I’m writing this post to help those who are in the Gili Islands and want to extend their 30 day tourist visa in Mataram for Indonesia, because we sure had a heck of a time figuring out how to do it! Hopefully this will make your visa extension in Mataram easier.
Mataram is the closest place to extend your visa if you are in the Gili Islands (Gili T, Gili Meno, Gili Air). To get there you need to transfer to Bangsal port, Lombok (public boat for 12,000 rupiah – $1 CAD – leaves at 8am, be early!) and then get a taxi (Bluebird for about 100,000 rupiah – $10CAD) to Mataram. We recommend FaveHotel Mataram because it is really really close to the immigration office, has free wifi and breakfast, is next to an Indomart and a cheap streetfront Soto Ayam warung, and the people are amazing.
Extending your visa takes three visits to the immigration office and about a week. Twice during the week we were there the system went down and all office work halted, so this may take longer for you depending on the conditions.
It costs 355,000 rupiah each person (about $35 CAD).
You can enlist the help of an agent from the islands if you like – this would involve you giving them your passport and completed application (plus about $75USD) on the island, and then they will tell you what day you need to go to Mataram to be fingerprinted, and then would bring your passport and visa back to you a few days after that. We opted against this approach to save money and not have to give our passports away. On balance, it would have been nicer to stay in the islands, but you need to go to Mataram eventually anyway to be fingerprinted, there is no way around it, so if you would also like to see Kuta Lombok or Sengiggi then it’s better to just do it yourself.
Day 1: Application
Arrive at the Kantor Imigrasi Mataram (No 2 Jalan Udayana – across from the big Mosque) in the morning (after 8:30am Monday to Friday), go up the stairs to the second floor, and go to Counter 2 (just after the glassed-in area). Ask for a red folder with a visa extension application in it.
Pro Tip: You MUST be dressed modestly. For women this is a t-shirt (no shoulders showing) and pants or skirt to the ankles. For men you must have pants (no shorts, Marc was refused admission!) and t-shirt. There is a security officer at the door and a big printed sign with pictures. They mean business.
Fill in your application (you can ignore the part about the domestic sponsor if you just want to extend a tourist visa), and attach a printed copy of your passport photo page, a copy of the page of your passport with your entry stamp, a passport-size photo of yourself, a print-out of your exit ticket and a print-out of your entry ticket. If you need a printer/photocopy you can ask at FaveHotel Mataram, or there is a print shop down the street behind the immigration office.
Submit to Counter 2 when finished, along with your passport. You will get a little ticket with a number and a receipt with a date printed on it. Double check all the information on the receipt including the spelling of your name etc. Guard these papers with your life! They are your only hope to get your passport back without issue…
The date on the receipt is the date you can come back for fingerprinting. We heard tell that there is an “option” to pay extra (unclear if this is a bribe or not) to get it done the same day, but the day that we were there we were two of about four people in the whole building and still they gave us a date four business days in the future. We pleaded and begged for a faster appointment but they were adamant that there was no way to get a same day appointment. Feel free to try!!
Day 2: Fingerprinting
Arrive bright and early (8am any day except Friday which is 8:30), dressed modestly, and go to Counter 2. Give them your receipt and the little numbered ticket then take a seat.
There is an automated system that calls out ticket numbers (in English!) and a flat-screen TV behind Counter 4 that shows which number is being served so unless you are really clueless, you won’t miss your number. Counter 4 is the glass and wood room with the cashier inside hot-boxing the place with cigarette smoke. #Indonesia.
First your number will be called to go to Counter 4 and pay in cash. Then your number will be called to go to Counter 3 (the glass room) where you will be photographed and all 10 of your fingerprints captured on a little electronic pad. When we went the lady captured my photo and fingerprints before realizing I wasn’t Marc (surprise!) and we had to re-do them. When you pictures and fingerprints are done, confirm with the officer when you should come back to get your passport. Because it wasn’t busy we were able to come back on the same day.
Day 3: Pick Up
This may happen on the fingerprint day, or the day after. Return at the time that was given to you, present your ticket with the number on it to Counter 2 and wait until your name is called. This part was a bit tricky as your name (not number) is called out along with all the other people who are there to pick up, and depending on your name it might not be pronounced as you expect it. We lurked near the counter until we heard something adjacent to my name and snagged our passports that way. You’re done!
If you have experience extending your visa in Mataram, post your process in the comments below! Hope this helps!