How to get the Social Budaya Visa (Social Visit visa), a long-stay visa for Indonesia.
Indonesia is not only Bali, is a very large and beautiful country, and if you feel like exploring more, then the 30 days visa free is definitely not enough, You’ll need a long stay one.
Especially if, like us, you’re traveling by bicycle. But also by other means of transport, you won’t be so fast here, public transports, in fact, are slow and very often it takes a couple of days to get from one island to another.
The problem is that this kind of Indonesian tourist visa cannot be extended! Meaning you have to get out of the country before the 30th day. How then to visit Indonesia without having to run from one place to another, or give up seeing many places?
We entered in Indonesia with the Social Budaya Visa (Social Visit visa), a visa that allows you to stay in Indonesia for 60 days and is extendable up to a maximum of six months in total. That means you can get a 30 days extension up to four times.
Social Budaya visa can be requested in every embassy and most of the consulates of the Republic of Indonesia. We applied at the Indonesian Consulate in Kuching, in Malaysian Borneo.
It happens to be one of the best places to do it, processing only takes half a day, meaning that you apply in the morning and get the visa in the afternoon, sweet ain’t it?
Background information about Indonesian Consulate in Kuching:
Address: No 21, Lot 16557, Block 11, Jalan Stutong, MTLD, 93350 Kuching
Phone: +60 82-460734
Opening hours from 9 to 12 for the visa application and from 15 to 17 to collect.
From Monday to Friday
What you need to get the Social Budaya Visa is an invitation from an Indonesian person, who must fill out a form issued by the immigration office of his/her city. The person should then send you a copy of this letter and a photocopy of an identity document.
We get the invitation by friends of friends, however, if you do not know anyone in Indonesia, you can contact people via Couchsurfing or Warmshower and ask if they can let you have this letter.
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The person inviting you, called “Sponsor”, shouldn’t necessarily be a physical person. This may be an association or organization. If you are traveling by bicycle, you can ask some cycling association to help.
Once you have these pieces of paper go to the embassy or consulate of Indonesia and submit:
Invitation letter from your Sponsor
Photocopy of the ID of your Sponsor
A photocopy of your passport (the validity of which must be at least 6 months)
2 passport photos
They will make you fill out the application form:
from where you will enter, the address of your sponsor (that you can find in the invitation letter) and his/her phone number (don’t forget to ask it).
If you do not have the phone number just write a random one (be sure it has the right amount of digits), we realized that Indonesians like to have mountains of paper but no one really checks it. However, if you have the correct information is always better.
Once we delivered all the documents you will have to pay, we paid 30€ each. They will give you a receipt where it is indicated when to come back for the collection. In our case the same afternoon.
Be aware that the payment must be made at the time of the application, so remember to bring enough cash with you!
Also, if the visa is rejected no money will be given back. Fortunately, this happens very rarely.
Now you can enter Indonesia within three months from the date of issue of the visa and stay for 60 days, the day of entry is counted in.
When you enter Indonesia, check that the stamp on the passport states the correct date and that there is written VISIT VISA. In our case on my passport, they put the correct stamp but on Daniele’s one, they put the VISA EXEMPTION stamp!
We didn’t realize right away so we had some troubles at the immigration office at the time of the extension, nothing serious but one more hour lost. So double-check that the date and type of visa are correct.
After having wandered Indonesia for 60 days you can ask for an extension for another 30 days.
In theory, you should request an extension to the immigration office of the city from which your sponsor has invited you. If you have received a letter from Jakarta you should apply for the extension in Jakarta.