Bali Governor Suggests Canceling Visa-On-Arrival for Russian, Ukrainian Tourists

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Tourists in Bali, Indonesia. ( Photo: Reuters/ Antara Nyoman, Hendra Wibowo).

The Governor of Bali has requested central immigration authorities to change the policy on visa-on-arrival for visitors from Russia and Ukraine, many of whom have been found to be working illegally in the country.

On Sunday, Bali Governor I Wayan Koster asked the Ministry of Law and Human Rights to revoke visa-on-arrival for Russian and Ukrainian nationals after at least four Russian nationals were deported this month for violating their visa conditions.

“Because they are at war, so they flocked into Bali, including those who sought comfort or came to work here,” the Indonesian governor said, adding that the people from two countries were highlighted as their violations were more significant than that of other nationalities.

According to Reuters, the Tourism Minister of Indonesia Sandiaga Uno commented on the issue on Monday saying, “the number of tourists from Russia and Ukraine who have…caused problems is not yet significant”. He added he would discuss the matter with relevant stakeholders and that any plans to change visa rules must be “carefully reviewed”.

Russian tourists especially came under the radar after several Indonesian netizens spoke out about some questionable instances, including a model who posed naked at a holy tree and a man who reportedly hit a pedestrian while driving drunk.

A spokesperson for Indonesia’s immigration agency under the law ministry declined to comment on this issue to the news agency, while the embassies of Russia and Ukraine in Jakarta have reserved their comments as well.

Russian nationals are among the biggest groups of foreign arrivals in Indonesia, according to the Indonesian official tourism data.

Meanwhile, the police in Thailand recently arrested two Russian tourists for begging on the streets of Surat Thani and similar instances have also been observed in Laos where Russian backpackers were seen holding up placards requesting strangers for money to cover their travel expenses.