BALI, Indonesia (eTN) – Yesterday I arrived at Den Pasar International Airport ready to chill out for 4 days. I had a wonderful flight on Thai International Airways.
Knowing the old Bali airport, the new building was very modern and pleasant, until I arrived in the immigration hall for immigration and passport procedures.
I was greeted by several types of unofficial looking bystanders asking for $25 for express service to get through immigration procedures quickly.
I proceded to the Visa on Arrival bank counter, where I encountered a 10-minute line and paid my $25 Indonesian visa fee.
When entering the immigration hall and seeing the line for “Foreigners,” I had a hard time swallowing the amount of time I was now going to have spend in this line.
Several other non-official looking bystanders were here, too, urging arriving tourists again to pay them $25 to make it through immigration in 5 minutes. The alternative was a very long wait.
Being a man of priniciple, I opted to get into the long line. Having free Wi-Fi made it easier to be productive while waiting for about 90 MINUTES to make it to the immigration officer.
When I asked if the express fee is legal, I did not get a clear answer. I checked the Internet and some inbound operators in Bali actually included express treatment in their options.
If this is the way it has to be, it explains that Indonesian immigration officials and airport officials have very little incentive to make it easier for arriving passengers in opening more immigration channels, since this may take away from a very lucrative income.
I am wondering who is included in the chain of people on the receiving end of the profits of this express fee?
Perhaps it would be a good idea for US immigration to also officially offer such preferred treatment for additional money profits.
Whether it is bribery or an official fee, is not clear. What is clear is that all the lines will remain long when you enter the Republic of Indonesia, so I suggest if you make more than $25 an hour as your salary, the fee might be a good investment.