IndonesiaOfficial Name: Republic of Indonesia
6 months beyond date of arrival
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
No (for 30 day tourist travel only)
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan No. 3 - 5
Jakarta 10110, Indonesia
Telephone: +(62)(21) 3435-9000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(62)(21) 3435-9000 ext. 0 (operator)
Fax: +(62)(21) 385-7189
U.S. Consulate General Surabaya
J1. Citra Raya Niaga No. 2
Telephone: +(62)(31) 297-5300
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(62)(811) 334-183
Fax: +(62)(31) 567-4492
The consulate should be the first point of contact for assistance to U.S. citizens who are present or residing in the Indonesian provinces of East Java, Nusa Tenggara Timor, Nusa Tenggara Barat, all of Sulawesi and North and South Maluku.
U.S. Consular Agent - Bali
Jalan Hayam Wuruk 310, Denpasar, Bali
Telephone: +(62)(361) 233-605
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Consulate in Surabaya:+(62)(811) 334-183
Fax: +(62)(361) 222-426
American Consulate Medan, Sumatra
Uni Plaza Building
4th Floor (West Tower)
Jl. Let. Jend. MT Haryono A-1
Medan 20231, Indonesia
Telephone: +(62)(61) 451-9000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(62)(61) 451-9000
Fax: +(62)(61) 455-9033
The U.S. Consulate in Medan, provides only emergency assistance to U.S. citizens and does not offer routine consular services.
Indonesia is an independent republic consisting of more than 17,500 islands spread over 3,400 miles along the equator. The main islands are Java, Sumatra, Bali, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes), Papua, Halmahera, and Seram. The capital city of Jakarta is located on the north coast of western Java, the most populated island. The country has approximately 251 million people representing more than 300 ethnic groups.
Indonesia's topography and geographic location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin, make the country prone to natural disasters, especially seismic upheaval. Indonesia is a developing country with a growing economy and many infrastructural shortcomings, especially in rural areas. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Indonesia for additional information on U.S. - Indonesia relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
You will need a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of your arrival in Indonesia. Your passport must also have two blank pages, not including endorsement pages. The U.S. Embassy cannot obtain entry permission for U.S. citizens whose passports do not meet these requirements. If your passport visa pages are nearly full, consider applying for a new passport before you travel. (Please note that as of January 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of State no longer issues additional passport pages.) If you arrive with a passport that is valid for fewer than six months or does not have two blank pages, Indonesian authorities will require you to depart Indonesia immediately to obtain a new U.S. passport; you will not be allowed to enter Indonesia. Also, if your passport does not have the required validity, you may be denied boarding at your point of origin or at a transit point en route.
There are three ways to enter Indonesia for tourism purposes:
- Visa Exemption: This is a stamp you receive in your passport when you arrive at the airport. There is no fee. If your purpose of travel is purely for tourism and you are certain that you will depart after 30 days, consider requesting Visa Exemption. U.S. citizens who enter Indonesia under Visa Exemption must depart after 30 days; no extension is allowed and no adjustment to another visa status is permitted. You must enter and leave through one of the following ports of entry: Soekarno Hatta Airport (Jakarta), Ngurah Rai Airport (Bali), Kualanamu Airport (Medan), Juanda Airport (Surabaya), Hang Nadim Airport (Batam), plus Sri Bintan, Sekupang, and Batam Center seaports. Please visit the Indonesian Directorate of Immigration’s website for a complete list of ports of entry designated for Visa Exemption and for the most current information on the program. Attempting to exit through an airport or a seaport other than the ones designated for Visa Exemption may result in delays or penalties.
- Visa-on-Arrival: If you are visiting family, or travelling for other purposes, when you arrive in Indonesia you may request Visa-on-Arrival, valid for up to 30 days at a cost of $35. You can extend a Visa-on-Arrival once for a maximum of 30 days by applying at an immigration office in Indonesia. The cost to extend a Visa-on-Arrival is $35. Visa-on-Arrival is not available to government travelers who want to enter Indonesia on a diplomatic or official passport for an official purpose.
- Visa in advance: Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia. Please note that U.S. citizens who have limited passports (passports issued with less than 10 year validity for adults, or less than five years for minors) must obtain a visa prior to entering Indonesia and are not eligible for Visa Exemption or Visa-on-Arrival.
Travel for other purposes requires the appropriate Indonesian visa that must be obtained before arrival.
