Visas + Making Sure You Don’t Get Arrested

Our original plan was to spend 3 months in Bali, and live as locals. Not only is Bali and island paradise, but it’s home to the last surviving Hindu-Buddhist civilization in Indonesia, meaning you can sunbathe and visit multiple temples all in one day. We’d take some small side trips here and there, probably to Singapore, maybe to the Philippines, and down to Western Australia, but mostly we’d enjoy the surfer/yogi life in Bali. Jer and I were both really excited about this, I found a great deal on plane tickets online, and booked it. Right after I booked, I got this weird feeling that I should look at visa requirements one more time.

Turns out, I had looked at some special visa which allowed you to stay for 90 days, but your general tourist visa with a US passport can only stay 30 days. After the 30th day (arrival and departure date count towards your total), you’ll be fined something like $30/day until day 60, and after day 60, you face jail time. Yes, you read that right, overstay your visa and you can face up to FIVE YEARS of jail time. And I’ve seen Brokedown Palace several times, there’s no way I’m chancing this.

I cancelled the tickets, got all of our money back (insert emoji praise hands here), and that’s how we ended up with our current itinerary of jumping around through the South Pacific, Australia, and Indonesia. My mistake actually ended up being a great thing for us, it’s “forcing” us to be more nomadic and move around several times instead of having a home base.

{Note: Visas are an annoying, yet understandably necessary part of travel. It’s why you get those stamps in your passport, to show when you arrived in the country. Visas can get complicated really quickly. Most countries mirror the requirements imposed by America for their citizens, so if the US only allow Indonesian citizens a 30 day stay, Indonesia only allows US passport holders 30 days as well. There are definitely exceptions, but please, please, please, make sure you check visa requirements before you book a trip. Go here: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html}

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