Securing Your Chinese Visa: Bali and Jakarta Guide

China is a fantastic country that offers a plethora of fascinating destinations. I've always had a deep appreciation for China and have visited the country several times. During my last visit, I travelled to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, famously known as the “Avatar Mountains” due to its mesmerising landscape featured in the first "Avatar" movie.
Photo: Shutterstock

Chinese Visa Requirements and Application Process from Indonesia

Although obtaining visas for several countries in Indonesia typically requires a KITAS (Indonesian limited stay permit), this isn't necessary for China. As a tourist in Indonesia, you can easily secure your Chinese visa without involving intermediaries. Here's how:
  • A passport valid for more than 6 months with at least 2 blank pages.
  • 2 colour printed photographs (photo specifications available here), along with one in digital format.
  • A completed and printed application form.
  • Printed tickets from Indonesia to China and an onward ticket out of China are required. These tickets must be in English or Chinese.
  • Printed hotel reservations for a minimum of 3 nights are required. Multiple reservations are acceptable if you plan to stay fewer than 3 nights at each hotel.
  • A printed itinerary in English or Chinese detailing the dates and cities you plan to visit.
  • Passport copies including the main page with your photo, the first page, and pages with previous Chinese visas, if applicable.
To start, you should register on the Chinese visa centre’s website and complete the application form, which is detailed yet easy to follow. Begin by having a photo ready for uploading.

Applying at Bali Visa Centre

Once all your documents are ready, visit their office at the Grand Palace Hotel in Sanur. It's located to the right of the main hotel entrance, near the motorcycle parking area. Document submissions are accepted on weekdays from 9 AM to 1 PM.
During my visit, I was asked to provide photocopies of my old passport containing Chinese visas. Since I didn't have these copies, the staff at the visa centre directed me to a nearby photocopying and printing service.
The visa fee was 745,000 IDR, payable only in cash.
After making the payment, I received a receipt specifying that passport collection was scheduled for 8 working days after submitting my documents.

Challenges and Solutions

The following day, I received an email from the visa centre requesting copies of my flight ticket from Turkey. This request was prompted by the fact that the departure stamp from Istanbul in my passport was blurry and undecipherable. I promptly emailed them back the ticket, and my application was forwarded to the Chinese Consulate in Surabaya for decision-making.
It seems that my visit to Turkey raised concerns at the visa centre. Apparently, there are unspoken rules, such as staying in Turkey for more than 30 consecutive days or working in media-related roles, that might lead to visa rejection. A friend of mine who was planning to travel to China with me got his visa rejected, presumably because he indicated that he was a journalist. Amazingly, we were still able to secure his visa on time by reapplying. That involved a lot of legwork, but it was all worth it in the end.
We consulted a staff member at the Bali visa centre, who suggested trying again at the Jakarta visa centre instead. This option was viable because the visa centres operate independently without a shared database, so visa refusals are logged internally at each centre and are not marked in passports.

Applying at Jakarta Visa Centre

My friend promptly submitted his application to the Jakarta visa centre, stating this time that he works as an administrator in a private company. He decided not to include copies of his old passport with entry stamps from Turkey in the documents he submitted.
He swiftly flew to Jakarta, checked into a hotel near the visa centre, and queued up by 9 AM the next morning to submit his documents. Despite the large number of visa applicants at the Jakarta visa centre, the process was well-organized, and he didn't have to wait long. He chose expedited visa processing, which takes 3 working days and costs 1,302,000 IDR, payable by cash or credit card.
Please note that expedited visa processing is only available at the visa centre in Jakarta, not in Bali.


Eight working days later, I collected my passport with the Chinese visa. My friend also received his passport in time for our scheduled flight to China.
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