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In the beginning of 2016 the Indonesian government issued a new presidential regulation, no. 21 of 2016 Concerning Free Visit Visa ("New Regulation"), which removes restrictions for foreigners to enter Indonesia and allows entry without visa into Indonesia for citizens of almost all countries in the world. Moreover, the New Regulation allows the entry without visa not only for tourist visit purposes, but also for other visit purposes, such as business meetings. In this column we take a closer look at the implementation of the New Regulation.
Old Regulation: Tourist Purposes Only
Presidential Regulation No 69 of 2015 as amended by Presidential Regulation No. 104 of 2015 (“Old Regulation”) regulated the visa exemption for tourism visit purposes only. This was regulated in article 3(1) of the Old Regulation, which stated:
-----“Foreign nationals from certain countries are exempted from the obligation to have a visit visa to -----enter the Indonesian territory in case of tourist visit purposes.”
The Old Regulation is however declared void by article 7 of the New Regulation by stating:
-----“At the time this President Regulation comes into force, the Old Regulation is revoked and declared-void”
This means the old regulation is no longer applicable for foreigners entering into Indonesia.
New Regulation: Multiple Visit Purposes
The New Regulation is no longer regulating that the entry without visa is only applied to foreigners who intent to enter Indonesia for tourist visit purposes. The New Regulation is silent about to which visit purposes the visa exemption applies. Based on the principle of legality in Indonesia (asas legalitas) - which means that there is no act contrary to the law, if it is not stipulated in the law – the visa exemption under the New Regulation also applies to other visit purposes, such as business meeting, training, etc.
The above does not mean that the foreigner will be allowed to work in Indonesia when he/she uses the entry without visa facility to enter Indonesia. This is because it would violate other regulations, including manpower regulations, which require a foreigner who works in Indonesia to obtain a work permit (IMTA) and immigration regulations, which require a foreigner who works in Indonesia to obtain a limited or permanent stay visa (KITAS/KITAP).
Practical Notes for Business Travelers
As mentioned above, business travelers who enter Indonesia without visa are not allowed to work. In practice this means that the foreigner is not allowed to have a table and chair in an office in Indonesia, because the immigration officer will assume that the foreigner is working. In such case the foreigner would violate Article 122 Law No 6 of 2011 on Immigration. Business travelers attending business meetings are only allowed to join a meeting in the meeting room.
This column is provided by PNB Immigration Law Firm Indonesia