Over the years I’ve had lots of people ask how to go about staying in Bali for six months or more, or long-term stays in Indonesia generally, with respect to a visa.

Nowadays Bali especially is seeing a huge influx of foreigners looking to save by renting an apartment or house by the month (or by the year!) and work on a project, look into possibilities for making a base in Bali or simply take an extended break. My aim with this article is to remove visa-related question marks as barrier to doing this.

The Sosial Budaya, or Social Visa is an answer, and for many people it’s the best option. Costing approximately US$60 in 2014 depending on where you apply, it allows you an initial stay of 60 days, then is extendable every 30 days for about US$25, up to a maximum stay of six months without having to leave Indonesia. A stipulation with the Sosial Budaya is that you must apply for it while you are physically outside of Indonesia. You also need a letter of invitation from an Indonesian citizen. This is simpler than it might sound

I’ve applied for quite a few Indonesian Social Visas in several cities around the world, so I might be in a position to elaborate, but I must emphasize that my info is current through 2014. Please check online with the Indonesian embassy through which you’ll apply for current information. Interestingly, different embassies sometimes have different application forms and slightly different requirements.

Bonus Tip #1: Even when the process seems clear on the embassy website, I always call first to confirm that I understand exactly what I’ll currently need. This has saved me time and money in the United States for example, where you’ll find you must apply to the Indonesian embassy closest to your permanent address. Rules change over time. It is worth a call.

The Sosial Budaya or ‘Social Visa’

In 2014 residents of most countries can get a 30-day ‘Visa on Arrival’ (VOA) stamp at the airport, which is extendable once for a maximum stay of 60 days. It requires no arrangements in advance. If you’re new to Indonesia you might be inclined to get a VOA initially, and once you’re here you’ll undoubtedly make the acquaintance of Indonesians who might provide you with the letter of invitation you’ll need for a Social Visa.

Once you have a brief invite letter and you’ve decided to stay longer, you can apply for the Social Visa yourself and save money. In my experience, expressing a desire on the application and in the invite letter to visit Indonesia for extended travel and to visit friends is enough reason for the authorities to give you one.

Alternatively, if you’d like to have a Social Visa in hand when you first arrive in Indonesia, there are travel agents who will handle everything for you before you leave home. Check the Bali Advertiser online or the print edition if you’re in Bali, but do shop around because prices can be exorbitant.

After either your 60-day stay in Indonesia on your VOA (or up to a 6 months’ stay on the Social Visa for that matter), you’ll be obliged to leave the country, but if you fly to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, etc. you can apply for a(nother) Social Visa immediately. It is normally a three-day turnaround, but if you want to be careful, call the Embassy to which you’ll apply and ask for the current wait time.

I check Air Asia‘s website well in advance for cheap flights leaving on Monday (much cheaper than Sunday usually), as early as possible so that I can get to the embassy to which I’ll be applying that same morning. For example in 2014 there is a 6:20 AM Air Asia flight to Singapore which will easily get you to the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore early enough to get your paperwork in. By applying on Monday I have my visa in hand before the following weekend, and avoid paying to stay longer while I wait for the visa.

Bonus Tip #2: If you are going to the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore to get your Social Visa, as of 2014 they will not let you in to submit your application if you are wearing shorts. They have discontinued the practice of renting sarongs for men and women deemed unfit for entry, and you will be told to ‘go home and get some long pants’.

Bonus Tip #3: Be aware that outside of Southeast Asia, the process will take longer if you aren’t a citizen of the country in which you apply. In Paris for example I waited for over 2 weeks for my Social visa, but it would have been worse if not for the incredibly helpful staff at the Indonesian Embassy in Paris going beyond the call of duty and helping me apply to the Indonesian Embassy in Los Angeles. As helpful as they were, I will make other arrangements next time. It’s another reason why it is imperative to call ahead.

If you’d like to avoid the conventional few-day ‘visa run’,  a one-day turnaround for Social Visa processing is possible in Singapore. Ismail Hamdan is a Singapore visa consultant specializing in same-day service. I have used him myself. Taking an early-morning flight from Bali or Jakarta can land you in Singapore with enough time to make it to his office by the 11 AM cutoff. As I’ve already paid for a return flight ticket I always call his office in advance to check the most current procedures/costs to avoid problems:

Ismail Hamdan – Singapore Visa Consultant
Address: 190 Clemenceau Ave, Singapore 239924 (in Singapore Shopping Center across from Dhoby Ghaut Station)
Phone: 65 6334 5520

Ultimately the Social Visa/Sosial Budaya is a terrific way to stay in Bali for longer stays, or to do some serious travel to other parts of Indonesia entirely. In an archipelago this far-reaching and varied, spending even six months would be just a start!If you have any further questions, please ask in the comments below. If you found this article helpful, please Retweet it. And, if you’d like boots-on-the-ground info about getting started as an expat in Bali, you can get my e-guide ‘Bali on the Cheap’ for free by signing up for my newsletter, below. And don’t worry, I’ll only email you when I have something worthwhile to share.