For details on Visa Exemption, Visa-on-Arrival, and other visa information, please visit the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia website. Entry requirements are subject to change at the sole discretion of Indonesian authorities. The final decision on whether a traveler qualifies for Visa Exemption, Visa-on-Arrival, or must enter using a visa issued in advance of travel rests with the Indonesian immigration official at port of entry and is not guaranteed for any traveler. Indonesian entry and visa procedures may be inconsistently applied at different ports of entry; when faced with making a decision, Indonesian authorities usually make the more restrictive decision.
You may apply for a visa at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, D.C., or at an Indonesian consulate elsewhere in the United States. In some cases, you may also apply at Indonesian embassies and consulates in other countries. If you are traveling overseas and wish to apply for an Indonesian visa, inquire with the Indonesian embassy in the country where you are currently traveling. For up-to-date information, contact the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia: 2020 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20036, phone: (202) 775-5200, or at Indonesian Consulates in Los Angeles (213) 383-5126; San Francisco (415) 474-9571; Chicago (312) 920-1880; New York (212) 879-0600; and Houston (713) 785-1691.
Indonesia strictly enforces its immigration and visa requirements. If you overstay the date stamped in your visa, including your Visa-on-Arrival, you are subject to a fine of 250,000 Indonesian rupiah (about $20) per day, as well as other sanctions. U.S. citizens have been jailed for visa violations, including for overstays or obtaining the wrong visa class for their purpose of travel. Violators may also be subject to substantial fines and/or deportation from Indonesia. Immigration officials have also detained foreigners for working, studying, or engaging in other non-tourist activities while in visitor status. Even unpaid volunteer work with local or international NGOs is not permitted in visitor status. Penalties for such immigration/visa violations have included prison sentences of up to five years and fines of up to $2,000. Contact an Indonesian consular office to determine the appropriate visa category before traveling to Indonesia. Please also consult the Criminal Penalties section below for further information.
While you are in Indonesia, always carry your passport, valid visa, and work permit, if applicable. Travelers have been detained for questioning for not having their passports with them.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Indonesia. The Indonesian government screens incoming passengers in response to reported outbreaks of pandemic illnesses.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
Terrorism: On January 14, 2016, terrorists attacked using guns and explosives near the Sarinah Plaza in Central Jakarta, killing four civilians, including a foreigner, and injuring 17 others. ISIL claimed responsibility. Since 2005, Indonesian police and security forces have disrupted a number of terrorist cells, including Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a U.S. government-designated terrorist organization that carried out several bombings from 2000 to 2009. In 2002, more than 200 foreign tourists and Indonesian citizens were killed in Bali’s nightclub district. Police have arrested more than 900 individuals on terrorism-related charges since 2002 and have greatly reduced the capacity of domestic terrorist organizations, though extremists in Indonesia continue to aspire to carry out violent attacks against Indonesian and Western targets.
In recent years, terrorists have targeted Indonesian police stations and officers. Currently, travel by U.S. government personnel to Central Sulawesi and Papua is restricted to mission-essential travel that is approved in advance by the Embassy security office.
Extremists may target both official and private establishments, including hotels, bars, nightclubs, shopping areas, restaurants, and places of worship. Whether at work, pursuing daily activities, or traveling, you should be aware of your personal safety and security at all times. Monitor local news reports, vary your routes and times, and maintain a low profile. Be sure to consider the security and safety preparedness of locations that you frequent.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta on Twitter and visit the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
Crime: Crime is a problem in some major metropolitan areas in Indonesia. Crimes of opportunity such as pick-pocketing and theft occur throughout the country. Organized crime remains a problem in Indonesia, most notably drug dealing and trafficking in persons. Armed car-jacking, theft of vehicles, residential break-ins, and "snatch-and-grab" robberies occur in Indonesia.
Lombok: In recent years several travelers were attacked in secluded areas in south-western Lombok when criminals set up temporary roadblocks. Situational awareness is one of the best ways to stay safe; in isolated areas or on the road, especially late at night, take note of your environment, particularly vehicles or individuals that might be following you. Let family or friends know of your travel route. Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.
Taxis and Public Transportation: Unmarked or freelance taxis continue to be a source of crime. If you are in Jakarta, Medan, or Surabaya, hire a taxi either at a major hotel or shopping center queue or call a reputable taxi company to arrange for transportation. At airports, use a reputable taxi service or a car arranged in advance. There have been reports of taxis painted to look like reputable companies being used to rob travelers. These crimes often involve “express” kidnappings, where armed criminals take passengers to a remote area to rob them. Criminals may also drive victims to ATM machines and force them to withdraw cash. Avoid using public transportation such as buses and trains; pick-pocketing is common in the crowded mass transit system.
