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Indonesia: Student Visa Rules Eased

(Jan. 27, 2016) Under an agreement of January 21, 2016, between Yasonna H. Laoly, the Minister for Law and Human Rights, and Mohamad Nasir, the Minister for Research and Technology and Higher Education, visa procedures for foreigners planning to study in Indonesia will be simplified and can be completed online. The hope is that the revised procedure will attract more students from abroad. (Liza Yosephine, Govt Eases Visa Requirements for Foreign Students, JAKARTA POST (Jan. 21, 2016).) According to Nasir, relatively few students, about 5,700 at present, come to Indonesia from other countries; in contrast, 28,800 students from Indonesia are now enrolled in schools abroad. (Id.)

The Director-General of the Immigration Office, Ronny F. Sompie, said the changes will affect the process of applying for a student visa and stay permit. (Id.) Visas for students are authorized by the Immigration Law. (Law No. 6, 2011 on Immigration (May 11, 2011), art. 39, House of Representatives website (in Indonesian); Indonesian Immigration Law UU6-2011, STATE GAZETTE No. 52 (2011), available at THAIBIZ INDONESIA.)

The online method of obtaining temporary stay permits for student foreigners is scheduled to begin operation in February 2016. The process will now allow applicants to skip visiting immigration offices in person to complete paperwork for a temporary stay permit, provided that they already have a temporary stay visa and go through the online process within 30 days of arrival in Indonesia. It will not be possible to use the online platform to change from a tourist visa to a temporary stay visa and permit. (Yosephine, supra.)