Indonesia Drops Pre-Departure Tests for Travelers

Southeast Asia’s biggest country has finally followed in the footsteps of neighboring Malaysia and Singapore.

The Balinese cliff-top temple of Pura Luhur Uluwatu at sunrise. (Photo: R.M. Nunes/iStock)

Bali-bound holidaymakers will be thrilled to know that fully vaccinated tourists entering Indonesia by land, sea, and air are no longer required to undergo PCR testing ahead of their trip. President Joko Widodo announced earlier this week that testing requirements would be waived for all international and domestic travelers who have received at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Jakarta has also rescinded its outdoor mask mandate except in crowded places, with facial coverings still a must while indoors and on public transportation. The official changes to entry rules went into force on Wednesday afternoon.

Though mandatory on-arrival tests were removed in early April, the PCR testing requirement has been a deterrent for overseas visitors, as a family may have to fork out as much as US$300 in extra costs. The updated regulations also make it easier for Singapore residents to go on a last-minute weekend getaway to Batam or Bintan. Aside from their usual travel documents, all prospective visitors need is a digital or physical certificate in English proving that they have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure. Those less than 18 years old who are traveling with their guardians are exempt.

The decision came a week later than anticipated as officials wanted to gauge the impact of the recent Lebaran (Eid Al-Fitr) holidays on coronavirus caseloads. No less than 85 million people traveled around the country during the week-long break, which has not yet caused a discernible spike in new infections. International arrivals can expect to go through thermal scanning at ports of entry; any foreign national who registers a body temperature of over 37.5 will have to take a PCR test at their own expense and self-isolate at their chosen accommodation until they receive a negative result.

Indonesia is the latest ASEAN member to scrap such measures after Vietnam, which ended testing and vaccination requirements for all overseas visitors last Sunday. But Jakarta hasn’t reverted to its pre-Covid visa policy. While visa-free access has been restored to all citizens of ASEAN nations, the government only recently extended the visa-on-arrival scheme to 17 more countries and territories, bringing the total count to 60. That’s still a far cry from the 161 non-ASEAN jurisdictions that enjoyed visa-free access before the pandemic.

Share this Article