Burglaries: Indonesian police have noted an increase in burglaries and armed robberies in Jakarta targeting wealthier individuals. Take responsibility for your own security: know the layout of your dwelling, if possible have someone at home at all times, discuss security procedures with your family and household staff, and know your neighborhood.
Credit Card and ATM Fraud: Credit card fraud and theft is a serious and growing problem in Indonesia. Travelers should use cash if possible and minimize the use of credit cards. Safeguard credit and ATM card numbers at all times. Avoid using credit cards for online transactions at Internet cafes and similar public venues. Monitor your credit card activity and immediately report any unauthorized use to your financial institution. Criminals have “skimmed” and “cloned” ATM cards, then used the stolen account information to drain bank accounts. If you use an ATM, choose one located in a secure location, such as a bank, and check the machine for evidence of tampering. Be cautious when using unfamiliar ATM machines, and monitor your account statements closely.
Alcohol: "Drink-spiking” and drink poisoning incidents are increasing. There have been several reports of foreign tourists and Indonesians suffering methanol poisoning from adulterated liquor or cocktails, including a local liquor called arak/arrack, most recently in Bali and Lombok. This has led to serious illness and, in some cases, death. If you or someone you are traveling with exhibits signs of methanol poisoning, seek immediate medical attention. There have been many reports of men targeted by drink-spiking incidents in clubs and nightspots. One drug used in these incidents is believed to be an extremely powerful animal tranquilizer. Besides making the victim unconscious for a long time, these drugs can cause memory loss, nausea, headaches, and vomiting. Women also have been victimized in the past with “date rape” drugs. Local, "home brew" alcoholic drinks may also be spiked.
Sexual Assault: Victims of sexual assault should seek prompt medical assistance. For a criminal investigation to be initiated by the police, the victim must make a full statement to the local police, in person. Local police cannot investigate crimes reported by victims who have departed Indonesia without making a report. In some instances, a sworn statement by the victim and any witnesses can be used as evidence in any criminal court proceedings. As such, victims and overseas witnesses are not always required to be present in Indonesia for subsequent trial proceedings.
Carry your U.S. passport with you at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, you have proof of your identity and U.S. citizenship. If detained, call the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta or the nearest U.S. consular office immediately. Also, request that the police provide a formal notification of the arrest in writing to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta.
Victims of Crime: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the "911" emergency telephone line in Indonesia is 112. In addition, you can dial 110 for police, 113 for fire, and 118 for ambulance. These numbers are not always answered, however. It is often more effective to go in person to request help from Indonesian authorities rather than wait for emergency services to respond to your phone call. In addition to these numbers, there are local, direct emergency numbers in each district; you should learn and keep them at hand. Indonesian emergency services, when available, are often rudimentary at best.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Political Violence and Civil Unrest: Demonstrations are common throughout Indonesia. Typical areas for protest activity in Jakarta include the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, the Presidential Palace, and the area around the U.S. Embassy. While these gatherings are usually peaceful and the police presence normally is sufficient to maintain order, demonstrations have occasionally become large and violent.
Localized political violence and civil unrest for ethnic, sectarian, religious and separatist reasons are common in parts of the country. Religious and ethnic violence have occurred in Central Sulawesi. Papua is home to a continuing separatist movement, including a small number of armed Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) guerillas who have attacked Indonesian government targets and personnel in the Puncak Jaya area of the Papuan highlands. In December 2015, three Indonesian police officers were killed in Sinak, Puncak regency; the same month, there was least one instance of an aircraft carrying police personnel being fired upon in the same area. Security forces continue to pursue separatist guerillas there. In the area between Timika and the Grasberg copper and gold mine, there were more than 30 shooting incidents between 2009 and 2014 carried out by unknown gunmen targeting security personnel, employees, and contractors of a U.S. multi-national mining company.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: While you are traveling in Indonesia, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. If you violate Indonesian laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. The Indonesian legal process is slow, and cases can take months to be resolved. Suspects can be held without charges for up to 60 days, and in some cases longer, during pre-trial investigation.
