Bali is always a dream destination in Indonesia where most tourists would like to spend their holidays in. Apart from just being a tourist heaven, many foreigners have flocked into Indonesia to live and work as expats on this golden island that is loaded with many opportunities.
Though blessed with nature, experience and highlights that are so unique and can’t be found elsewhere in the world, Bali is not without its own share of danger. The danger we mention here is not about safety – we’re talking about scams. Just like anywhere in the world, especially Southeast Asia, most of the scams in Bali are the same old tricks but somehow they work every time.
As one of the most visited places in the world, it’s not surprising that Bali is an ideal location for scammers to search for their prey. This article talks about the Bali visa scam and other common scams on the island, and how you can avoid them.
BALI VISA SCAM
Most tourists get a free visa for a month when they arrive at Bali’s airport.
However, when it comes to business visa, social visa and work visa, many foreigners will resort to visa agents for convenience and time-saving purposes. So this is when visa scam happen if you unluckily get yourself an unreliable agents.
This is what will usually happen when the visa agent is downright a crook:
Your passport will never be returned to you after you have paid for your visa application
- These dubious visa agents will apply the wrong type of visa for you due to their lack of knowledge on immigration and Indonesian Law. The most common case our clients share with Cekindo is that fake visa agents often mistake a visa-on-arrival (VoA) with a free visa
- They don’t know that certain airports can’t issue you a VoA and you’ll be refused to enter Bali
- They take forever to process your new visa application or renewal – you will risk overstaying in Bali
- They are not able to provide visa sponsorship
Here are some tips on how you can avoid this kind of scam:
- Get a reputable visa agent. Cekindo has deep insights and knowledge of all visa applications for many years
- Check the visa agent’s physical office, address and website
- Don’t buy into their “too-good-to-be-true” promises, such as overseas job guarantee and visa success guarantee
- Ask them to show their qualification and other eligibility criteria
The taxi driver in Bali may offer you a cheap rate. But if there aren’t any taxi meters, you will end up paying a fortune due to extra charges and longer routes.
Always opt for a cab with a taxi meter and request the driver to turn it on right away. And always agree on a fixed price with writing on a paper to avoid “miscommunication on purpose”.
MONEY CHANGER SCAM
There are many so called “official money changer” in Bali, especially in Kuta and Legian. However, these money changers often offer much higher exchange rate and tell you that there’s no commission – so that you’ll think it’s a good deal.
Worse, some staff at the money changer kiosks will drop some of the notes behind their desks when they’re counting your money without you noticing.
Getting your currency at the ATM will always get you the best rate and avoid being cheated. The ATM transaction fees in Indonesia are also low compared to other cities in Southeast Asia.
POLICE PULLOVER SCAM
One of the great ways to explore Bali is by renting a motorbike or scooter.
However, Balinese police are notorious for eyeing on foreigners for not obeying the laws – especially when you’re not wearing a helmet. And, this police officer may not even be a real police officer.
When riding a motorbike in Bali, wear a helmet, obey the traffic regulations and bring your International Driving License. This way, no police will stop you. But if you do get pulled over by a police officer on the street in Bali, be sure to check for their credentials first to ensure that the police officer is not a fraud. Otherwise, your money will go straight into the police’s own pockets.
DISCUSS YOUR BALI VISA NEEDS WITH CEKINDO
Although we cannot help you with the other common scams, we are happy to help you avoid the Bali visa scam.
Whether you need a social visa, a business visa, a retirement visa or a work and stay permit in Bali or Indonesia, our experienced consultants and legal specialists can provide you with the most convenient solution.
Get in touch with us today or visit our office in Badung. We also have offices in Jakarta and Semarang.