On September 11, 2020, the Indonesian Government enacted a new regulation that introduces several changes to the immigration regime that affect foreigners, Indonesians and the procurement of travel documents.
The new regulation is Government Regulation No. 51 of 2020 regarding the Second Amendment of Government Regulation No. 31 of 2013 regarding Implementing Regulation of Law No. 6 of 2011 regarding Immigration (“GR 31/2013”) (together, “GR 51/2020”).
Foreigners and Limited Stay Permit
Prior to the enactment of this new regulation, foreigners entering Indonesia on a Limited Stay Visa (Visa Tinggal Terbatas or “VITAS”) were required to obtain a Limited Stay Permit (Izin Tinggal Terbatas or “ITAS”) within 30 days of arriving in Indonesia and receiving an Entry Stamp in their passport. This applied to all foreigners entering Indonesia for any purpose, including work and family unification. However, the enactment of GR 51/2020 eliminates this requirement for foreigners visiting Indonesia for work purposes.
An amendment to Article 32(2) now provides that the Entry Stamp, which is given upon arrival at an Indonesian immigration checkpoint, may serve as an ITAS for foreigners entering Indonesia on a VITAS for work purposes. In light of this, foreigners who qualify are no longer required to submit a request to the immigration office for the issuance of their ITAS. Rather, the ITAS will be sent to the foreigners by their registered email address, provided that the system at the relevant immigration checkpoint is capable of automatically emailing the ITAS. If there is a problem with the system said foreigners will have to obtain their ITAS at the immigration office. Note that the effective period of the Entry Stamp shall conform with the effective period of the VITAS.
GR 51/2020 also relaxes the requirements for obtaining an ITAS for foreigners entering Indonesia for purposes other than work by removing the Certificate of Domicile as a prerequisite for the obtainment of an ITAS. This requirement has been removed from Article 142 of GR 31/2013 by GR 51/2020.
While GR 51/2020 does relax some requirements, there is also a regulatory rollback that imposes a restriction on foreign investors and foreigners who enter Indonesia for the purpose of training and scientific research.
Under the old regulatory framework, such foreigners were able to obtain a VITAS on Arrival. Now, with GR 51/2020, which amends Article 106 of GR 31/2013, a VITAS on Arrival is no longer available for foreign investors and foreigners entering Indonesia for training and scientific research. Therefore, and subject to the applicable regulations that allow nationals of certain countries to obtain a Visitor’s Visa on Arrival, such foreigners can only obtain a regular Visitor’s Visa on Arrival and not a VITAS on Arrival.
Recognizing the influx of passport applications by Indonesians, the majority for new passports, GR 51/2020 increases the validity period of Indonesian passports from five years (as provided in Article 51 of GR 31/2013) to 10 years. The stated aim of this change was to decrease the number of applications for passport replacement.
Prior to the enactment of GR 51/2020, Indonesian passports were issued within four working days after an interview with an immigration official. However, GR 51/2020 adds steps, i.e. checking and verifying the applicant’s data, before the issuance of any passport. As GR 51/2020 does not specify a time limit for checking and verifying the data, there is a degree of uncertainty as to when the four-day period to issue a passport would be triggered.
Procurement of Travel Documents
An amendment to Article 71 of GR 31/2013 signifies the Indonesian Government’s acknowledgment of the confidential nature of a regular passport, travel document in lieu of a passport, diplomatic passport and official passport (“Travel Documents”). To maintain the confidentiality of the information therein, the Indonesian Government will now control the procurement of such Travel Documents through the direct appointment of vendors, instead of public tenders. This will not affect the procurement of Travel Documents previously agreed between the Indonesian Government and existing vendors, and obligations arising from such agreements will be respected until their expiration date.
In an urgent situation, Article 228 of GR 31/2013 provides a mechanism for an authorized official as referred to in Article 226(2) of GR 31/2013 (“Authorized Official”) to directly request that immigration officials impose a temporary prohibition on a person from exiting the territory of Indonesia (“Urgent Prevention”). The Authorized Official and the immigration official who receives the request shall deliver a written decision regarding the Urgent Prevention to the Minister of Law and Human Rights within 20 days from when the request is submitted. If no written decision is delivered within the provided time frame, the Urgent Prevention will be deemed terminated by law.
GR 51/2020 does not substantially change the mechanism of this Urgent Prevention request. However, in the spirit of promoting human rights, GR 51/2020 only allows the Urgent Prevention to be imposed once and it cannot be extended or re-submitted for the same person and for the same reason.
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