WHY do Retirement Visas cost so much ??

Because Indonesian wants money!

And the US doesn't?   ;)

Odd isn't it how we can actually live pretty well on our Social Security benefits here in Indonesia.  But I wouldn't try that back in the ole US of A...would you?

I have to agree with you Roy. It cost me about $5000 eight years ago to get a working visa in Australia. And it took nine months for them to issue it. I reckon the visa prices in Bali are well worth the price.


I was shopping around for a good  agent for some time, certainly you can find some one cheaper than Bali Mode, but my experience was that those cheaper agencies don't even answer your emails!!
Any way I did started contacting my agent from Australia and I did send all papers from there! however you still need to come to Bali to do your lease Agreement and provide to your agent an ID from a Indonesian employee. Once you give all that to your agent, it takes two weeks to get your passport Stamped with Kitas, you can not get that inside Bali, you can pick it up in Singapore if you want, in my case I went to Perth. Once you back to Bali your agent will get your passport and book for photo and fingerprints in immigration Bali.
I hope my experience helps!

Some of you often have excellent advice and I always look out for your posts on most subjects so I'm hoping to pick your brains. 

I'm moving to Bali at the end of April and I will be retiring with very little income.  I believe the requirements for a retirement visa include having a minimum  income of US$1,500 along with an assurance that you will hire a local for domestic duties etc.  I just about scrape through by the skin of my teeth but I don't honestly know if this amount of $$ is viable.  I don't want to live a very frugal life in Bali, otherwise there's no point in moving.   That said, I've had to budget all my life, so I don't squander money.  I also want to be able to pay for local staff properly.

Would you say this amount of money is good enough for a reasonably comfortable retirement?  I'm talking about a nice home (don't mind sharing) with good internet and furniture and close to the sea. 

I assume that I need to apply for a retirement visa when I'm already in Bali.  Is this correct?

You guys really are a fount of solid information.

Looking forward to your usual good advice.  Thanks!

Rose, the bottom line...the real truth, is that living in Bali is getting more and more expensive each year. 

As you know, retirement income is largely a fixed income.  So, with that in mind, if your situation here would be barely adequate in year one…what’s the likelihood of your situation being better in subsequent years?

What you might want to consider before you make a total commitment to move to Bali is to try it out for six months or a year.  Give it your best shot, and who knows…maybe you’ll find a perfect business opportunity here (although that’s obviously not retirement). 

Come to Bali on a sixty day visit visa which will allow for monthly renewals up to a total 180 day stay.  Use your time well, and who knows?

Thanks for that response, which makes perfect sense.  I have actually committed to a full year in Bali beginning late April.  I paid a visit to Ubud in February for a week just to get a sense of how suitable it would be for me, but I couldn't really get a sense of cost of living in such a short time.  I think it takes rather longer to settle down to a routine budget.

I will start my adventure in Ubud and take it from there.  Hopefully I will find a viable way to live. 
I think I will need a retirement visa to spend 12 months on the island, but I'm not sure.

hi rose, I would suggest thinking about the bukit area / nusa dua , rents tend to be cheaper and more available food shopping than ubud , if your concerned about budget , and of course there are good beaches with clean water , best of luck !

Thanks I'll look into it.  I mainly need to find a friendly community that's a good fit for me as I'll be leaving all family and friends behind in Australia.   I'll learn to speak Indonesian but will still need Western friends and companions.  I always think that if the people are right then everything falls into place.  I'll definitely check out Nusa Dua  - although I always thought it was a tourist area.

inside btdc nusa dua is tourists only , but the area of nusa dua  is much bigger with many villages it is english friendly so no worries ya

House rentals in Nusa Dua and the Bukit (Jimbaran) are cheaper than in Ubud? 

Really?  That is something I never heard before.   ;)

A great area of Bali to be sure, but for me...way, way too hot...oppressively hot.

you can live very comfortable with that amount of money which is equivalent to the Australian pension.
Indonesia will also ask you for health insurance which is wise to have. In my case I got Australian travel insurance for 1 year which I can renew for another year, after that I need a local provider.

Thanks for that.  It's a relief to know!!

May I inject another aspect into this discussion?  That would be, are you planning on living alone, or with a partner (and thus sharing expenses)? 

The math changes radically when one is to be living alone.

I’m not prying for information…rather just making the point.   ;)

Rose, you have to get the retirement visa at your local Indonesian embassy/consulate prior to arrival. You will need to coordinate with a retirement kitas sponsor in order to get your retired visa. There have been a couple of sponsors/agents listed in this thread.  Would have been best to contact one while you were here in Feb.  The one I use is getting more and more expensive (Bali IDE...9.500.000rp per year).  Here is where I put in a pitch for north Bali.  Very reasonable housing cost, staff starts out at 800.000rp per month, immigration office between Lovina and Singaraja and several good grocery store options with fresh produce.  Best of luck.