WageFreedom.com is re-launching! After years of answering readers’ questions as to how to make an income as an expat, I am expanding the scope of this site. Get the full story by clicking here.

119 thoughts on “A Social Visa For Long Stays In Bali, Indonesia: What You Need To Know

  1. Such a helpful article, Tom! Thanks for this!

    My husband and I are currently in Bali (in the Seminyak area), and we’ve totally fallen in love with it. We have more countries we want to visit on this particular trip, but we’re definitely talking about coming back here in the future for a long-term stay!

    Whereabouts are you on the island, btw? :)

  2. Hi Amanda– glad you enjoyed the article! I’m in the US at the moment, do drop me a line the next time you visit Bali; I live in Seminyak.

    Hey I’m very impressed with Girls Guide to Webdesign btw. Happy travels!

  3. Hi Tom, great article. I wondered if you could put me in touch with someone who could help me with a social visa I tried the email address quoted above but haven’t had any joy. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Ben UK

  4. Hey Tom!
    This was a very helpful article!
    Im gonna apply for a socicla visa with my indonesian boyfriend as a sponsor and I was just wondering what to write in the letter of invitation. I’ve tried to google for examples on a sponsor letters but cant seem to find any good ones. So I was hoping maybe you could help me.

    Amanda from Sweden

  5. Awesome post.
    I have recently decided to go against the norm and be free of all ties, in other words, I stuck it to the mann, left my daunting studies and quit my 9-5 job.
    I´m vegan and love my fruits so moving to Bali would be ideal. Thank you for your great advice :)

  6. I have a question for my sister in law. Her and her daughter just moved there to stay for a year. Her daughter is enrolled in the International school. She said she was told that once she gets her visa, she can’t travel out of Bali until the visa is up. We were hoping for them to come visit us over the Christmas vacation. Is it true they can’t travel outside of Bali during the visa? If her visa expires in December, can they come to us for 10 days and then go back and get another 6 month visa? I thank you in advance for your time and expertise!

  7. Hey Tom, I am moving over to Bali for the rest of the year in two months. I am just trying to work out my visa things, when I asked my friends to do a visa letter apart from the fact that he has an expat spouse and her parents already covered by his name they said that getting a social visa is not what I should get, because when I am there I will propably move around a bit and visit Lombok and nusa lambongen. I was just wondering if you know that my sponsor has to know where I will be all the time? And if I have to stay in the one spot? Thanks heaps

  8. Hi Tom,

    Just wondering, what do you know about getting accommodation for 6 months to a year in Bali? What sort of cost would one be looking at?
    Cheers
    Amy

  9. Hi Tom,

    We are looking at moving to Bali in 2014 with our two teenage boys.
    Could our sons go to school in Bali on a social visa?
    Any information regarding this would be great.

    Thanks

    Meg & Greg – Australia

  10. Hi Tom. We were told that immigration hold onto your passport while on a social visa so emergency travel is not possible. Do you know if that is true?

  11. That is absolutely not true. Don’t worry, you definitely get to keep your passport.

    Now, when you are extending your visa they will keep your passport with them at the office by the airport for a few days or however long it takes them to process your monthly extension. Still, one time while I was getting my extension I had to leave in a hurry and I was able to go to the office, get my passport and leave that morning.(If it was a weekend it might be difficult…) Good luck.

  12. I have been badly scammed in the past so I am probably (unhealthily so) somewhat wary about being scammed again: once bitten twice shy etc. . You state that you are currently resident in Bali and yet the email address to which I must agree to subscribe is in the USA. So I guess I’m a tad confused. I am a 65 yo male in the process of moving to Bali as a pensioner and value all your comments in your blog.
    Thank you.
    Terry

  13. Hi Tom, enjoy your articles – very informative.
    Is it possible to communicate with officials in Bali if you only speak English?
    My wife and I are considering staying more than a few months and we will probably need to extend our VOA, do the Visa run etc and then maybe apply for a longer Visa.
    Alan, Australia

  14. Hi Terry, yes the email connected to my auto-responder (the tech mechanism through which Bali on the Cheap is delivered to you) is connected to my Hotmail account. I am based in Bali but I have no email address connected with an Indonesian email provider, so I have little choice.

    The auto-responder asks you to opt in twice as a way of ensuring to Aweber, the company I use to handle e-guide sign ups, that people who ask for the guide actually want it, to avoid spam. I’ll have your email address, but I’ve never (yet)emailed people on my list, and at any rate you can opt out from me ever emailing you in the future with one click.

    Do enjoy Bali on the Cheap if you do decide to get it Terry.– Tom

  15. I appreciate it for posting “How to Stay Long-Term In Bali | Long-Term Stays In
    Indonesia | Social Visa | Wage Freedom”. Imight surely end up being back again for more reading and writing comments soon enough.

    Thanks a lot, Jenifer

  16. Hi Tom

    My girlfriend and I recently returned from a holiday to Bali and we’ve fallen in love with the island and it’s people. We’re now looking to see if it’s possible to spend a year or longer there as we have nothing keeping us back except money (we plan to save up over the next year or two). Anyway, your posts are a great inspiration and help. I have just one question (I may have more at some point sorry)…

    Is it possible for a non Bali resident to buy a house? The villa we stayed in was owned by a French guy so I was just a bit curious how you’re not allowed to officially live there long term but somehow this guy has land and a house?

