of maximum Rp 25.000 (US$ 2) per luggage is appropriate.
Most hotels add a 10% service charge to the bill on top of the 10% tax. In restaurants where there is no service charge, a tip of 5% to 10% on the bill will be appropriate depending on the service and type of the establishments. The lower percentage applies to higher-end restaurants, for instance.
Maximum items allowed by customs when you visit Indonesia:
- 1 liter of alcoholic beverages
- 200 cigarettes OR 50 cigars OR 100 grams of tobacco
- A reasonable amount of perfume per adult, meaning if you arrive drenched in perfume the customs probably will not mind you carrying loads of bottles.
- Cameras, video cameras, portable radios, cassette recorders, binoculars and sports equipment are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. You must declare them to Customs.
Customs prohibit travelers from carrying:
- Narcotics/ drugs
- Pornography materials
- Chinese printing and medicines
- Transceivers and cordless telephone
Films, pre-recorded video tapes, laser discs, VCDs, DVDs are subject to screening by the Censor Board.
Import or export of foreign currencies and travelers’ checks are allowed. However, the import and export of Indonesia currency exceeding Rp 100 million are prohibited.
Further information on customs and taxes in Indonesia, log into www.beacukai.go.id.
If you overstay, you will have to pay a penalty of Rp 300, 000 (US$ 25) per day. Up to 3 days is usually no problem. You will simply pay the fee at the immigration counter without getting hassled (stay polite at all times and say you miscalculated or run into troubles catching a bus from Lake Toba, etc.)
Many tourists who want to maximize their holidays “on the last day” end up paying the additional fee (penalty) because they wrongly assume that the visa is valid for a month. So watch particularly the months that have 31 days.
Good reasons for overstaying: If you have good and valid reasons for overstaying longer than three days (e.g., hospitalization, flight cancellations due to volcanic ashes, strike, etc.) then you still pay the penalty, but you won’t get hassled even if you overstayed for 2 weeks (higher forces were at work). However, make sure to bring the necessary documents with you, that can proof your valid reasons.
See also Transportation on Lake Toba.