In Indonesia, you may be detained for questioning if you don't have your passport with you. It is also illegal to take pictures of certain buildings, and driving under the influence of alcohol could land you immediately in jail. If you break local laws, your U.S. passport won't help you avoid arrest or prosecution. Certain areas of Indonesia are under Sharia law; see the section under Special Circumstances.
In March 2008, the Indonesian parliament passed a bill criminalizing accessing internet sites containing violent or pornographic material. If you are found guilty of this offense, you could be jailed for up to three years or could have to pay a heavy fine.
Indonesia’s child protection law imposes up to 15 years imprisonment for those convicted of engaging in sexual contact with a child under age 17. Indonesia’s anti-trafficking in persons law imposes 15 years imprisonment for anyone engaging in sex with a victim of trafficking.
Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Indonesia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. A life sentence or the death penalty can be imposed in cases of drug trafficking. Several foreigners have been sentenced to death in recent years. In 2011 a U.S. citizen received a death sentence for drug trafficking. Local authorities might perceive prescription drugs as illegal narcotics, so carry prescription medication and documentation with them in original marked containers to avoid confusion. Indonesian prisons are harsh and do not meet Western standards. Many prisoners must supplement their prison diets and clothing with funds from relatives. Medical and dental care in Indonesian prisons are below Western standards; access to medical testing to diagnose illness, as well as medications to treat conditions, are often difficult to obtain.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
Real or even perceived offense may draw a strong, negative response from local people. On one occasion, two U.S. citizens in western Sumatra were beaten after they reportedly accused a local man of theft. Another U.S. citizen in Sumatra was threatened by members of a local mosque after complaining about being awakened by the mosque’s morning call to prayer. Another U.S. citizen was beaten by a crowd when he pulled a plug on a speaker in a mosque.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested, that might not always be the case in Indonesia. To ensure that the U.S. government is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained. An Embassy consular officer will visit you at the earliest possible opportunity. To reach the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, dial (62) (021)-3435-9000 ext. 0 for the operator and ask for the duty officer.
Special Circumstances: The U.S. Embassy security office restricts travel to certain areas of Indonesia by U.S. government personnel. These areas are subject to change. Currently, U.S. government travelers must receive prior authorization to travel to Papua and Central Sulawesi. Separate pre-travel procedures apply to U.S. Armed Forces personnel who intend to travel to Indonesia for any reason. For further information, please see the DOD Foreign Clearance Guide.
Sharia Law: Sharia law is enforced in Aceh, a semi-autonomous province in the far north of Sumatra, by a separate police force. Authorities in Aceh have stated that Sharia law in Aceh is intended only for Muslims and does not apply to non-Muslims or foreign visitors. Under Aceh’s current Sharia code, offenses including homosexuality, gambling, consumption of alcohol, and proximity to the opposite sex outside of marriage are punishable with caning, fines, and imprisonment. Although head-covering covering is not compulsory, many women -- both Muslim and non-Muslim -- carry a scarf to drape around their heads while traveling in Aceh. Sharia law also exists unofficially or through local legislation in other areas. In these areas, implementation is uneven, processes are opaque, and enforcement can be arbitrary. Even though Sharia law does not apply to non-Muslims, you should be respectful of local tradition, dress modestly, and seek guidance from local police if confronted by Sharia authorities.
Natural Disasters: Parts of Indonesia frequently experience earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. In addition, seasonal flooding from monsoons occurs regularly.
Earthquakes and Tsunamis: Minor, and sometimes major, earthquakes occur every week throughout the archipelago -- there are approximately 4,000 earthquakes per year, with approximately 70-100 of them over 5.5 on the Richter scale. Sometimes these earthquakes can trigger tsunamis. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami killed an estimated 167,000 people in Indonesia. An October 2010 tsunami in the Mentawai islands killed more than 450 local residents and displaced tens of thousands of persons for several weeks. Tsunami warning systems may not be operable or reports of tremors and tsunamis may be delayed. In places where tsunamis are a potential threat, you should head inland for high ground immediately when large tremors are felt. Be sure to establish an escape route beforehand. The city of Jakarta lacks an earthquake plan, as does much of the country. Due to Indonesia’s large geographic expanse and poor infrastructure, disasters in isolated areas can result in delays in the arrival of emergency relief supplies.
