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Navigating a safe passage back to Bali

Even before the pandemic, the rules for getting into Indonesia have always been ever-changing and confusing. And with even more red tape than usual because of the lingering pandemic, it can be difficult to determine what the entry requirements actually are.

After months of going back and forth with the idea of loosening up restrictions and entry requirements, the Indonesian Government has finally executed such plans, meaning Australians can now return to our favourite Indonesian holiday island — Bali.

For those eager to travel to the Island of the Gods, here’s everything you need to know.

General travel requirements in relation to the COVID-19 and vaccination regulations

+ Firstly, to travel to Bali you must be vaccinated with at least two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and have an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate. Before departing, it’s recommended you print out a copy of your vaccine certificate as well as downloading an electronic version to your smartphone. The easiest way to get your international certificate is through your Medicare account via myGov, or via the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

+ You must also provide evidence of a COVID-19 (PCR) test taken within 48 hours of departure to Indonesia. However, children under the age of six are not required to be vaccinated to enter.

+ Those who are vaccinated and have contracted COVID-19 within 30 days prior to departing will need an official letter/recovery certificate from their doctor showing they are not contagious anymore. If you fall into this category, you won’t need to have a PCR test 48 hours before departure, but you will be required to take a PCR test upon arriving in Indonesia. And if the result is positive, you will have to isolate in a hotel or hospital appointed by the Government.

+ If you are showing symptoms on arrival to Indonesia, you will be required to take a PCR test before you get to the immigration checkpoint at the airport.

+ For now, foreign travellers need to have medical insurance that covers COVID-19 related medical and evacuation expenses. If your personal medical or travel insurance does not cover this for Indonesia, you can purchase it from Jagawisata, which is a local insurance branch accepted in Indonesia.

+ Indonesia’s COVID-19 PeduliLindungi app is required when visiting some venues and stores — best to download it before departing.

+ Wearing masks in public is still mandatory in shops, malls and restaurants (but not at the table when you are eating).

Visa on Arrival for Bali

+ Indonesia has changed the visa requirements significantly during the pandemic. As such, Australians travelling to Bali will need to obtain a tourist visa on arrival, which costs 500,000 Indonesian Rupiah ($48.37) and is valid for a 30-day stay. To receive a Visa on Arrival at the airport in Bali, you’ll need to show evidence of a return or onward flight booking to another country and health insurance coverage provided by a company that is incorporated as a legal entity in Indonesia.

+ To speed up and reduce waiting time, Bali Customs has introduced a new electronic customs declaration form for travellers. You can fill out the form online up to two days before your arrival date. For more information, visit: bcngurahrai.beacukai.go.id/ecd/?h=beranda

+ Check the latest visa, entry and vaccination requirements with your travel provider or an Indonesian Embassy or Consulate before travel.

An on-the-ground perspective

+ On arrival into Bali, I found the immigration process fairly easy and straightforward because I had all my documents printed and in a folder ready to go — I also made sure I had electronic copies on my phone just in case.

+ While I would love to say you can breeze through the health screening and immigration process, it is likely you will need to wait in a queue for a short period of time.

+ For the first part of the immigration process, you will need to show that you have the PeduliLindungi app on your phone.

+ From there you will move on to the health screening, where an authority will check your vaccine status, negative COVID test and passport.

+ After the health screening, you will be directed to get your Visa on Arrival and show the QR code provided to you when you filled out the e-CD form online prior to arriving.

+ Then you will collect your luggage and clear customs.

Bali travel checklist

If you are a vaccinated traveller with an Australian passport, here is a checklist of things you will need to bring to enter Bali:

  • Australian Passport
  • International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate
  • Negative PCR/antigen test
  • Digital custom declaration
  • The PeduliLindungi app
  • Travel health insurance that covers COVID-19
  • Your outbound flight out of the country
  • Money for the Visa on Arrival. You can pay in cash, Mastercard or Visa credit card.

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