For the first half of my story in Indonesia this summer, I had to extend my tourist visa. This time, I did it in Solo’s immigration office. I was worried that they might send me to the capital of the province (Semarang, two and a half hours away), but luckily I could do everything right in Solo. This leads me to believe that you should be able to extend your visa at any immigration office you find, but no promises.
See my earlier post for an overview of the process. In Solo, everything worked exactly the same way, with one crucial difference: almost no foreigners go to the Solo immigration office. When I walked in the building, it was swamped with Indonesians,1 but by the time I got upstairs and wound my way to the back of the building, there was only one other person hanging about.
This crucial detail means that it was much easier and more pleasant to extend my visa in Solo. I was able to go in every morning just after opening, get my business done, and get out very quickly. The service also felt more personable, simply because there were less people traipsing through there every day.
The only annoyance was that the three day process still was carried out, even though it seemed like I should be able to submit all my papers and pay on the same day. On the flip side, in Jogja I sometimes was told to come in the afternoon, but in Solo I was able to get everything done in the morning. They were also flexible about what day I came in to pick up my passport, something I might be afraid to ask about in Jogja.
And let me just repeat this: there was literally no waiting. No crazy lines and numbers, no lost documents. One morning, I was in and out in eleven minutes. So much nicer than Jogja. The only drawback is that Solo’s immigration office is further from the city than Jogja’s.
1As it always is–what are they all doing there?