    Many thanks
    Mark

  17. Hi Mark, nice to hear you had such a good experience in Bali!

    Let me preface this by saying that I am not any lawyer-or ‘notaris’ as they are known in Indonesia-but I do have some idea of how the process works if you’re a foreigner who would like to have a long-term presence here. The rough sketch is that the person on the title of the property you purchase will be must be an Indonesian citizen. There is a by now well-worn path that is used by expats to control property though, in which several documents are signed which essentially give the foreigner control over the property, i.e. to make improvements, and even to eventually sell it. Again, you would want to talk to different people who have done this to first find a reputable notaris — just a title search in Bali can be very complicated as there are often several people on the title to a property.

    Keep in mind too that long-term leases, up to 20 or 30 years in some cases, are very popular as well.

    Being in Indonesia for long periods isn’t too much of a problem in practice. A residence permit–or KITAS–is an option, and there are visas that allow you to spend quite a bit of time here as well, such as the retirement visa if you’re over 55, business visas, as well as the social visa.

    Hope that helps Mark.

  18. Hi Tom,

    I am an Indian, I fell in love with an Indonesian girl. And I want to marry her and live in Indonesia with her. Can you please provide some assistance i.e. what kind of documents will be required and the procedures,.. So that I can live peacefully in Indonesia with her.

    Thanks.

  19. Hi Zeshan — well I think the first step is to come to Indonesia and talk to a professional who can advise you on the procedure for getting married here. I won’t attempt to do it in a blog comment, sorry. The good news is that it appears that Indians are on the list of countries whose citizens can get a visa on arrival (VOA) upon entry to Indonesia (see the link below). It looks like you will need an onward or return ticket however. Good luck to you Zeshan.

    http://www.embassyofindonesia.org/consular/voa.htm

  20. Tom so many thanks for this really helpful incite. A question if I may. I have an option to work remotely for an online company and thinking of staying in indoneisa for around 25 days each month, heading back to the UK.. Having kids and family there and then coming back and round 4 days later and getting another VOA.. Would look to rent a place in Indonesia too.. The Company is from the UK and I would be working and selling to NON Indonesians and all monies to me and from clients goes to UK. could this as an option be considered. ? . Doing the math.. including the flights each month and the rental in indonesia it seems like a do able option! any thoughts?

  21. Hi Tom,

    It’s great info. I stayed in Indonesia as expat(96-01) and since then I have been feeling to live in there again. Do you have any idea how the program of “Indonesia my 2nd Home” works ? Any reliable agent can help? Thanks.

  22. I think you’re thinking of the ‘Malaysia my second home’ program. I don’t think Indonesia offers anything with a name like that, but there are many options for staying long-term. Any agent would be able to lay out your options; many of my friends are on the ‘Social Budaya‘ or social visa. Good luck!

  23. Can US and Canadian citizens apply for Social Budaya while in Bangkok, through the Bangkok Indonesian embassies? Currently in SE Asia already and it would be really inconvenient and expensive to have to return to the US/Canada to apply at the Indonesian embassies there…

  24. Hi Fred and thanks for your comment. Yes for an American (I’m quite sure Canadians too) getting a Sosial Budaya visa in Southeast Asia is no problem, at least in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, where I’ve done it.

    FYI and for future reference for anybody reading this comment,for Americans in Europe it can be a real problem, though not impossible, to get an Indonesian social visa. At the Indonesian embassy in Paris they actually had to call an Indonesian embassy in California(!?) to approve the social visa they eventually issued me, and it took a couple of weeks.

    But yes for you Fred, long story short the Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok to get you sorted out no problem.

  25. Hi Tom,
    thank you very much for the helpful article. I am currently applying for an internship in Bali and thinking of staying there for more than six month. Travelling to another Asian city for some days wouldn’t be a problem, but I am wondering about the letter of invitation. Probably it will have a date written on it, so do the embassies accept a letter that is already more than half a year old? Or do you need a new letter every time you apply for a new visa?
    Thanks in advance,
    Anneli

  26. Hi Anneli — good news for you, the Sosial Budaya visa doesn’t require an invitation letter anymore, At least it didn’t for me in San Francisco in October of 2013. I would call the Indonesian embassy closest to you there in Germany and ask; the bottom line is that without needing the letter of invitation the social visa became easier than ever to get. Good luck and I’d love to know what you find out if you can drop me a line.

  27. Hi Tom,
    Very informative site. I am a 62yr old Australian pensioner looking to live in Bali for approx. 5 to 6 months of each year due to Dr sending me off to warmer weather. Wanting to meet up with other Aussie seniors living in Bali or find a group or share accommodation.
    Can you help?
    Pam

  28. Hi Tom,
    I have just received my sponsor letter for Sosial Budaya..however my sponsor has written it in Indonesian, as I’m applying for it in Australia (my home country), would that be a problem, or should I get it translated to English?

