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Indonesia scraps COVID-19 PCR tests for vaccinated travellers

Swab-free Bali trips are now a reality, with Indonesia formally axing all its COVID-19 test requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.

Great news for those planning a Bali holiday, or trips to the rest of Indonesia, with confirmation that there will no longer be any requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to complete a pre-departure PCR test from 18th May 2022.

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This finally opens up pre-pandemic-style travel to and from the country for Singapore residents, and follows the removal of on-arrival PCR testing on 6th April 2022.

The latest two-way test-free process will be music to the ears of many Singapore residents planning a Bali getaway, and comes just in time for the busy June school holiday season, with costs reduced and short-term travel flexibility increased for travellers.

Two-way test-free and quarantine-free Bali trips from Singapore are finally back. (Photo: Conrad Bali)

Indonesia has become the seventh of ten ASEAN nations to remove pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travellers, with only Brunei, Myanmar and the Philippines retaining the requirement within the region.

Mask-wearing has also been relaxed outdoors, a similar policy now in effect for Singapore.

Previous requirements

For those entering Indonesia on or before Tuesday 17th May 2022, the following pre-departure testing process applied, regardless of your vaccination status:

  • You must have a negative COVID-19 PCR or RT-PCR test, taken at most 48 hours before departure from the first embarkation point; or
  • If travelling from Singapore to an international entry point in the Riau islands (e.g. Batam or Bintan), having been in Singapore for at least 14 days, you may instead have a negative COVID-19 antigen (ART) test, taken at most 24 hours before departure; or
  • You must have a COVID-19 recovery certificate stating that you are no longer contagious, having tested positive at least 10 days and at most 30 days before departure.

New requirements

With effect from 18th May 2022, Indonesia is further streamlining its quarantine-free arrival requirements across the whole country (Bahasa version of the regulations available here).

Effective from 18 May 2022, all fully vaccinated travellers including children and infants will not required to have a pre-departure test and will be able to enter Indonesia quarantine-free via any flight.

Garuda Indonesia

There is no longer a requirement for any pre-departure test to be conducted, provided you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which means you must have:

  • a COVID-19 vaccination certificate (physical or digital) showing that you were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure.

The certificate must be issued in both English and the local language of the country where you were vaccinated, if different.

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The vaccination requirement does not apply to passengers younger than 18 years, who are able to follow the entry requirements of their accompanying parents, guardians or travel companions.

Those aged 18 or over who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons are allowed to travel test-free and quarantine-free to Indonesia, but they must carry a supporting doctor’s certificate from the country of departure.

Valid arrival ports

Fully vaccinated travellers and their accompanying children are now able to enter Indonesia via any of the following ports and all follow the same procedure:

Airports

  • Bali (Denpasar) Airport
  • Batam Airport
  • Bintan Airport
  • Jakarta Airport
  • Lombok Airport
  • Makassar Airport
  • Manado Airport
  • Medan Airport
  • Surabaya Airport
  • Yogyakarta Airport

Sea ports

All international sea ports in Indonesia are now valid as entry points for foreign travellers.

Land border points

  • Aruk, West Kalimantan
  • Entikong, West Kalimantan
  • Motaain, East Nusa Tenggara
  • Nanga Badau, Kalimantan Barat
  • Motamasin, East Nusa Tenggara
  • Wini, East Nusa Tenggara
  • Skouw, Papua
  • War, Papua

On-arrival testing

Indonesia has also amended its on-arrival testing policy as part of this relaxation, with a mandatory PCR swab now only conducted for those who:

  • have a body temperature upon arrival above 37.5 degrees Celsius.

The testing cost (around S$26) is absorbed by the Indonesian Government for Indonesian citizens, or paid by the traveller in the case of foreign nationals.

These travellers must then travel directly to their accommodation (e.g. hotel room) or place of residence and and are not allowed to leave until receiving a negative result.

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Previously those with a COVID-19 recovery certificate were exempt from pre-departure testing, however if they chose not to do a PDT they also had to have an on-arrival PCR test, regardless of vaccination status.

Recovered travellers

Travellers who have recovered from COVID-19 can now travel to Indonesia without any pre-departure or on-arrival testing, regardless of their vaccination status.

  • Fully vaccinated recently recovered travellers follow the same process as other fully vaccinated travellers (no testing with proof of vaccination).
  • Unvaccinated recently recovered travellers must provide recovery evidence in the form of a doctor’s certificate, stating that they are no longer actively transmitting COVID-19. Five days of quarantine is then enforced, with a PCR test on the fourth day.

Generally speaking, unvaccinated travellers must be Indonesian Citizens to travel to Indonesia.

Airlines are still catching up!

One problem with this short-notice change is that the official edict removing the pre-departure testing requirement was not published until early afternoon on 18th May 2022, meaning most airlines (including Singapore Airlines) still have not updated their policies at the time of writing.

Update 19th May: Singapore Airlines and IATA Timatic have both now updated their requirements for travel to Indonesia, reflecting the latest policy with no pre-departure test required for fully vaccinated travellers.

Singapore Airlines is flying 14 times a week non-stop to Bali, but still shows the previous testing requirements on its website for travel to Indonesia. (Photo: Plane’s Portrait Aviation Media / Malcolm Lu)

Systems like IATA Timatic, which many airlines like Jetstar use to determine travel eligibility, have also yet to be updated.

IATA Timatic still refers to previous entry requirements

Therefore if you are travelling to Indonesia in the coming days you should ensure your airline has updated its policy, or play it safe and take a pre-departure PCR test within the required timeframe unless you are certain this will not pose a problem at the check-in desk.

Hopefully all the requirements will be aligned in the days ahead.

How Indonesia compares in ASEAN

Here’s how Indonesia’s latest testing requirements (or lack thereof) look against other ASEAN neighbours, with only three out of the ten countries now imposing a PDT from 18th May 2022.

Testing before travelling to ASEAN countries
based on fully vaccinated travellers departing from Singapore by air

Country Test type Test timing Exemptions
Brunei PCR
or
ART
PCR 2 days before departure
or
ART 1 day before departure
Cambodia No PDT
Indonesia No PDT
Laos No PDT
Malaysia No PDT
Myanmar PCR 72h before arrival Age 5 or below
Philippines No PDT
Singapore No PDT
Thailand No PDT
Vietnam No PDT

Following the recent removal of testing for travel to Vietnam and this latest relaxation for Indonesia, only Brunei, Myanmar and the Philippines still have PDT requirements as of 18th May 2022.

Visa-free travel and Visa on arrival

Since 5th April 2022, those holding one of nine ASEAN passports, including Singaporeans, no longer need a Visa on Arrival (VoA), meaning a nice cash saving compared to the original reopening process, where this was a requirement.

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Here are the approved ASEAN visa-free nationalities, for those arriving in Indonesia as tourists.

  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Visa-free ASEAN tourist arrivals are limited to a 30 day stay in Indonesia, which cannot be extended.

Your Singapore passport entitles you to a visa-free tourist arrival process in Indonesia, as will other ASEAN passports. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Over the last few months, Indonesia has also restarted its Visa on Arrival (VoA) process at a cost of IDR 500,000 (~S$47). The list has most recently been expanded to those holding 60 nationalities.

If you hold one of the following nationalities (based on your passport used to enter Indonesia) you will be able to continue to obtain a VoA at the airport. You cannot apply in advance, and payment is by cash or credit card.

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • China
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Myanmar
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Timor Leste
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • UAE
  • UK
  • USA
  • Vietnam