Volcanoes: There are 127 active volcanoes in Indonesia. Eruptions frequently cause travel delays, displace local populations and disrupt economic activities. Mount Sinabung, in the Tanah Karo Highlands of North Sumatra, has been erupting regularly since September 2013, causing the evacuation of approximately 30,000 people. Mount Raung, in East Java, became active in June 2015 and has forced occasional, multi-day closures of Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali (and nearby airports on other islands). On Java, Mount Merapi erupted most recently in 2010, caused 386 casualties and displaced 300,000 people. Indonesia’s volcano monitoring system enables the government to inform the population about potential eruptions and to direct evacuations so as to prevent casualties, but no system has been able to predict the timing or severity of all eruptions.
Flooding and Landslides: During the December-March rainy season, floods and mudslides wreak havoc in many areas of Indonesia, including Jakarta. In January 2013, heavy rains caused substantial flooding in Jakarta. Landslides frequently follow heavy rains, and travelers should exercise caution both in and outside of cities. On the roads, be aware of the possibility of land slippage, road washouts, and potholes.
Fires: Fire departments lack modern equipment and training. Seventy percent of Jakarta's fire hydrants are inoperative, and the city fire department is manned at only fifty percent of its recommended level. Outside of Jakarta, responding to fire-related emergencies can be even more challenging. Occupants in the upper levels of buildings and persons in crowded markets are at greatest risk, since fire departments typically are unable to reach those areas.
Environmental Quality: Outside of Jakarta and other major cities, air quality is acceptable most of the time. Within Indonesia's major cities, however, air quality can range from "unhealthy for sensitive groups" to "unhealthy." The air and water in Jakarta are particularly polluted. Some expatriate residents of Jakarta have tested positive for highly elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their blood. Individuals susceptible to chronic respiratory illnesses should consult with their doctor before spending significant amounts of time in Jakarta. Smoke from annual fires in forested and peat lands can create unhealthy air conditions in parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan, can cause substantial airport delays, and severely reduces visibility at various times of the year. Visitors should monitor local air quality and take appropriate precautions. Public water supplies are not potable. Jakarta's water is contaminated by fecal coliform bacteria, and this type of contamination occurs in most cities. You should drink only bottled water. Sewage and drainage systems are insufficient to adequately treat waste water and raw sewage.
Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, and Surfing: Exercise prudence when scuba diving, snorkeling, or surfing, and when visiting remote tourist locations. Strong seasonal undercurrents in coastal waters can pose a fatal threat to surfers and swimmers; every year, several U.S. citizens drown. Local fishermen in coastal waters may use explosives and poisons to catch fish, even though this practice is illegal. Rescue services are mostly ad hoc and cannot be relied upon. Dangerous marine life, such as cnidaria (jellyfish) and physalia (Portuguese Man-O-War), are common. Divers and swimmers should be prepared to administer first aid to themselves and others in their party. Divers should contact the Divers Alert Network (DAN) to obtain diving medical insurance in the event decompression is required, since air evacuation may be the only way to get to the nearest decompression chamber. DAN has a large network of dive physicians who are available for consultation and emergency response to its members.
Papua and Central Sulawesi: All travelers to Papua and West Papua provinces (including Raja Ampat) and Poso in Central Sulawesi province must obtain a travel permit (surat jalan) from the Indonesian government. The process for obtaining a surat jalan is governed by the police department in the area where the travel will occur and is subject to frequent change. Foreign tourists often use local travel agents to obtain travel permits to locations throughout Papua and West Papua provinces. Low-intensity communal conflict in Papua has caused numerous deaths and injuries. Travelers should strictly avoid situations involving armed tribal members or riots and demonstrations. There have been numerous deaths and injuries during anti-government protests and during actions by the Indonesian security forces against suspected separatists. In the area between Timika and the Grasberg copper and gold mine, there were more than 30 shooting incidents between 2009 and 2014 carried out by unknown gunmen targeting security personnel, employees, and contractors of a U.S. multi-national mining company.
Mountain Hiking: If you are planning hikes or other outdoor activities in Indonesia, obtain up-to-date information on local conditions, travel with a reputable local guide, have overseas medical insurance, and carry a local mobile phone. Obey instructions from security and emergency personnel, and do not enter restricted areas. Organized and trained rescue services are rudimentary in populated areas and do not exist in many remote areas. Hikers on Puncak Jaya or other mountains should organize their trip through a reputable tour operator and ensure that they have firm, realistic primary and backup plans for climbing down the mountain, including evacuation insurance. In the past, some local tour operators have abandoned climbers after they reached the summit, after trips lasted longer than expected, or after disputes emerged about the fees charged by the tour guides. Transiting private or commercial properties on the way down the mountain is considered trespassing and is not a safe or legal alternative to a proper plan. Severe seismic events occur frequently and without notice. Hikers should assume that they will be completely on their own in case of any emergency.