  29. It should be in Bahasa Indonesia Adrienne, it’s going to the Indonesian embassy. No translation needed.

  30. Hi Tom,

    Thank you for posting this informative article.
    This is what I need urgently for now. All I did was to go away on vacation for two weeks in Bali and then I’ve totally fallen in love with it. Honestly it was my first time to travel out of the country on my own.

    It will be only two months left until I’m ready to graduate from college. Living without green and blue can drive me crazy especially in Shanghai. I’ve already decided to go back to Bali on middle June. Nothing can hold me back staying more than 6 months or longer except money. Getting an invitation letter from a Balinese friend won’t be a problem. But I heard people say that it’s impossible to extend the 30-day VOA.

    What should I do first after I arrive in Bali with a travel visa which permits 30-day stop? Do I need to find a job there to transfer it to a working visa? What if I want to establish my own website and start my own business there? Sorry I’ve got a lot of questions to ask. I’m really confused.

    Many thanks
    Mia – Shanghai, China

  31. I have just applied for a visa for my young children to visit there auntys/uncles.grandpa. grandma and cousins in bali, I requested a 60 days visa from the embassy in london, with children leaving in june and return august, a whole stay of 50 days, despite sending my flight details the embassy have gave me a 47day stay and my visa expires 3 days before my trip ends, Why and how do i get them to fix there mistake

  32. hey Tom!
    Just wondered if you know of any agents in Bangkok who can turn around a social visa in one day?
    Cheers!
    Vanessa

  33. Hi Tom
    thanks for all your info… its fabulous… I have a question I cant find answered anywhere else… (sorry if it is!)..
    I am planning on joining hubby in Jakarta (he is there on a business visa for work), it will be myself and 3 children. Im thinking the easiest thing for 6-8 mths would be to just use VOA and extend for 30 days then go on holidays to Thailand, singapore etc for a weekend, and reenter on the VOA, and continue to do this for the remainder of our time in Jakarta… will this work? Im just trying to save on paperwork, and also fancy the idea of ‘having’ to go on a short break every 30 days!!!

    thanks so much
    Debra

  34. Thank you very much for your comment Bendigo. I like your idea about creating social activities for people in their 40’s and up. The club and bar scene in Bali is busy but rather one-dimensional maybe, especially for people who don’t drink (like me). Drop me a line if you like when you’re in Bali and we can brainstorm it!

  35. Really enjoyed reading the posts it just makes me more determined to get back to Bali. I am a UK citizen married to my husband who is an Indonesian national, we currently live together here in the UK but with the stress and strain of UK life its time to think about the future. We both have agreed that we want to buy land in Bali and build a villa with the view to live there permanently. I understand we have no rights as a gay couple, is this still true or has the laws changed and would they recognise our certificate issued in the UK? Is the only way to get around living in Bali is for me to apply for a Kitas? My mother -in-law accepts our union and I know would sponsor me if required.
    We are due back in Bali this September 2014 looking hopefully at land, if your free and would like to give some face to face advice we wouldn’t object.

  36. Hi Mark— do drop me a line when you’re coming and let’s have a chat then, I’d be happy to meet you both for coffee.

  37. Hi Tom
    I’m looking at moving to Bali for 12 months with
    My 2 children 8 & 5.
    I have been seeing someone there for the past
    6 months & have been going back & forth visiting.
    What would be the best option for a visa as the
    Children will need to start school as we’ll.
    Thank you, your artical is great.

  38. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for creating this website and keeping up to date answering all the questions. It’s very useful.

    My girlfriend and I would both like to have the Social Budaya pass in hand when entering Indonesia the first time but we don’t know anyone in Indonesia to write it. I’m sure we’re not the first people in this situation, so I was wondering if you knew how do they managed it?

    Thanks Tom!

    Russ

  39. HI Tom
    I have a few enquires about the visas:
    Hi,

    Im from Italy. Im in Australia now (with the working holliday visa).
    Im going to Bali, Indonesia, next thursday (17th of july) and i would like to know some things as soon as possible, because im trying to comunicate by phone but i can’t, nobody answer.

    ENQUIRES

    For VOA visa, is completly necesary have a return ticket? Im only have one way ticket (Brisbane – Bali)
    The extension of the VOA visa can be do it inside the Country or should i leave it for apply?
    With a Sponssor Letter can I apply for the Social Visa on arrival? if not, can i get in with the VOA visa, get out the country and apply from outside? (from Singapure for example)

    I would really apreciate if you can provide me any informartion about this enquires.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Best regards,

    Agustin

  40. Hi Tom, Good info but for social visit visa (Sosial Budaya) you still need the sponsor invitation letter and copy sponsor`s ID. At least you do for embassy in Singapore. Requirements differ depending which embassy you use I believe.
    I use pt Bali-Ide as my Bali agent and they are now asking me to use Mr Malik Yusof as facilitator in Singapore rather than Ismael Hamden. Not sure why. Will be doing mine in Sing in mid Aug. Hope all goes well using an unfamiliar contact at Singapore end.

