Visas are constantly the cause of much headache for many foreigners coming to live in Bali.
When it comes to Visas for living in Bali, there is very little official information from the Indonesian government available online. And on top of that, the laws are always changing as well.
They are many different types of Visas to choose from. Thankfully there a few that fit almost everyone.
Sosial Budaya Visa
The majority of expats living in Bali are here on what is called the Sosial Budaya Visa (Social Culture Visa), also referred to with the index of 211. This visa is valid for a term of 60 days (not 2 months) and can be extended four times for 30 days (not 1 month) each.
These extensions you can do yourself or for a little bit extra you can hire an agent to do it for you. If you decide to do it yourself you will spend almost one day a week in the immigration office doing paperwork so it usually better that you allow an agent to do it. An agent can handle this for around rp 500,000 – 650,000 a month which is not terribly more than you would pay to do it yourself although you will save yourself a big headache.
The Sosial Budaya visa requires that you have a local sponsor with a valid ID (KTP) for Bali. If you do not have a sponsor while applying for your visa at home, then you should apply for a 60 Day Tourist Visa, which you can then change into a Sosial Budaya within those 60 days once you are in Bali and find someone to be your sponsor.
PLEASE NOTE THAT ANY SORT OF WORK ON A SOSIAL BUDAYA OR TOURIST VISA IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN AND CAN GET YOU DEPORTED AND LAND YOU WITH HUGE FINES.
If you are going to be on a sort of rotating schedule and never spending more than 60 days at a time in Bali, then you can simply get your visa in the airport when you come in. The 30 Day Visa On Arrival (VOA) which costs $25 USD can now be extended for an additional 30 days either at the airport immigration or the immigration office in Renon. The extension will cost you another $25 USD and you will save yourself the visa troubles for the most part. Overstaying your visa will cost you $25 per day however.
Another visa that many foreigners hold is the Business Visa. There is a bit of confusion surrounding this visa and whether or not it gives the foreigner permission to work while in Indonesia.
The short of it is, you do not have any rights to work while on a Business Visa, although you may conduct business for your foreign affairs while in Indonesia. They may sound a bit the same but they are different. What it basically boils down to is that you are allowed to meet with clients, buy materials and talk business, but if you are caught actually working then you will find yourself in big trouble.
There are two type of Business Visas, single-entry and multiple-entry with the single entry being very similar to the Sosial Budaya and the multiple-entry visa requiring you to leave the country once every 60 days even if just for a couple of hours or so.
For a foreigner in Bali, the KITAS is king
The KITAS is something like a permanent residency card and gives you privileges like local prices on things where there is a clearly marked dual pricing system, and the ability to own vehicles in your name, but not land. Most KITAS holders obtain their KITAS by being employed by an Indonesian company although you can also obtain one by being married to a local, although that one will not permit you to work in Indonesia.
If you have found a job, make sure they are willing to provide you with a KITAS. If they are not willing then do not accept their offer because they are putting you at a huge risk by asking you to work without the proper visa. Most good jobs will not only provide but pay for your KITAS as well, which is around 1200 USD per year.
Working with a KITAS
Note that when you have a KITAS, you are only allowed to work for the employer that has sponsored your KITAS, it is NOT a work permit to work wherever you see fit.
If you are caught working in a place that is not specified in your KITAS then it is just as bad as working with no visa at all. There are a few different lengths for the KITAS but the large majority of them are valid for one year.
Help from an agent
If you would like to seek out the help of an agent like mentioned above, there are many places you can do this with many independent visa agents located all over the place in Bali. If you feel more comfortable knowing that your passport and visa are safe in the hands of larger reputable businesses then the two most popular choices are:
Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai No. 100
Pesanggaran - Denpasar - Bali
Phone : +62 361 726 200, 726 500
Fax : +62 361 726 271
Jl. Sriwijaya No. 7 Legian - Kuta - Bali
Phone : +62 361 - 765162
Fax : +62 361 - 763562
Jl. Raya Hanoman No. 27 Ubud - Gianyar - Bali
Phone : +62 361 970288
Fax : +62 361 970288
They are both great for when you are trying to get information on the process of getting your visa made and what sort of visa you should be on, but after that they are a bit expensive to handle your extensions. There are many cheaper options for Visa Extension Agents.