Teaching English in Indonesia: If you would like to teach English in Indonesia, carefully review proposed employment contracts before traveling to Indonesia; most contracts include a monetary penalty for early termination. English language schools may hold passports to ensure that the employees with the terms of their contracts, including paying the appropriate early-termination penalty. Many U.S. citizens have been unable to depart Indonesia because their employers would not release their passports after they had terminated their employment contracts early.
Commercial Disputes: If you are involved in a commercial or property dispute, be aware that the business environment is complex. Formal, regulated, transparent dispute settlement mechanisms are not fully developed. Local and foreign businesses often cite corruption and ineffective courts as serious problems. Business and regulatory disputes, which would be generally considered administrative or civil matters in the United States, may in some cases be treated as criminal cases in Indonesia. In some instances, employees of U.S. companies in Indonesia have been subject to criminal penalties, including incarceration, as a result of judicial rulings stemming from commercial disputes. If you or your company become involved in a civil business dispute in Indonesia, Indonesian authorities may, without advance notice, prohibit you from leaving the country until the matter is resolved. Although you may be able to appeal the travel ban on humanitarian grounds, there is no guarantee that the appeal will be granted. There have been cases where Indonesian authorities have prevented U.S. citizens from leaving Indonesia for weeks or months. For more information, please refer to the U.S. Department of State’s Investment Climate Report for Indonesia.
Internet Purchases: U.S. citizens have been defrauded when purchasing goods by Internet from Indonesian suppliers whom the buyer had not met personally.
Currency: Because of the widespread use of counterfeit currency, banks, exchange facilities, and most commercial establishments do not accept U.S. currency that is worn, defaced, torn, or issued before 1996.
Dual Nationality: Indonesian law does not recognize dual nationality for adults over 18 years of age. U.S. citizens who are also Indonesian nationals may experience immigration difficulties in Indonesia. Holding dual citizenship may also hamper the U.S. Embassy's ability to assist dual national U.S. citizens. In addition to being subject to all Indonesian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Indonesian citizens. Children under age 18 may legally hold foreign as well as Indonesian citizenship. Parents whose children hold both Indonesian and U.S. citizenship have experienced difficulties with Indonesian immigration entry and exit procedures. Please visit our Dual Nationality page.
Customs Regulations: Indonesian customs authorities strictly regulate the import and export of items such as prescription medicines and foreign language materials or videotapes/discs. You should contact the Embassy of Indonesia in Washington or Indonesian consulates elsewhere in the United States for specific information about customs requirements. Transactions involving such products may be illegal, and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeiture and/or fines. Carry prescription medications in their original marked bottles with a copy of the prescription to avoid confusion. Please see our Customs and Import Restrictions page.
Local Laws and Special Circumstances
LGBT Rights: Homosexuality is not illegal according to Indonesia’s national laws, but local regulations in certain areas may effectively criminalize homosexual acts. Same-sex marriages or civil unions are prohibited. In 2015, a hotel executive in Bali was arrested for religious blasphemy for allowing a same-sex couple to perform a Hindu marriage blessing ceremony. In 2016, some religious leaders and elected officials called for increased restrictions on LGBT organizations, events, social media, and websites, with one official describing the LGBT community as a “threat.” For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Indonesia, review the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
Accessibility: While in Indonesia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. Most public places and transportation facilities are not accessible, and applicable laws regarding accessibility are not enforced. Persons with disabilities will face severe difficulties in Indonesia as walkways, road crossings, rest rooms, and tourist and other areas are not equipped with features to accommodate disabled people.
Medical Facilities: The general level of sanitation and health care in Indonesia is far below U.S. standards. Some routine medical care is available in all major cities, although most expatriates leave the country for all but basic medical procedures. Psychological and psychiatric services are limited throughout Indonesia. Medical procedures requiring hospitalization or medical evacuation to locations with acceptable medical care, such as Singapore, Australia, or the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Physicians and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment or sizable deposits before providing medical care. A non-exhaustive list of English-speaking doctors and hospitals is accessible via the U.S. Embassy Jakarta's website.
