Quickly after relaxing some of its most stringent Covid mandates and allowing vaccinated tourists to visit with few limitations, Indonesia is mulling a new package of restrictions to be introduced following a viral rebound. For the double vaccinated, this could mean showing proof of a booster when entering the country, including the province of Bali.
Recently, South East Asia has taken steps to reopen following two years of total closure, however hesitantly. Indonesia is no exception, having relaunched Visa On Arrival for a number of foreign nationals visiting Bali earlier in March, and even exempting vaccinated tourists from the dreaded pre-departure tests.
While it seemed before as if Indonesia would not deviate from its reopening path, now we are not so sure:
Indonesian Minister Hints At New Booster If Cases Continue Rising
Starting in late 2021, Indonesia has been moving away from its harsh pandemic policies, allowing immunized travelers to return without quarantine or testing, and boosting its tourism-dependent economy after months of severe stagnation. The recent relaxation led many to believe the nation would revoke even more rulings in the weeks to come.
That may no longer be the case, after Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, one of Indonesia’s top officials regarding border policies, suggested a new booster requirement for travel may be enacted in the (likely) event that Covid infections continue rising.
Prior to this month, pandemic rates in Indonesia had been on a laudable downward trend, influenced by the Government’s swift actions and comprehensive vaccination campaign. Regrettably, Covid is spreading again – fast. According to Reuters, Indonesia is reporting its highest daily averages since February 20, when cases peaked.
The case count may not be high enough yet to overwhelm the nation’s health sector – there are 1,485 new infections each day, or 3% of the peak – but the Government is determined to keep them from increasing any further. Effectively, local authorities are targeting tourists once more, even after WHO expressly told countries international travel is not a risk.
Is There An Actual Risk Indonesia Will Impose A Booster Mandate?
In Pandjaitan’s own words, should the number of cases continue climbing in July, they will introduce booster doses as a travel requirement for ‘the common good’. Despite the warning, the Minister reaffirmed the pandemic remains under control across Indonesia, even as the BA4 and BA5 Omicron sub-variants disseminate.
‘Singapore, which is close to us, sees a high increase in cases’, the Minister added, referring to the neighboring destination that has removed all testing for vaccinated travelers a couple of months ago. ‘Malaysia also reports a high case surge’, he stressed, mentioning yet another country that has eased testing rules, asking ‘all to be disciplined’.
If the data shared by Reuters is anything to go by, the Covid situation in Indonesia has a tendency to aggravate. Unless there is a clear shift in pandemic trends, vacationers with their hearts set on Bali, and who are yet to receive an additional dose, will need to update their vaccination card in order to be granted permission to travel.
So far, Bali’s entry rules have not changed. The province still considers foreigners who have been given two doses of an approved vaccine to be fully immunized, and thus eligible to bypass both testing and quarantine orders, but the fact that Indonesian Ministers are openly discussing tightening existing rules should not be overlooked.
What Are The Rules For Visiting Bali Right Now?
Currently, in order to enter Bali, travelers must show one of the following documents at the border:
- A vaccination certificate (two doses are enough for now)
- A recovery certificate issued up to 30 days before departure
Those who fail to produce one of the above will have to undergo testing on arrival, and observe a five-day quarantine until a second RT-PCR test is performed prior to release. We do not know, at this point, whether the non-vaccinated, or those holding a recovery certificate, will be allowed to enter Bali if a booster mandate is issued.
Entering Indonesia now, most travelers, regardless of vaccination status, must apply for a Visa On Arrival costing IDR 500.000, or USD 33.76. U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and European Union citizens are all eligible to obtain this entry permit once landing in Bali, or eight other entry points across Indonesia.
The full list of destinations granting this visa is available below:
- Soekarno Hatta DKI Jakarta
- Ngurah Rai Bali
- Kualanamu North Sumatra
- Juanda East Java
- Hasanuddin South Sulawesi
- Sam Ratulangi North Sulawesi
- Yogyakarta Yogyakarta
- Hang Nadim Batam, Riau Islands
- Zainuddin Abdul Majid West Nusa Tenggara
The visa is valid for up to 30 days, and can be extended once a traveler is inside Indonesia. Those seeking an extension must submit an application to the Immigration Office, requesting an additional 30 days. When planning to stay longer, digital nomads will soon be able to apply for a 5-year visa to reside in Bali, tax-free.
Lastly, tourists must install the Peduli Lundungi application ahead of flying to Bali, and may be subject to a temperature check once landing. There may be different requirements in place across separate provinces, including mandatory proof of a booster dose in order to travel to select domestic destinations.
For that reason, tourists planning to travel beyond Bali are advised to contact their airlines for more information.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories