Indonesia Temporarily Restricts the Entry of Foreign Visitors

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  • Indonesia has extended the temporary restrictions on the entry of foreign visitors until February 8, 2021.
  • This is in response to the new COVID-19 strain, which has spread to several ASEAN countries.
  • Only foreigners with work or residency permits can enter Indonesia, although they will be placed in quarantine for five days, and take a COVID-19 test upon arrival, at their own cost.
  • Indonesian citizens can return but also have to undergo quarantine for five days and take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. However, these services will be free of charge for Indonesian citizens.

Indonesia has extended the temporary restrictions on the entrance of foreign visitors until February 8, 2021 in a bid to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 strain.

The new strain, known as VOC 202012/01 and was first recorded in the UK, includes a genetic mutation that could result in the virus being up to 70 percent more transmissible. There have been no official cases of the new strain in Indonesia; however, the country’s neighbors Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, and Malaysia have reported cases.

In response, the COVID-19 Task Force issued Circular Letter No. 4 of 2020, which temporarily bans the entry of all foreign visitors except for high-level government officials or foreigners with work or residency permits. Indonesian citizens will be allowed to return as normal, however, both international and local travelers will have to undergo more stringent healthcare checks upon entry into the country.

Indonesia has struggled to contain the outbreak of the virus since its first case in March 2020, recording over 765,000 cases and 22,700 deaths as of January 3, 2021 — the highest among ASEAN countries. The country’s Research and Technology Minister has acknowledged that Indonesia lacks the advanced genomic and molecular monitoring capacity and has relied on assistance from international laboratories to detect the new virus variant.

Who is allowed to enter Indonesia?

All foreign travelers are prohibited to enter Indonesia unless they fall under one of the following categories:

  • Holders of diplomatic visas or official visas for official ministerial visits or higher;
  • Holders of an Indonesian residency permit (KITAS, KITAP); or
  • Aircrew.

Indonesian citizens are exempt from this prohibition.

What are the pre-departure requirements to enter Indonesia?

There will be stricter health protocols for both Indonesian and foreign travelers entering the country. They will need to comply with the following requirements before traveling:

  • In addition to a valid work or resident visa, the foreign traveler must present a PCR test result stating that they are free of COVID-19, taken within 48 hours from the time of departure.
  • They must also fill the electronic Health Alert Card (e-HAC), which can be downloaded for free in the Google Play Store or the App Store.

What happens upon arrival in Indonesia?

Upon arrival, the traveler will need to show their negative PCR test certificate to officials, as well as undertake a body temperature check.

They will then be required to retake the PCR exam at the airport; foreigners will have to pay at their own cost, whereas this service is free for Indonesian citizens.

After the test, foreign travelers will be escorted to quarantine hotels, where they are obligated to stay for five days. Again, this will be at the expense of the foreign traveler, but free for Indonesian citizens.

On the fifth day, the traveler will undergo another PCR exam, and if the results are negative, they can continue on their journey. If the result is positive, the traveler will be referred to a COVID-19 hospital – where costs will be borne by foreign travelers but free for Indonesians.

This article was originally published on January 4, 2021, and has been updated per developments.


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ASEAN Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and maintains offices throughout ASEAN, including in SingaporeHanoiHo Chi Minh City and Jakarta. Please contact us at asia@dezshira.com or visit our website at www.dezshira.com

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