Hi Ubudian
It's a very good point too.  I will be alone, but happy to share with a like minded ex pat.  I think that could work well.

Thanks for that post.
You say I need to get a retirement visa prior to travelling to Bali, but that I should have obtained one while I was there in February.  I'm confused.....

"Rose, you have to get the retirement visa at your local Indonesian mbassy/consulate prior to arrival."

I don't believe that is accurate or true.  In fact, several of the stipulations/requirements for a retirement KITAS can only be met after being here "boots on the ground" (no military pun intended), such as employment of a pembantu and lease...just to mention those two. 

The vast majority of retirement visas are applied for and granted while the applicant is already on Bali (or elsewhere in Indonesia).

As far as I know, only applicants from Australia can initiate the retirement visa process from the Indonesian embassy or consulates there (in OZ)...and the sound reason for that is many Australians have already leased property and employed local help before making the retirement move here.   

Commander, if you have documented information to the contrary...please post the source.

Sorry for the confusion Rose.  In order to get your retired visa, you will need your grantor (sponsor, which is to say the agent who will eventually handle your "limited stay permit" or KITAS) to submit an application for the visa to Jakarta.  The approved visa will be telexed to the embassy/consulate of your choice in OZ.  You must apply for this visa from your home country. It is a single entry visa.  Once you arrive in Indonesia, you have 7 days for your grantor (sponsor/agent) to submit the application for your KITAS to the immigration office nearest to your residence in Indonesia.  What was not clear in my earlier post was the missed opportunity to contact a grantor/sponsor/agent while you were here in Feb to get the process started.  There is lots of paperwork involved which you can start now via email with a grantor/sponsor/agent.

Roy, the source is "Government Regulation of the Republic of Indonesia #31 of 2013". See article 102 regarding the "limited stay visa" requirement for "foreign elderly travelers". (This is in fact the "retirement visa").  See article 141 regarding the "limited stay permit" for "foreign elderly travelers". (This is in fact the "retirement KITAS").  I have been through this inital process of obtaining the visa first in the home country (handled by my agent Bali IDE) and then obtaining the KITAS every year after that for the past 4 years.  Don't forget to have a valid exit/re entry permit when and if you depart or you will have to start all over again. Also if you change grantors (which is to say your travel agent sponsor) you must start over again. I verified this at the immigration office in Singaraja.  Hope this clears it up for you.  Cheers

As I said earlier, you always provide such solid information - thanks for all the posts everyone.
I will make enquiries with an agent while I'm still here - I still have a few weeks before I depart. 
I believe there's a link somewhere to a list of trustworthy agents.   Would someone be kind enough to post it so I can start the process?

Thanks again everyone!

Commander, we are still “hung up” on this:

"Rose, you have to get the retirement visa at your local Indonesian embassy/consulate prior to arrival."

That isn’t accurate.  By far, most applicants for retirement visas apply for their visa once already here in Bali (or elsewhere in Indonesia). 

You can refer to this site which explains the process in full:


Note the wording:  “You can enter first on a visit on arrival visa (VOA) and then after a month apply for the limited stay permit (ITAS).”

A person who has never been to Bali will find it almost impossible to comply with the requirements for a retirement visa without first coming to Bali…in particular, the housing requirement. 

To the extent that a person can initiate the application process prior to their arrival here…that’s fine, but it is in no way required that “you have to get the retirement visa at your local Indonesian embassy/consulate prior to arrival.” 

Moreover, if this were true: “you must apply for this visa from your home country” then all of us who turned 55 whilst already living in Indonesia would have needed to return to our home countries to apply for our retirement visa.  I sure didn’t need to do that, nor anyone else I know who turned 55 while already here…and wanting a retirement visa.

What is true, and this might be the point of your confusion, is that to enter Indonesia on a 60 day visit visa (renewable here for up to 180 days)...yes, that must be obtained at any Indonesian embassy (be that in your home country or not). 

A foreigner planning on retiring in Indonesia is wise to first enter Indonesia on that visa (60 day renewable visit visa) as it affords them plenty of time to secure proper housing, obtain a sponsor, and begin the retirement visa application. 

Rose, two of the most often used/recommended visa agents here on Bali are PT Bali Ide (I used them for many years), and Balimode.  A quick Google will land you their contact details.

Great information as always - many thanks!

I checked this issue with immigration last week.
Their version is:
You MAY enter on a tourist visa and apply whilst you are in Indonesia.
The paperwork MUST be picked up at an embassy outside Indonesia, but the location is your choice.

