Web Alert: Indonesian immigration authorities becoming stricter in the enforcement of immigration law
29 March 2017
The club has been made aware of a recent case of the Indonesian immigration authorities taking a strict approach to enforcement of local visa regulations resulting in significant fines and the deportation of a number of crew. This web alert serves as a reminder to members trading to Indonesia of the importance of being aware of Indonesian immigration regulations and ensuring compliance.
Legal advice received from Indonesian lawyers is that:
- Crew who enter Indonesian territory while on duty onboard a vessel are exempted from the obligation to obtain a visa (Article 43 paragraph (2) (c) of Indonesian Law No. 6 of 2011 regarding Immigration ('Immigration Law')).
- However, crew are only allowed to enter Indonesian territory upon receiving an “Entry Stamp” in their passport from the Immigration officer at the Immigration checkpoint (Article 15 paragraph (2) of Government Regulation No. 31 of 2013 regarding Implementing Regulation for Immigration Law ('GR 31/2013')).
- Entry Stamps such as this have the status of a “Visit Stay Permit” (Article 45 paragraph (2) of the Immigration Law).
- Although the law provides that a Visit Stay Permit can be granted to crew for a maximum non-renewable period of sixty (60) days (Article 139(a) of GR 31/2013), in practice, it is very rare for Immigration to grant the maximum 60-days for such a Visit Stay Permit. In some cases Immigration grant the Visit Stay Permit based on the vessel's schedule (for example, if the vessel is scheduled to stay within Indonesian territory for three days, Immigration usually grants a stay permit of four to seven days only). If crew on board remain in Indonesia beyond the period granted, members will be subject to penalties for overstaying.
- Although in cases where members are subject to penalties for overstaying the relevant crew are still allowed to stay within Indonesian territory for maximum sixty (60) days from expiry of the Stay Permit, anyone who stays beyond sixty days from expiry will be deported and will be placed on a deterrence list banning the crewmember from re-entering Indonesia again for a specified period (Article 78 of Immigration Law). Indonesian immigration authorities will take a strict approach in enforcing this provision.
Members are reminded to take note of the above legislation in relation to non-extendable Visit Stay Permits granted to crew entering Indonesian waters. It appears that this legislation has been in force for some time, but only recently has Indonesian Immigration become stricter in the enforcement of the law. To avoid penalties, repatriation/substitute expenses and potential delay to the vessel’s departure due to crew overstaying, members should consider taking the following precautions:
- Ask the local agent to check and notify the duration of stay permits given to crew immediately after completion of Immigration clearance. It may be good practice for members to obtain scanned copies of the stamps given by Immigration, and to assign persons in charge to monitor expiry dates.
- Where it becomes apparent that crew will stay within Indonesian waters for an extended period of time and that the duration of the Visit Stay Permit will be insufficient to enable crew to stay legally in Indonesia, members are recommended to check with local agents in advance to explore the feasibility of applying for other types of visa and/or stay permits with a longer duration.
- With regard to additional costs that may be incurred in compliance with Indonesian Immigration Law (such as costs for applying for a visa/stay permit with a longer duration, crew change costs etc.,) members may consider expressly allocating these costs to charterers in the governing charterparty to avoid disputes as to who shall pay.
The full text of the English version of the Immigration Law and GR 31/2013 can be located at the following links here and here.
Should members have any enquiries regarding stay permits granted to crew calling at Indonesian ports, please do not hesitate to approach your usual club contact.