weirdest immigration law

This post is about what happened between me, my husband and Indonesian Immigration Department at the Medan Polonia International Airport.

For those who live in the country of inequality full of corrupt government officials, I can safely say that we actually accept that as a fact of life.

When I was a little girl, I would ask my parents, why did we have to pay that guy? Why did we have to do this or that? That was not what we learned at school. My parents explained to me that was how they work, we as minorities had to go along with them.

Years have passed; things are still going that way. I am married to an American. He just can’t understand why we put up with that. From the time I lived in Adelaide for the whole four years, never once I encountered things that we deal with everyday here. So I guess in a way I can see why this upset him.

Because of the ridiculous immigration law here, he can’t be sponsored by me to stay here as my spouse. The law doesn’t recognize permanent residency status for foreigners. You either have to work here or you are a tourist. My husband is a freelance consultant who travels country to country, so he doesn’t have work permit in Indonesia. When he comes home, he will use 30-day entry tourist visa.

Things were going smoothly until last month, a certain immigration officer recognized him from leaving to Penang and back again on the same day to get his passport stamped and renew his entry visa. They told him that that was the last time they were letting him do that and suggesting him to get social cultural visa (which, by the way, only lasts two months and we have to spend at least 2 weeks working on it). Since this month is going to be his last month before starting his new contract, we decided not to pursue with that and just try out our luck one more time.

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Today, I got somebody to ask the immigration officer of the Medan Airport whether my husband could fly out and come back again on tourist visa just one last time. He suggested we talk to the head of immigration here in Medan and we might need to “contribute” a bit to him. Of course, my husband would not hear of it. He thinks if he pays them now, it will be a bad precedent for other foreigners who will come in the future! Which is true, and I agreed with him. So we decided not to pay and he had to leave the country in three hour notice.

He has the right to use the 30 day tourist visa to visit his wife. He does not abuse his visa by working here. He should not be denied entry to a country just because somebody needs some “coffee-money”. He reported this incident to American Consulate Office in Medan, and they told him that they will investigate this.

Mixed couples are faced with great legal difficulties here in Indonesia. I just don’t know why they haven’t got to sort it out. It definitely shows you how you treat foreigners and how you value citizens of other countries. Mixed couple with one spouse working in other country will definitely bring in foreign reserves, wont they? They work and send money and eventually spend the money here in the country which in return will benefit the country..

Somebody needs to wake up and address this issue.

This is a long post and I don’t normally do heavy topics. But this has been troubling my family for two years now. I hope something will change in the future.

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5 Responses to “weirdest immigration law”


  1. 1 Dii October 30, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Hi Andie!

    I found your blog thru Google seach,
    I defeately aggree with your post.I will give my opinion later.
    contact me if you like.

  2. 2 andiesummerkiss October 30, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Thank you for your visit and comment, Dii. It is very disturbing for a lot of people. Hope things will improve soon.

  3. 3 LB November 3, 2007 at 5:55 am

    Seems exactly like what Selba says about Indonesian culture… *shrug* Do you know Selba, by the way? http://selba.blogspot.com/

  4. 4 andiesummerkiss November 3, 2007 at 9:00 am

    I don’t know Selba, but I love her blog. Tried to leave comment a while ago, but non secure item window kept on popping out. Will try later.

    The culture never fails to amaze me .. everyday.
    *shrug harder*

  5. 5 mercuryfalling February 5, 2008 at 3:51 am

    dengar2x, medan memang airport paling parah yak oknum2xnya ?! rakus banget. bener tuh, jangan dibiasain ngasi duit kopi. minum air putih aja bilangin. lebh sehat lol

    PS aku td lg nyari peraturan imigrasi, nyasar kesini


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