Sat, 26 Apr 2003

On social-cultural visa

The visa for a foreigner married to an Indonesian citizen is called Visa Kunjungan Sosial Budaya (visa for social and cultural visit). The procedure involved to obtain this visa is similar to that of a business or KITAS visa.

The procedure can be summarized as (1) a letter of application written by the Indonesian partner is handed into the immigration office, who (2) then returns a letter, authorizing the issuance of a visa, to an Indonesian embassy in the country nominated by the spouse/sponsor.

As a foreigner who has lived in this country for some 15 years, I am amazed that the procedure for issuing a Sosial Budaya visa cannot be done within Indonesia, as the foreigners who apply for such visas are residents within Indonesia and as such are in effect citizens

The money expended in airfares, taxis and hotel accommodation etc., while traveling to another country to obtain this type of visa are lost to Indonesia, whereas if the process was done in Indonesia, the costs would be lower and the money would stay in Indonesia.

My recent trip to Singapore, where I was required to stay for three nights because the consular section requires two working days to process a Sosial Budaya visa, cost the equivalent of 20 months basic wage in Indonesia. Just imagine if the money I had to spend could have stayed in Indonesia, how many more Indonesians would have work/wages.

So I hope that the immigration office can streamline the procedures for Sosial Budaya visa and thus stop forcing people to spend their money in other countries when they really only want to spend it in Indonesia.

L. LEAROYD Sukabumi, West Java