  41. Hi Tom

    I want to come to Indonesia(bali) to live,how do I get a retirement visa as I am 62,do I need to initiate the process in the states?
    Thanks

  42. Hi Tom, re: my email dated June 15th. We are all booked and if you are still available we will take you up on meeting up for coffee in Bali. How can we contact you? Can you privately email me your contact details?

  43. Hi Tom! I so appreciate you taking the time to create this great information source. I am coming to Bali in a couple weeks and have decided to stay for an extended visit. Do you know if I need a proof of exit to get the longer visa? I have a plane ticket out but do not want to use it. Any guidance would be so appreciated. I also see that you are open to meeting people in Bali. I would love to do that and wondering if I could meet you and bend your ear at the end of Sept? Thanks again! Colleen

  44. Hi Colleen–thanks for your comment and your kind words. If by longer visa you mean the social visa, you do have to apply for it before you come to Indonesia. You can extend the visa on arrival once for a maximum stay of 60 days. There is a chance you’ll have to show your onward ticket at immigration, but if you have one I think it’s no problem for you.
    Just let me know when you get here and we could meet for coffee if you like Colleen. —Tom

  45. Hi Tom,

    I am currently in Seminyak on holiday and return on home on Sunday. I am thinking of moving to Bali and would love to meet you if you are available and willing to meet up for a chat and a coffee before I leave as I have quite a few questions about how to go about such a move. I apologise for the short notice, but I have only just come across your article and obvious wisdom in this regard. I am staying at the Puri Saron Hotel and can be contacted there – 361 731007 (room 4202), or via this site. I’m afraid my mobile phone is having a few issues with connection here, so it’s currently out of service. I am very grateful that you have posted this information – obviously a moment of serendipity in light of my current thoughts on improving my lifestyle and my life-long love of this heaven on earth. Cheers, Tiffany (Swinton)

  46. Your references for getting a visa was very enlightening , I have been to Bali many times, any leads on say renting a unit/town house ? I usually stay at kamikaze plaza ( expensive ), although 2 years ago did rent a town house ” kata royal ” for au$600 per month it was good and cleaned daily.
    Regards Michael

  47. Hi there– I’m planning a trip to Thailand in November then leave after 29 day to go to Indonesia then Singapore then back to Thailand. Do i need any type of visa or will it be ok as I’m only there for 29 days at a time? Many thanks.

  48. For 29 days in Indonesia a visa on arrival (VOA) will work for you, no prior arrangements needed, just wait in the VOA line.

  49. Hi! I’m flying to Bali this October to be with my boyfriend who works there. I’m planning to stay there for a long time with him. Plan was to keep renewing my visa every time it “expires”. So please let me know if I got your post right….. I can extend my tourist visa for another 30 days? And then go out of Bali (say Singapore) to apply for a social visa (so i can extend for 6 months), and then go back to Bali? And then just keep on renewing this social visa? Your prompt reply would be highly appreciated! Thank you!

  50. As of Sept. 2014 that is 100% accurate! Just get with my friend Sinta if you need help with visa extensions/further questions.

  51. Hi, some forums mentioned that now the social visit pass (sosbud) does not have much advantage as compared to the 60-day Visa on arrival tourist visa and I noted that the application for sosbud visa requires more documents, i.e., from a local sponsor. Is there any particular reason that sosbud visa is better if you are planning to stay in Indonesia for more than 60 days? Thanks!

  52. Hi there Lisa, thanks for your comment. The difference is you’ll have to leave Indonesia after 60 days with the VOA, whereas with the Sosial Budaya you can stay up to 180 days. With the Social visa you just start your 30-day extensions after 60 days (start with your first extension after about 50 days to be safe).

    It’s true, the Social visa does require an invite letter from an Indonesian; if you’re extending in Bali they want to see that an Indonesian with a Bali KTP (ID card) has invited you.

  53. Hey mate great read! Got a funny one for ya. I’m wanting to live in Bali for 12mths with possibility of longer with my 6 yr old daughter. I don’t plan to work initially as I have saving to last at least the 12mths but wanted to get her into international school. I believe I need a sponsor and kitas visa, can I achieve this not working?

  54. Hi Tom, thank you for your informative article. We are British expat family with two young children living in Thailand and thinking of relocating to Bali for a year initally. What is the best visa route for 12 months? And how does immigration view digital nomads?

  55. I believe (since you said we have to leave after 60 days on a VOA) that we would have to show a ticket leaving Indonesia in 60 days. What about the social visa? Can we get the social visa without having to have a return ticket (a ticket to leave Indonesia in hand when we arrive in Bali).

  56. Hi David– I can’t recall being asked for an onward ticket when I come in with a VOA, but they could ask, so usually I have a cheap Air Asia ticket booked for some months out. Take a look at the prices, you can get DPS-SIN or DPS-KUL for US$30 or $40 if you buy months out. If you think you’ll stay 4-6 months that should be a very cheap ticket. Good luck David.

