Bali requests no visas-on-arrival for Russians, Ukrainians

PHOTO: Bali is welcoming tourists, but asking for visas-on-arrival to be suspended for Russians and Ukrainians. (via Unsplash)

Bali has requested that the central immigration agency cancels visa-on-arrival for Russian and Ukrainian nationals. The move comes after at least four Russian citizens were deported this month for visa violations, and following repeated warnings from immigration authorities about working on tourist visas.

Governor I Wayan Koster requested the Ministry of Law and Human Rights to cancel the visa-on-arrival facility for Russian and Ukrainian citizens specifically, due to a series of violations.

“Because they are at war, so they flocked to Bali, including those who sought comfort or came to work here.”

Bali has been a popular destination for Russians and Ukrainians, with Russian nationals being among the biggest demographic arriving in Indonesia. Koster said that more Russians and Ukrainians are breaking rules more often and worse than people from other countries though.

The governor did not provide details on the violations, but recent incidents that got attention online include a man who allegedly hit a pedestrian while driving under the influence of alcohol and a model offending many by posing naked at a sacred tree.

And three Russian women were recently arrested in Bali and deported for sex work. The women came to Indonesia using business and tourist visas. Then authorities received a tip-off about “suspicious activities” at a villa in the Balinese town of Seminyak.

Three Indonesian and Russian couples were found, and immigration confirmed the Russian women to be sex workers. The three were deported on Friday and were banned from returning to Indonesia. The fate of the Indonesians involved is unconfirmed.

Just as Thailand has seen an influx of Russians this year, Bali has seen a huge jump over even pre-pandemic numbers. Before Covid-19, about 88,0000 Russians arrived in Bali between September and January. But more than 77,500 Russians arrived in Indonesia between September 2022 and January 2023. About 8,800 Ukrainian visitors arrived between September 2022 and January 2023.

A spokesperson for Indonesia’s immigration agency declined to comment on the request to cancel the visa-on-arrival policy for Russian and Ukrainian nationals. The embassies of Russia and Ukraine in Jakarta had a similar lack of response.

Bali has been recovering from the Covid pandemic, after years of stifled tourism. In 2019, 6.2 million international tourists came to the island known for temples, beaches, and partying.

World News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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