The Jakarta Post
Foreign spouses of Indonesians can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to a recent change in the government’s visa policy.
The Directorate General of Immigration said in a statement on April 5 that the government provided an opportunity for foreigners married to Indonesians to apply for a temporary stay visa for family reunification (Visa index 317) to enter Indonesia.
The policy became effective on April 5, 2021, and applicants can avail themselves of the service through the directorate general’s website visa-online.imigrasi.go.id.
Foreigners married to Indonesian nationals and their children are allowed to enter Indonesia provided they hold the temporary stay visa index 317, said the head of the Directorate General of Immigration’s public relations and general affairs division, Arya Pradhana Anggakara.
“After [the option was] closed for about two months, sponsors of foreign nationals married to Indonesian nationals can finally apply for an electronic visa to enter Indonesia,” Angga said.
The latest regulation is expected to help many Indonesians with foreign spouses living abroad cope with obstacles to apply for or extend stay permits during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The regulation issued by the Law and Human Rights Ministry, which oversees immigration, generally bars foreigners from entering Indonesia unless they have a temporary stay permit (ITAS) or permanent stay permit (ITAP) with a valid entry permit.
Referring to Law and Human Rights Ministry Regulation No. 26 of 2020, Angga emphasized that the government had yet to reopen visa-on-arrival and free-visa entry for foreigners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government only allows foreigners with essential purposes, such as business, work activities and medical and food aid and support workers for humanitarian purposes to enter Indonesian territory.
Exceptions, however, have been granted for foreigners that meet particular criteria, such as holders of diplomatic passports, temporary stay permits or permanent stay permits.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Businessmen Travel Card holders, transportation crew members and traditional border crossers are also allowed to enter Indonesian territory.
Angga also asserted that the government obliged foreigners entering Indonesian territory to adhere to health protocol to comply with rules issued by the COVID19 task force.
“To curb the spread of COVID-19, foreigners entering Indonesia should undergo an examination to comply with prevailing health protocols,” Angga asserted.
Last year, Indonesia issued a policy temporarily banning foreigners from entering Indonesia as mitigation efforts were continuing to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The ban, stipulated in Law and Human Rights Ministry Regulation No. 11 of 2020 on the temporary prohibition of foreigners entering Indonesia, became effective on April 3, 2020. This regulation also applies to transit in the country.