Which Visa for Business Travels? The Differences between Different Visas for Business Travellers Explained.

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Foreigners travelling to Indonesia for business meetings or for attending seminars or training or other business (non-working) activities have a variety of visas to choose from. In this article we will discuss the business activities allowed under a Visa Exemption, Visa on Arrival (VOA), Single Entry Business Visa (SEBV) and Multiple Entry Business Visa (MEBV). It is important to note that foreigners are not allowed to undertake any work activities in Indonesia without a work permit. This means that foreign business travellers are not allowed to work at desk outside a meeting room. Moreover, to avoid being categorised as working, the foreign traveller should not visit the same company more than three days a week, for more than four hours a day. Violation of the allowed activities may result in deportation, a re-entry ban into Indonesia and penalties.

 

Visa Exemption

Residents of 169 countries can enter Indonesia without needing an entry visa (so-called visa exemption). Foreigners entering Indonesia under a visa exemption can stay in Indonesia for a non-extendable period of up to 30 days. The allowed business activities under a visa exemption are:

  • Performing government duties
  • Attending seminars
  • Following an international exhibition
  • Attending a meeting held in headquarters or with representatives in Indonesia

In practice however, local immigration officers are not acting in line with regulation and require business travellers to at least obtain a VOA (depending on the type of business activity). We therefore always advise business travellers to obtain a VOA or SEBV/MEBV, depending on the exact business activities.

 

Visa on Arrival (VOA)

A VOA is available for residents of 67 countries. A foreigner business traveller can apply for a VOA directly at the airport when entering Indonesia before passing through immigration. The VOA is valid for up to 30 days and can be extended once for a maximum period of 30 days. The extension of the VOA requires an interview and a biometric session at the local immigration office. The following business activities are allowed under a VOA:

  • Performing government duties
  • Attending business meetings
  • Buying goods
  • Giving a speech or attending seminars
  • Following an international exhibition
  • Attending a meeting held in headquarters or with representatives in Indonesia
  • Being crew members of vessels located in Indonesian waters

The VOA is a perfect solution for business travellers who are not frequently visiting Indonesia. For frequent business visitors we recommend using an MEBV, to avoid questions from immigration officers.

 

Single Entry Business Visa (SEBV)

Residents of all countries can apply for an SEBV. An SEBV is valid for 60 days and can be extended up to four times for a maximum of 30 days for each extension. Similar to the VOA, the business traveller will need to attend a biometric session and interview at the local immigration office for each extension. The SEBV is valid for one entry only and will be automatically cancelled once the foreign business traveller leaves Indonesia. Under an SEBV the following activities are allowed:

  • Performing government duties
  • Attending business meetings
  • Buying goods
  • Attending seminars
  • Following an international exhibition
  • Attending a meeting held in headquarters or with representatives in Indonesia
  • Participating in comparative studies, short courses and short training.
  • Giving a presentation
  • Being a crew member of a vessel located in Indonesian waters
  • Providing guidance, counselling and training in the application and innovation of industrial technology for improving the quality and design of industrial products and marketing cooperation overseas for Indonesia
  • Conducting an audit or quality control assessment or inspecting of a company branch in Indonesia, for a maximum period of one month
  • Completing an internship/traineeship
  • Conducting journalism activities (requires a recommendation)
  • Making a non-commercial film (requires a recommendation)

The SEBV provides the most comprehensive list of allowed activities and moreover allows foreign business travellers up to 180 days in Indonesia. We usually advise clients to obtain an SEBV in case their activities are not covered by the other visa types, when they need to stay for a longer period continuously in Indonesia, and/or when they are unable to obtain a VOA due to their nationality.

 

Multiple Entry Business Visa (MEBV)

The MEBV is available for residents of all countries. Based on the regulations the MEBV is valid for one to five years, however in practice it is always issued for a period of one year only. Under an MEBV foreign travellers can stay for a maximum continuous period of 60 days in Indonesia and this period is not extendable. After the foreigner leaves Indonesia, he or she can re-enter for another 60 continuous days. This process can be repeated by the foreign traveller until the MEBV expires.

The allowed business activities under an MEBV include:

  • Performing government duties
  • Having business meetings
  • Buying goods
  • Attending seminars
  • Following an international exhibition
  • Attending a meeting held in headquarters or with representatives in Indonesia

In case of frequent business travels to Indonesia, we advise clients to obtain an MEBV rather than obtain a VOA for each visit.

 

For more information, contact PNB Immigration Law Firm at +62 21-22792254, or email us at info@pnblawfirm.com. Visit our website at www.pnbimmigrationlawfirm.com

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PNB Immigration Law Firm is Indonesia's largest and most experienced Immigration Law Firm.