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Indonesia: Plan to Extend Visa-Free Entry to More Foreigners

(Dec. 22, 2015) On December 21, 2015, Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister, Rizal Ramli, stated that the country will waive the visa requirement for visitors from 84 additional countries, beginning within the week. This decision brings the number of countries whose citizens can enter Indonesia without visas up to 174. (Govt to Include 84 More Countries in Free-Entry Policy, JAKARTA POST (Dec. 21, 2015).) The United States was included on a list of countries from which visa-free entry is permitted under Presidential Decree No. 104/2015, of October 2015. (President Jokowi Signs Decree for Visa-Free Facility for 75 Countries, ANTARA NEWS (Oct. 7, 2015).)

According to Ramli, the change is designed to increase the number of foreign tourists coming to Indonesia; the government hopes that the number of such visitors will be as many as 20 million by 2019. The countries newly on the visa-free list are located around the world and include Australia; the African nations of Kenya and Madagascar; the Eurasian nations Albania, Georgia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan; and the American nations Brazil and Paraguay. (Govt to Include 84 More Countries in Free-Entry Policy, supra.)

Indonesia has adopted a National Mid-Term Development Plan for the years 2015-2019, by Presidential Decree No. 2 of 2015 that President Joko Widodo signed on January 8, 2015. (Government Has Issued Medium Term Development Plan 2015-2019, Cabinet Secretariat website (Dec. 15, 2015).) Among the targets in the Plan is the goal of earning US$20 million in foreign exchange from tourism by 2019; reaching that level would result in seven million jobs in the tourism sector, a large increase over the current figure of three million. (Govt to Include 84 More Countries in Free-Entry Policy, supra.)