So you got expelled from Indonesia, and have the dreaded blacklist stamp on your passport. The most common reason for that is probably a long overstay. (Have you checked out our article on how to handle overstaying your visa in Indonesia?)
Now that you are outside of Indonesia, your problems are over, right? No? You want to come back? Maybe because of your family or loved ones you left behind, or another connection, you have no choice but to attempt to get back. Problem is, you don’t know how to proceed. You received conflicting information from the Indonesian consulate in your country. Or even worse, you traveled to Indonesia after the date your blacklisting was supposed to have ended, but are still denied entry. Well, this article will point you in the right direction.
What is a blacklist?
A blacklist (or Daftar Penangkalan) in Indonesia, is literally a list of people who are not allowed to enter the country. The law governing this list is the Immigration law, UU No 6 Tahun 2011. It provides for the maintenance of such list within the Immigration’s computer system (Sistem Informasi Manajemen Keimigrasian). All border officers and consulate workers will refer to this list to check whether to allow entry or issue a visa.
Furthermore, the law specifies two types of inclusion in this list: temporary and permanent. If this is your first blacklisting, you managed to get it without breaking too many rules, and/or pissing off too many people, then your blacklisting is very likely of the temporary variety. Article 102 of the Immigration law specifies that the temporary blacklisting lasts at most 6 months, and can be extended 6 months at a time.
Unfortunately, in practice, the temporary blacklisting automatically renews every 6 months. That is, until a request to end it is submitted and approved. This is because it would be an administrative nightmare to have every blacklist entry manually renewed, and immigration officials are busy enough.
The permanent blacklisting is just like it says, permanent. Repeat offenders, people convicted of drug offenses, and security threats are placed on the permanent list.
How to resolve a temporary blacklisting
A temporary blacklisting is supposed to last only 6 months unless extended. However, in practice it automatically renews indefinitely.
Before reading this article, you would think that the easiest way to deal with this is just to wait for the blacklisting to expire and then hop on a plane to Indonesia. Over the years many people tried this approach and were unfortunately denied at the border. Now you know better: a temporary blacklisting is supposed to last only 6 months unless extended. However, in practice, it automatically renews indefinitely.
To be sure of your status, you need to check with the Directorate General of Immigration (DirJenIm) at Jl. H. R. Rasuna Said Kav. 8-9, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan. Specifically with the Direktur Penyidikan dan Penindakan Keimigrasian. The office should be on the 3rd floor. They have a phone and e-mail you can try but don’t be disappointed if no one responds. Call Center : + 62 21 5225029 / 5225028, Email: [email protected]
Instead, the best way for you to do this is to have a friend/relative/agent go down there in person and find out. Ignore the ground floor people, and head straight up to the 3rd floor.
If you are still on the list (and you will be) you need to apply for removal. It would be good to prepare an application for removal before going to Immigration, to save a return trip.
- Wait for at least 6 months. This is the minimum blacklisting period. You can not appeal to end the blacklisting sooner.
- Have your sponsor/agent make the appeal in person for you, at the address above. You will need someone who has legal status in Indonesia to submit the application for you. Have them bring all the required documents listed in the next paragraph.
- Wait for the immigration officials to produce a blacklist removal letter (Surat Berakhir Masa Penangkalan). In most cases, this will be a same-day process.
- Have your sponsor/agent fax a copy of this letter to the Indonesian Embassy/Consulate where you intend to apply for a visa. You have to fax it, even though more modern technology is now available.
- Apply for a visa once the Embassy/Consulate received the fax. Check out the different visit visas for Indonesia that you can apply for.
Provide your sponsor/agent with all the documents listed below, so that they may submit your application.
- A petition to remove your name from the blacklist (Permohonan Pencabutan Cekal) letter, signed on Rp 6000 meterai. You can write a generic request letter (Surat Permohonan). Your sponsor will probably know how, if not here is an article on how to write a Surat Permohonan.
- Copy of your sponsor’s KTP/Passport/ID
- Copy of your Passport, including all pages with stamps and the page with the blacklist stamp.
In some cases, for whatever reason, your appeal for removal from the blacklist will be denied. In this case, you will have to take your case to the State Administrative Court (Peradilan Tata Usaha Negara). What to do from here is beyond the scope of this article, and you should probably engage the services of a lawyer to resolve this.
What NOT to do!
Smuggle yourself into Indonesia. Of course, most of the time people say this jokingly, but some people get desperate enough to try this. It will lead to legal problems far beyond overstay or blacklisting. Just don’t.
Buy a plane ticket and go to Indonesia thinking that the blacklisting has expired. Even if officials have told you the date your blacklisting should expire. In most cases, the blacklisting was automatically renewed and you will be denied entry. This could end up being a costly mistake.
Apply for a visa without checking the status of the blacklisting. Even though visa officers are required to check the blacklist, inexplicably sometimes visas are issued despite being on the list. The result is the same as above: denied entry and a wasted trip to Indonesia.
Try to enter with a new passport. After all, the blacklist stamp was on the old passport, right? Well no, this is the 21st century. Immigration computers collect a lot of data and even biometrics. This could have worked maybe 25 years ago, but it is no longer the case.
A final note
As a foreigner, one does not have an inherent right to enter or be in Indonesia. One is in Indonesia legally only with the permission of the Indonesian government. We urge our readers to be mindful of this. Please obey the law while in Indonesia.
Usual legal disclaimer: While every effort has been made to make the above information as accurate as possible, the writer is not a lawyer. This article is not legal advice. Indonesian laws, regulations, and procedures can change at any time. This post was last updated in January 2017 and was accurate to the best of the writer’s knowledge at that time.
Please visit Expat Indo Forum and add your voice!