Ambulances: There is no reliable emergency ambulance service in Indonesia. Ambulance services are individually run by hospitals and clinics, and Indonesian ambulance attendants lack paramedical training equivalent to U.S. standards. If you are staying in Indonesia for an extended period, especially if you have known health problems, you should investigate private ambulance services in your area and provide family and close contacts with the direct telephone numbers of your preferred service. Traffic congestion is a significant problem in urban Indonesia and roads are generally in poor condition in rural Indonesia; ambulance transport, if it exists at all, can take hours, even over short distances.
Sanitation and Public Health: Community sanitation and public health programs are inadequate. Water and air pollution and traffic congestion have increased with the unstructured growth of major cities. Almost all maladies of the developing world are endemic to Indonesia, and immediate treatment is problematic. Residents are subject to water- and food-borne illnesses such as typhoid, hepatitis, cholera, worms, amebiasis, giardia, cyclospora, and bacterial dysentery.
Food and Water: Tap water is not potable. In 2008, Indonesian authorities found that 100 percent of tap water samples from the Jakarta area tested positive for coliform bacteria, as well as high concentrations of toxic chemicals, including lead and mercury. Bottled water should be used for consumption, including for cooking. Factory-bottled soft drinks, juices, and milk sold in sealed containers are generally considered safe. Take extra care when preparing fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. If you cannot see refrigerators, expect that any food, especially street food, is preserved with high concentrations of formaldehyde derivatives. Unprocessed or raw food may be unsafe even in higher-end establishments. Washing, soaking, peeling, and/or thoroughly cooking food are mandatory procedures to minimize insecticide, bacterial, and parasitic contamination. Gastrointestinal disorders are common in Indonesia.
Prescriptions: Carry prescription medications in their original, marked container along with a copy of your prescription and keep them in your hand luggage while travelling. Local pharmacies carry a range of products of variable quality, availability, and cost. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a significant risk; patronize only reputable pharmacies.
Availability of Blood: Rh negative blood may be difficult to obtain in an area with very few Westerners. Know your blood type and recognize that certain blood types may be scarce in Indonesia.
Tuberculosis and Other Medical Conditions: Consult with your personal physicians and check the CDC website for information on prevalent diseases before traveling to Indonesia. You should be current on all recommended immunizations.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Indonesia, where there is a high prevalence of the disease. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
Asthma and other respiratory difficulties are common and generally worse in Jakarta than in other areas of Indonesia, exacerbated by high pollution levels.
Avian (H5N1), swine (H1N1) influenza, and seasonal influenza (H2N3) are endemic in Indonesia all year, with peaks during the rainy season (November- April). Influenza vaccination may be helpful to reduce susceptibility to seasonal flu (H2N3). Live-bird markets are high risk areas for highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1). Current information about influenza in Indonesia can be found on Flu Net .
Dengue is caused by several species of mosquitoes that bite during the day. It exists throughout Indonesia, which has the highest incidence of dengue fever in Asia. Multiple drug-resistant strains of malaria are endemic in some parts of Indonesia, but not in metropolitan Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya, and Bali. Take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes, including using mosquito repellent, wearing long sleeves, and sleeping under a permethrin-soaked bed net. Malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended for travel to malaria-endemic areas outside major cities. Travelers in Sulawesi should be tested for schistosomiasis.
Rabies is endemic in Indonesia, but extensive dog vaccination has reduced cases in Bali by almost 80 percent. Other islands in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and Sumatra still pose risks for rabies. Rabies is a highly fatal disease and availability of treatment is very limited. If bitten, immediately seek treatment at an international clinic. The CDC recommends rabies vaccination if you will spend time in rural areas while in Indonesia.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Road conditions differ significantly from those in the United States. Traffic in Indonesia is dangerous, congested, and undisciplined. Traffic signals are frequently ignored and often in disrepair. The number and variety of vehicles on the road far exceed the capacity of existing roadways. Throughout the country, motor vehicles share the roads with other forms of transportation such as pedicabs, horse and ox carts, pushcarts, and livestock. Road conditions vary from good (in the case of toll roads and major city roads) to dangerously poor.
Generally, road safety awareness is very low in Indonesia. Buses and trucks are often dangerously overloaded and travel at high speeds, frequently resulting in accidents. Most roads outside major urban areas have a single lane of traffic in each direction, making passing dangerous. Most Indonesian drivers do not maintain a safe following distance and tend to pass or maneuver with considerably less margin for error than do drivers in the United States. Although traffic in Indonesia moves on the left side of the road, drivers tend to pass on both sides and might use the shoulder for this purpose. It is common for drivers to create extra lanes regardless of the lane markings.