  57. One more. I gather Sinta is in Indonesia (ID)? I will call Ismail Hamdan in Singapore (SP) as you suggested as we plan to go to SP first anyway and then on to ID. If we arrive on a VOA is it difficult to “upgrade it to a retirement visa ” in Bali? That would probably be our first stop.. I would like to travel around a bit to decide where to live. On my last trip the city I liked best was Malang. I stayed in Bali one of the previous trips. However that doesn’t mean I would choose one of those. I have been to ID four times but just now retired from my job and am looking to live in ID now.

  58. Hi David — Yes Sinta is Indonesian, and has everything you need on her end. I just got back from Singapore, she gave me everything I needed and Mr. Hamdan’s office was totally efficient and friendly as usual. 11 AM at his office is the deadline, do bring 1 passport photo! Dhoby Ghaut MRT stop.

    Your plan sounds great, but one thing: if you see Mr. Hamdan in Singapore for one-day service for your social visa (Sosial Budaya) you won’t be coming in on a VOA I think, it will be the social visa. The VOA requires no pre-planning at all, it is just a stamp at the airport.

    I don’t know whether you have to leave Indonesia to process a retirement visa, but it will be a new visa, not an upgrade.

    Hope this helps David.

  59. Hi tom.

    Great info.
    Have you tried to apply for the social visa in kuala lumpur? I am.in bali now, and Considering to go there next week to get the social visa.

  60. I have, years ago. Fyi a friend of mine told me he was able recently to get his Social Visa in KL without going to an agent. Just get there early. Good luck and let me know if this is possible, if you find out please Sarah!

  61. Hi Tom,

    Firstly, great article! Cheers! I’ve looked into moving to Bali several times in the past, but until reading this I just didn’t think it was going to be that easy! I have visited Bali many times and have made many friends, so getting the letter would be easy enough via email, would that be acceptable? What kind of information must be provided? Also, how would you rate work opportunities in Bali for westerners (Australian)? Although I will have some savings, I will need to find work. Thanks for any advice.

  62. Hi i came to bali last month on a voa and i have just got it extended so at the end of the month can i fly to singapore and get another voa to enter bali? or do i have to apply for a different visa?

  63. Hi Teena and thanks for your question– yes you can fly anywhere outside of Indonesia before your VOA extension is up, and to be clear, you can get another VOA at the airport when you come back into Bali or elsewhere in Indonesia. It’s just like coming from Australia. I hope that’s clear.

    You wouldn’t have to do anything special in Singapore unless you want to get the Social Visa (Sosial Budaya), which lets you stay up to six months. For that you can contact my friend Sinta at the email in the article and she’ll help you.

  64. Hi there Hannah and thanks for your question– for a Social visa (Sosial Budaya) you can contact my friend Sinta at the email in the article and she’ll help you. She does the invite letter and the rest of what you need for free in the hope that you’ll let her help you with extensions (and if you don’t no hard feelings!).

    As far as work goes, the terms of the Social visa don’t allow you to work, but if you can find an employer here they can provide you with a KITAS, basically a work permit. It really depends on your experience I guess, and what you want to do. Good luck Hannah.

  65. Hi Tom,

    Thank you for all the information!!!
    My husband and I are looking to move over to Bali next year with our daughter (2 years old). We have some income here (Australia) that will keep us moving but we will need to earn out there also, we both work for ourselves (massage therapists) and so I am so confused as to what visa we would need to get, as we would look to work form home. I look forward to hearing from you!
    Sophs :-)

  66. Hey Brad, sorry for the delay answering. I don’t think you or your daughter need a KITAS for her to attend school in Indonesia. I used to assume you would but recently was talking to a friend here who’s son attends school outside of Ubud (loves it) and I know they are on Social visas (Sosial Budaya). You might contact a couple schools here to be sure. I hope that helps Brad!

  67. Thank you very much for your very useful information. I have been searching on the internet for a month how to stay long term in Indonesia. Even I have looked for volunteering. I could not believe. They want 600 dollars from the volunteer. Finally I found your site. Thanks god I know many people from there. I will ask them for an invitation. thanks again.

  68. Wow, I hope they aren’t asking $600 for a social visa. (If I understand you)

    You’re welcome Mehmet, good luck and I hope the article helped.

  69. Thank you so much for this information! What is the best visa for my family to get if I need to leave Bali often – at least once every other month if not every month.

  70. Is a limited stay visa the best way to go of you are planning on staying for at least a year? or do you have a better way?

  71. Thanks so much for providing this amazing service/gift!!!

    It there a limit/restriction to the number of VOA-visas one can get each year?

    For example, in our case, we might leave Bali each month = we would get another VOA-visa each time – or 12 VOA-visas – for each time we enter Bali. Would this be an issue?

  72. Hi Shelly– I do know a lot of people who use the Sosial Budaya/social visa to stay for longer periods. If you have the visa in hand you can stay for six months until you have to leave, so it is quite generous.

  73. Hey Tom, great information, thanks!

    Do you know if your sponsor needs to be registered in Bali, or if someone with a Javanese ID card is also ok?

    Thanks!