Assuming Jakarta immigration gave me the true facts, that's the end of that argument.

That's exactly correct Fred...and relayed verbatim to me by the head of the Renon, Denpasar immigration office.  It's been this way since 2002.   ;)

Roy,  the link you provided is based on the 1998 regulation modified in 2002.  That information is old.  The new regulation I quoted #31 of 2013 is the current information.  Not an easy read, but very detailed as to the requirements.  For example, a VOA can not be converted to a limited stay permit (KITAS).  See Art 141 1. (a).  A limited stay visa (type 319 is the designation for a retirement visa) is required for a limited stay permit to be issued by immigration to stay in the country as a retiree.  You can go to the Indonesian Consulate page in Vancouver Canada and read the requirements (including that you must be a Canadian citizen or have the appropriate canadian stay permits to apply there).  Many of these local agents promise that they can obtain a visa from Singapore and perhaps they can, as you know money often trumps regulations.  Again, a "visa" is what gets you into the country, a "limited stay permit" (KITAS) is what allows you to stay and an "exit re entry permit" is what allows you to go out and come back in.  Again, I have been through the process for a retirement visa and KITAS.  I am also eligible for an investment visa and KITAS. In order to apply I must leave the country, get an investment visa (different visa type with a different grantor/sponsor) and then re enter and apply for a KITAS.  I have asked at the immigration office up here and they concur.  I am not trying to pick a fight with you Roy.  I am only concerned with putting out the correct information.  You can't use the fact that you must hire a helper and have a rental agreement as proof you can apply once you are here. Bali IDE provided the household helper agreement using the KTP of someone I have never met. I arranged a rental agreement and provided a copy to Bali IDE before they applied to Jakarta for my visa. Most folks who will apply for a retirement visa will have visited here at least once unless they put their total trust in an expat forum or a visa agent. If so we owe it to them to provide accurate up to date information.

Sorry, thought I was responding to a PM Roy.

“For example, a VOA can not be converted to a limited stay permit (KITAS).”

That’s correct.  A VOA cannot be converted ANY other type of visa.  But that has nothing to do with coming to Indonesia on a VOA, or a 60 day visit visa (which also cannot be converted to any type of KITAS visa) and applying for the retirement KITAS while here in country.  This has nothing to do with converting one visa to another visa.     

The fact is, both the VOA and 60 day visit visas are automatically cancelled when the retiree applicant here in Indonesia goes to the Indonesian embassy/consulate of their choice (out of country) to pick up their visa after application and approval. 

There have been no recent changes in this…and both Fred and myself have independently verified this…he in Jakarta, and me here in Bali. 

I totally agree with you about the need for accurate information on this forum, and that’s precisely why I’m not agreeing to (and with persistence), the information you have offered, specifically that the retirement visa applicant must apply for their visa in their home country and prior to arrival in Indonesia.  Moreover I cannot find anywhere on the internet where the retirement visa application process is described in your manner.

Is it possible to apply for a retirement visa outside of Indonesia?  Depending on the country of origin of the applicant, and the embassy or consulate where they will be applying…yes.  Is it required that retirement visas be applied for in the applicant’s home country and prior to arrival in Indonesia.  Most assuredly, no.

Okay Roy.  Now we are on the same page. I agree you can do all the leg work while here on whatever type of visa you may have arrived on.  The part you were leaving out is you then must leave, and go to an Embassy/Consulate "somewhere" to collect your visa.  I agree. I was saying to apply from your home country (and thus avoid the fly in, fly out and fly in routine...one flight being much cheaper than 3).  Glad we got to the bottom of that...whew.  Cheers

As for Rosefirth,
The issue is not on costs of living down the track. Though the costs of living in Bali is famous for many tourist prices.. more expensive than the rest of Indonesia as a standard. Yogya would be a great place too.

The issue will be health care costs and insurance.
If you meet critical ilnesses or even hospitalisation, it is best you are well covered within Indonesia and outside.
As you advanced in age, you will need more of it. And without adequate coverage your disposable income will diminish and poof. Even then, private insurance such as Axa are moderately expensive. The ones you get from Australia wont cover you if you dont live in Australia for extended period of time. So you are advised to shop locally.

OK, great Commander! 


a retirement visa is for a year...only a Kitap is 5 years....your sponser has to be one of the few that are licenced to do that visa..as most are not allowed to do it//if it/s your 1st...9'5..mill..a bit dear but ok..i had one for 5 years...renewed every year,,u/ll have to show proof of ..income..be over 55y..Address in bali if your staying there.cheers/

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