Motorcycles often claim the right of way, weaving in and out of traffic with disregard for traffic regulations and simple safety precautions. Laws requiring all motorcycle passengers to wear helmets are inconsistently enforced, and passengers often do not wear helmets. Accidents on rented motorcycles constitute the largest cause of non-natural deaths and serious injury among foreigners living in and traveling to Indonesia. Accidents between a car and a motorcycle are invariably viewed as the fault of the driver of the car. Groups of motorcycle riders will sometimes threaten the driver of a car involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
Indonesia requires the use of seat belts in front seats; most Indonesian automobiles do not have seat belts in the rear passenger seats. The use of infant and child car seats is uncommon, and it can be very difficult to rent a car seat.
Expatriates and affluent Indonesians often use professional drivers. All car rental firms provide drivers for a nominal additional fee. Travelers unfamiliar with Indonesian driving conditions are strongly encouraged to consider hiring drivers from reputable companies and through good recommendations. If you need to drive, drive defensively and use a seatbelt. Given the poor quality of emergency services, an injury considered to be minor in the United States might result in greater bodily harm in Indonesia.
Driving at night can be extremely dangerous outside of major urban areas. Drivers often refuse to use their lights until it is completely dark, and most rural roads are unlit. Residents in rural areas sometimes use road surfaces as public gathering areas, congregating on them after dark.
When an accident results in personal injury, Indonesian law requires both drivers to await the arrival of a police officer to report the accident. Although Indonesian law requires third-party insurance, most Indonesian drivers are uninsured; even when a vehicle is insured, it is common for insurance companies to refuse to pay damages. Nevertheless, if you plan to drive in Indonesia, ensure you have appropriate insurance coverage and a valid international driver's license. Ambulance service in Indonesia is unreliable, and taxis or private cars are often used to transport the injured to a medical facility. In cases of serious injury to a pedestrian, the driver of the vehicle could be required to help transport the injured person to the hospital. When an accident occurs outside a major city, it may be advisable, before stopping, to drive to the nearest police station to seek assistance.
Transportation: New private airlines have begun operations over the past several years, as have new bus and ferry lines. Air, ferry, and road accidents that result in fatalities, injuries, and significant damage are common. While all forms of transportation are regulated in Indonesia, oversight is spotty, maintenance may not be properly performed, and rescue and emergency capacity is limited. Indonesia has experienced several fatal plane crashes and non-fatal runway overruns since 2011. Additionally, several ferry accidents and a train collision resulted in dozens of fatalities and even more injuries because of over-crowding and unsafe conditions.
Aviation Safety and Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Indonesian air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA's safety assessment page.
Indonesian air carriers continue to experience air incidents and accidents. U.S. citizens traveling to and from Indonesia are encouraged to fly directly to their destinations on international carriers from countries whose civil aviation authorities meet international aviation safety standards for the oversight of their air carrier operations under the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program.
Since 2014, a number of private pilots have inadvertently crossed into Indonesian airspace and have been detained and paid heavy fines. If you intend to fly on private aircraft through Indonesian airspace, including non-scheduled overflights, you should ensure that correct clearances have been obtained from Indonesian aviation authorities before your depart. Possible penalties include fines and imprisonment.
Maritime Safety and Security: Inter-island travel by boat or ferry can be dangerous: storms can appear quickly, vessels can be crowded, and safety standards vary between providers. Ferries are frequently overcrowded and lack basic safety equipment; a number of ferries have sunk, resulting in loss of life. In 2014, the Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency recorded 137 boat accidents (of which 16 were in Bali and Lombok), resulting in injuries and deaths. Make sure you are satisfied with safety standards before travelling, including safety equipment and life jackets. Do not board before confirming that adequate personal flotation devices are provided. Life jackets suitable for children aren’t always available and you should consider bringing your own.
Piracy: Maritime piracy and other related crimes in and around Indonesian waters continue, although incidents have decreased steadily in recent years. Recent reports include thefts of valuables or cargo from boats that are in port and out at sea. Before traveling by sea, especially in the Straits of Malacca between Riau Province and Singapore, and in the waters north of Sulawesi and Kalimantan, review the current security situation with local authorities. Be vigilant, reduce opportunities for theft, establish secure areas on board, and report all incidents to the coastal and flag state authorities.