  74. Hi Kristof– thanks for the comment. That is a very good question.

    It’s a 2-part answer: since you’ll apply for the social visa outside of Indonesia, the embassy won’t care where your sponsor is from, obviously the visa is good for all of Indonesia. He/she will need to give you a copy of their KTP/identity card when you apply for the visa.

    Extending the visa is another matter. If you get someone to help you do the extensions in Bali (it’s 3 separate trips to the immigration office in Tuban, near the airport) I think they want to see a Bali KTP from that person. My friend who helps me (Sinta) has her Bali KTP though she’s from Lombok orginally.

    So, can you be invited by one person and have someone else do the extensions? I’ve done that and I think Sinta needed a letter or something from the person who did the original invite letter.

    Maybe get with her and ask–she knows much more about it than I do obviously. Her email is in the article, above. Good luck Kristof.

  75. Thank you for all that info. I am considering retiring to live in Bali ,however getting rid of accumulated baggage(40 years in Australia ) is a priority and a resolution for 2015.

  76. Many thanks Tom. I am Australian and going over with my young son. My husband has to work in Vietnam but our son will go well at school outside Ubud.
    I was thinking of just using VOA several times but I think now I might get social visa, after reading your words. I will look around to rent a place for 6 months in Ubud. Thanks again for your help. Deborah

  77. Thank you Deborah, glad to help. I don’t see much/any disadvantage to the social visa and I’d imagine most of your son’s classmates and their families will also be using them. Good luck there.

  78. No it doesn’t, it’s just for visits of a longer period than a visa on arrival (VOA) would allow you. It’s not a work/residence permit.

  79. Thank you so so so much for this post.

    I was looking around for something like it and I kept getting more and more confused.

    Is there a limit on how many times you can go outside Bali and get a new Social Visa?

    And can you leave Bali within the 6 months or do you then have to get a new social visa?

    If Sinta helps with the renewing will she then do all the things needed or do we need to go somewhere to have it extended?

    Thank you again for this great post.

    Do you live in Bali now?

    If you would like to I would love to buy you a cup of coffee :)

    Best regards Miella

  80. Hi Miella, glad you found some value here. 1) I don’t think there’s a hard limit on the number of Social visas you can get. 2) You can leave Indonesia at any time but the standard social visa (Sosial Budaya) is a single-entry visa. So coming back in would require a new social visa or VOA. 3) Sinta helps with extensions, so you don’t have to go physically to the Immigration office. Normally you have to go three times per extension, so she saves me a ton of time. And yes I am in Bali now, check your email.

  81. Hi Tom, great, thanks for all the information on this blog. Is it possible to contact you directly? I would also look forward to a coffee with you.

  82. I am here in Bali on a single entry social visa. My total stay is 90 days… My question is;
    I want to go to singapor at the end of my 60day visa. Instead of extending it can I just get a 30 day tourist visa for the rest of my trip when I return to Bali?

  83. If you want to leave after 60 days instead of extending you can do that. Get the VOA when you come back to Indonesia.

  84. Hello – Great advice. When you apply for a social visa can you still leave Bali to travel outside during these 6 months? E.G. Weekend trip to Thailand?

  85. Dear Sir, my family would be coming on a social visa for 2 months from India. We have booked tickets exactly departure 20 th April and return 20 th June. Will that pose a problem as we will be exactly completing our 60 days stay. Request your kind help. Best regards and you are doing a fantastic work by helping people. Thanks a lot!

  86. Hi Tom
    Thanx for posting your helpful info. Is the turn-around time of 3 visits at Tuban (Embassy) the same for extending the VOA ??
    Smiles : )

  87. Hi Tom, I am living in the US and am wantingto mmove to Bali at thend if the year, looking to stayfor a year. II’m thinkinga social visawould be best. You were saying thatwe must apply outside of Bali,but is thatsonethisomething I would do herein the US or onlyin Singapore. Also, I am looking to get a small job while there. Would I be ableto work on the social visaor is thatallowedunder something else? Thank you!!

  88. Hi Jaclyn— Well first, you definitely cannot work in Indonesia on a social visa, it is a visitors visa and employment is definitely not allowed.

    You certainly can get a Social Visa in Singapore, but you do need an invite letter from an Indonesian. Unfortunately my friend Sinta, who I list in this article is moving to another island and will no longer be available to help people with Social Visas. If you search the Internet you might find an agent here in Bali who will be able to help you with that before you leave. I hope that helps Jaclyn.-Tom

  89. Hi Bryan, sorry for the delay in answering, I am well behind on answering my comments. I haven’t gotten a VOA in a long time so I can’t tell you for sure that it’s just one visit for your VOA extension, but I think an acquaintance of mine who recently did extend mentioned he was in and out in one day. I hope that helps.-Tom

  90. Hi Louise and thanks for your comment. Sorry about the delay in answering, I have fallen behind in answering my comments. The Social Visa is a single entry visa so no, if you leave you must apply for a new one or come back in on the VOA. I hope that helps.-Tom

  91. Hi Tom,
    I’ve been looking around for a long time for good visa-information and by reading this, it’s finally clear to me. Thank you!
    One more question: If you want to extend a social visa more than one time, do you have to do that in the same place every time?
    Caroline

  92. Hi Tom,

    I am wondering how many times you are able to apply and be granted a social visa for Bali. I have a good Balinese friend who is happy to write the invite/s for me but I am wondering if I can only get one and then have to resort back to a VOA. Do you know how long I can keep getting Social visas for and whether I can get back to back Social visas, provided I go to Singapore for a new one each time??

