What to know about Bali's new golden visa programme

Indonesia is set to launch the initiative by the end of this year

Bali will welcome retired workers and digital nomads as part of Indonesia's new long-term visa schemes. Photo: Niklas Weiss / Unsplash
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Sun, sea, surf and serenity are only a few of the things associated with Bali, Indonesia's touristic haven and coveted second-home destination.

While hordes of expatriates and digital nomads have relocated to the province, long-term visa processes can often be convoluted and difficult to navigate.

Now, Indonesia is aiming to simplify its immigration policies in a bid to promote foreign investment and attract more entrepreneurial and business-minded people to the country.

This includes a golden visa initiative, which was announced during the G20 Bali summit last year and is due to launch before the end of the year.

What is the new programme?

Indonesia's new residency-by-investment visa has been created to attract international talent in sectors including health, research and technology. It is part of a goal to generate 4.4 million new jobs in the country's creative industries by next year, and was created with Bali in mind.

The programme will be available to applicants with a five or 10-year validity and offer a range of benefits, including the right to own property in Bali.

Other benefits reportedly include multiple entries into Indonesia, faster and easier processes for visas, plus a fast track for citizenship applications, if that is also of interest in future.

“The golden visa grants a residence permit for an extended period of five to 10 years,” said Silmy Karim, director general of immigration.

“Once they arrive in Indonesia, golden visa holders no longer need to apply for permits.”

The full terms of the programme are still being finalised.

When will it be available?

When it was first announced last year, the visa was set to launch by June, but it was delayed due to administrative issues.

Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia's Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, recently confirmed it will be rolled out to select individuals by the end of the third quarter.

How much will it cost?

The five-year visa requires individual investors to set up a company worth $2.5 million, while a $5 million investment is required for the 10-year visa.

Meanwhile, corporate investors are required to invest $25 million to get five-year visas for directors and commissioners. They need to invest double ($50 million) to gain a 10-year visa.

Different provisions apply to individual foreign investors who do not want to establish a company in the Southeast Asian country. The requirements range from $350,000 to $700,000 in funds that can be used to purchase Indonesian government bonds.

The financial commitment is similar to Indonesia's second-home visa, which was launched in December.

This permit, which also has a validity of five to 10 years, requires applicants to have proof of income and a bank statement with at least two billion Indonesian rupiah (approximately $130,537) in savings. It is aimed at retirees and investors looking to buy property in the country “who plan to stay and make a positive contribution to the Indonesian economy”, according to the immigration ministry.

More affordable long-stay options

The best visa for digital nomads living in Bali, who are making their income from outside the country, is still the B211a sociocultural visa, which allows people who conduct remote work to stay for six months, according to Uno. Although, Indonesia is also working on a five-year “digital nomad” visa targeted at those working remotely for offshore companies.

A visa on arrival for travellers is also available, costing 500,000 Indonesian rupiah ($32) and valid for 30 days. It can also be extended once for an extra 30 days.

Bali enforces stricter tourism rules

Since reopening to tourists last March, Bali has seen an influx of international tourists, particularly from Australia, India and Russia. By July, the province had already surpassed its targets for the year, according to tourism ministry statistics.

The target was set at 4.5 million international visitors, but between January and the end of May, a total of 4.25 million had set foot on the island.

They have been undeterred by the stricter tourism rules that have been introduced by governor Wayan Koster due to unruly behaviour from some visitors, which has included public nudity, and more than 100 people have reportedly been deported already this year.

The new policies include a requirement for travellers to hold official licenses in order to drive scooters; there will be penalties for anyone staying at unofficial or unregistered accommodation. Perhaps more significantly, there is a ban on mountain hiking and volcano visits.

The plan also includes giving travellers arriving in Bali a guidebook of dos and don'ts that advises them, among other things, to avoid swearing in public, touching holy trees, scaling religious buildings and interrupting traditional ceremonies, and ensuring they dress modestly in temples.

Updated: September 03, 2023, 8:10 AM