Indonesian immigration says American digital nomad behind viral Bali thread has valid permit

A screenshot from one of KG’s tweets. Photos: Twitter and Unsplash
A screenshot from one of KG’s tweets. Photos: Twitter and Unsplash

Immigration authorities say they will summon the American digital nomad whose controversial Twitter thread about moving to Bali went viral, while stressing that skirting around immigration rules to enter Indonesia during the pandemic is not possible.

Authorities also confirmed that the woman, identified as KG, has a valid visa to stay in the country, despite mounting yet unconfirmed allegations online that she may be in Indonesia illegally.

“[Her stay permit] is still valid until 2021, it’s a visitor stay permit actually,” Eko Budianto, who heads the immigration department at the Bali office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, said.

“We want to look into other possible violations, but it must be stressed that information about special paths that she’d mentioned do not exist in immigration or at the borders.”

On her viral Twitter thread, which is no longer accessible to the public due to her account being locked (though screenshots of the thread live on), KG said she has direct links on “how to go about getting into Indonesia during COVID,” which stoked controversy as she was accused of encouraging others to get around travel restrictions. 

KG also mentioned that she’s been building her graphic design business during her stay in Bali. It is not immediately clear if authorities will also look into possible tax evasion for this case, as foreigners who work in Indonesia for more than 183 days are subject to paying taxes on the income they earn in Indonesia, according to the 2008 Income Tax Law. 

Related ⁠— On foreigner privilege, gentrification, and racism: How one American digital nomad’s Twitter thread about Bali sparked backlash

Indonesia’s borders are temporarily closed to all foreign travelers until at least Jan. 28, and only high-level official visits may be granted exceptions. 

“So if it’s like KG’s visitor stay permit, that is not possible for some time, no matter where or how one goes about it. Basically what KG promoted, for now, is not going to be possible,” Eko said.

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