The visa rules for Indonesia can be a bit confusing. When we entered the country we knew we could choose for a free visa on arrival (you can't extend this visa and you can only enter and leave Indonesia via 9 (air)ports) or buy the visa for 35 USD at the airport which would give us more freedom (you can extend this visa once and you can enter and leave the country wherever you want). So we bought the visa, because we already knew we wanted to stay longer than 30 days. During our trip we got told that we could even extend the visa twice, if we could find a sponsor. That was good news because we are really slow travellers and we will need even more than 60 days for Indonesia. 'Knowing' that, we went to the immigration office in Medan, to extend our visa for the first time. However, here we found out, we were wrongly informed. We found out that de second extension cannot be done.
Gladly there is another option, next to the paid en free visa on arrival. You can apply for a 60 day visa, which is valid for 90 days (so you still have 30 days to get to Indonesia).This visa can be extended for 30 days for 4 times! So if you plan on staying longer, this is the best option. You need to apply for this visa in advance in either your homecountry, or at the Indonesian embassy in any other country.
So we changed our plans completely!
We decided to fly to Georgetown - Malaysia to apply for our 60 day visa. We booked our ticket online for the same evening and a couple of hours later we arrived in Malaysia. We read that the application takes 2 days, but better safe then sorry so we stayed 3 full days.
Address of the immigration office
Konsulat Jenderal Republik Indonesia
467 Jalan Burma, 10350 Georgetown Penang
You can get there by taking bus 101 and get of at Gurney Plaza shopping mall. If you stil need money for the Visa, there is an ATM inside the Plaza. From here it's about a 1 km walk to the Indonesian Embassy. You will pass the Midlands Park Centre where you can make copies and Passport photos if you need it. If you feel lazy and have plenty of time, you can stay on the bus till the busstop near the Embassy. This will take you at least 1 hour more. For the way back, this busstop is the fast way.
* Your passport (valid for at least 6 more months)
* A copy of your passport
* A copy of your (airline)ticket leaving the country
* Passport photo (the form says it needs to have a red background but white is ok as well)
* Filled in forms (you will get these at the immigration office)
When you go to the immigration office, make sure you go in the morning (they open at 9) and are properly dressed. No flipflops, cover your shoulders and wear long trousers. You need to register, show your passport and then you can walk up to the office. When we were there it was crowded and we didn't know where to go. We ended up at window 6, where we got the form that we needed to fill in. Besides the standard information (name, address, etc.) they also ask for your sponsor. This can be anybody. Just make sure that you have an address, persons name and phone number to fill in.
After filling in the form, you return to the window, where you pay 190 Ringgit p.p. and get a receipt. They tell you when you can come back and that's it for the first day. It took us about 30 minutes.
The next day is even more easy. You return to window 6, show the receipt, get your passport back, check your visa and that's it. In and out in 5 minutes. But keep in mind that this is the good scenario. Always plan at least one day extra, just in case..