    Regards

    Dave

  93. Hi Girish— Well, Immigration will count the days and unfortunately there will (probably) be a fine if it adds up to more than 60 days. In my experience partial days count as a full day. In the past it has been US$20 per day per person but I don’t know what it is now. Good luck to you Girish.

  94. Hi Caroline — I just checked this with the person who handles my extensions; she said for Social visas extensions must be done in the same place each time. Makes it awkward if you’re doing a big tour of Indonesia. You could leave your passport here w/someone to do extensions for you (it’s a hassle to go to the Immigration office 3 times–per extension!) but traveling around and trying to check into hotels, etc. without it would present another bunch of problems.

    Off the airplane you do get 60 days until your first extension— maybe a way to do it is to get your traveling in at the beginning of your trip? Not really a good solution either, 60 days isn’t that long to explore a place like Indonesia..

    Hope all that helps.

  95. Hi tom, I’m just wondering if I had a social visa for bali are you able to leave bali on that visa, for example if I wanted to go to Thailand or Australia, and if so how many times can you leave? I ask this because I am doing a 5 month course in Bali and my friend is coming with me, so the course is granting me a letter for a social visa but we are not sure how she would be able to get a social visa so I would want to leave the country with her for a visa run if I am able?

    Thank you

  96. Hi Henrietta– Social visas are single-entry, so if you leave you have to get another one or come back on a VOA. Best might be if she could find an Indonesian to invite her too. The course admin might be able to help you if you ask. Good luck there.—Tom

  97. Hi Tom – This is a very helpful article! I was in Bali for 28 days in January and plan to go back in August/September for another 60 days. Am I right in the understanding that I can just obtain another VOA when arriving and extend it in Bali for another 30 days? Is there a maximum amount of days per year I can stay on a VOA in Indonesia? Are there any news on the implementation of the announced visa waiver for European citizens? Thanks a lot! Cheers, Caroline

  98. Big Mahalos for all the info Tom… I leave for 5mos in Bali in just 2 days and I’ve been trying to figure out this VOA situation super last minute…

    Can you recommend your favorite budget airlines to do a visa run? I hear tickets are cheaper when purchased from within SE Asia.

    I also have the same visa renewal questions as Dave above whom I guess you emailed…. if I can get a cheap apartment and make my money stretch I’m planing to stay as long as possible. Thanks for all your help! ~Od

  99. Hi Od– Air Asia all the way, Singapore is usually cheapest, book as far in advance as you can! And you can get multiple Social visas over time if that’s what you’re wondering too. Good luck to you.

  100. Dear Tom,
    I am wanting to apply for a social visa from the United States. I have an Indonesian citizen in Bali ready to write me the letter. Where do I apply for the visa? Do I send the paperwork to Indonesia or do I apply at an Indonesian Consulate here in the US. Do I need to go in in person? There is not one in my state. Thank you so much for creating this awesome site! What a resource!

  101. Hi Maura– call the Indonesian embassy nearest you in the US. Ask for the ‘visa section’. They will tell you exactly what you need. Don’t rely on a website, talk to a person because the requirements from embassy to embassy can very slightly, eg the price of the social visa. You’ll be sending everything to the Embassy in the US. You do not have to go in person. If you’re in a hurry you can include a return FedEx envelope addressed to yourself with the items you send them. It’s usually what I end up doing.

    Your friend can fax you the invite letter but when you talk to the person at the embassy be sure and write down what the invite letter must include, ie your friend’s KTP info.

    Good luck Maura!

  102. Hi Caroline– yep the VOA is extendable once for a maximum stay of 60 days. I don’t know about a maximum total amount of days per year on the VOA, but you might consider a social visa. Even if you only stay 2 months a social visa would mean you wouldn’t have to go to the VOA office for the extension, and you can stay longer as you probably know. I’m not sure if the visa waiver has been implemented yet. Good luck Caroline!

  103. Hi Tom,
    first of all, thanks for all the info!!!
    I am about to do my first extension (social visa), I am going to do it without agent, however, I am not sure about the sponsor letter. Can I use same sponsor letter (with updated date) I have used to get social visa in the first place? Is there anything else I need?

  104. First of all, thanks a lot for this great info site. Much appreciated! I will travel Indonesia on a motorbike in a couple of months and need 6 months for this, so a social visa is what I need. BUT I read in one of the comments that after your initial 2 months, you have to extend every 30 days at THE SAME IMMIGRATION OFFICE every time. Do you know if thats true? That would be practically impossible for me to do.. Any way around this maybe?
    Thanks a lot, Michael, Denmark

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