No concrete plans yet for Bali digital nomad visa, official says

There has been loud chatter recently about a special long-term visa for digital nomads in Bali, but it seems nothing has been set in stone yet.

As first reported by Bloomberg, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno recently reiterated his desire to attract digital nomads to Bali by proposing a new five-year visa for them. However, after we spoke to a local immigration official for confirmation today, it seems the plan is still in its early stages – at best.

Head of the Bali Office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Anggiat Napitupulu, told Coconuts Bali today that the digital nomad visa proposal was news to them.

“As far as we know, we have received no information on discussions about the visa at the central government [level],” Anggiat said, stressing that regional offices are only tasked with implementing visa policies introduced by the central administration.

As widely reported, Sandiaga revived discussions about the digital nomad visa amid reports that many come to Indonesia, including Bali, using other permits such as the tourist visa.

While it was not exactly a novel idea (Coconuts reported Sandiaga announcing the same proposal for digital nomads last year), the digital nomad visa became the talk of the town again with the minister quoted as saying that Bali was among top destinations for remote work.

Anggiat conceded that officials currently find it difficult to monitor foreigners who come to Bali for remote work. 

“They enter Indonesia using visas as permits to stay in Indonesia, but their activities are not in line with the purpose of stay as outlined in the visas issued,” he said.

Official acknowledgement of foreigners conducting remote work in Indonesia, as the digital nomad visa is touted to be, would certainly aid in their supervision.

In addition, Anggiat said further study by officials is required to determine the pros and cons of the proposed digital nomad visa, implying that it may be further from realization than recent reports have led us to believe.

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