You are here > 1Up Travel > Travel Warnings & Consular Information Sheet > Indonesia


Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets

By Name of Country


Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet

Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Indonesia

Indonesia - Consular Information Sheet
August 10, 2001

TRAVEL WARNING (Issued on August 10, 2001): The Department of State urges American citizens to defer nonessential travel to Indonesia and all travel to Aceh, Maluku, Papua, West Timor, Central and West Kalimantan (Borneo) and Central Sulawesi. Those who must travel to Indonesia, or who are resident there, should exercise extreme caution.

The U. S. Government has received information that indicates extremist elements may be planning to target U.S. interests in Indonesia, particularly U.S. Government facilities, and could also extend to U.S. tourists and tour groups. In addition, social unrest and violence can erupt with little forewarning anywhere in the country. Bombings of religious, political and business targets have occurred throughout the country.

In light of this threat to U.S. interests, all American citizens in Indonesia, including tourists and hotel guests, should take precautions to ensure their safety. American citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to reduce their vulnerability. Americans in Indonesia should maintain a low profile, vary routes and times for all required travel, and treat mail and packages from unfamiliar sources with suspicion.

Due to the continuing threat of serious violence, all travel should be avoided to the regions of Aceh, Maluku, West Timor, Central and West Kalimantan and Central Sulawesi. Further, all travel by U.S. and other foreign government officials to Aceh, Papua and the Moluccas (provinces of North Maluku and Maluku) has been restricted by the Indonesian government because of security concerns. Private Americans should adhere to these same restrictions.

A massive bombing campaign struck churches throughout Indonesia on Christmas Eve 2000, leaving at least 16 dead and over one hundred injured. Bombings occurred in the cities of Medan, Pekanbaru, Batam, Bandung, Sukabumi, Bekasi, Jakarta, Mojokerto, Surabaya and Mataram. Bombings have also occurred over the past year at Indonesian government buildings, foreign diplomatic facilities and business and financial centers, including the Jakarta Stock Exchange. More explosive devices have been discovered in Jakarta since Christmas and there are indications that the bombings may continue.

On occasion, the U.S. mission in Indonesia may have to suspend services to the public or close because of security concerns. In those situations, the Embassy will continue to be available by telephone to offer emergency services to American citizens.

Some foreign travelers in troubled areas of Indonesia have been subject to arbitrary arrest, detention and deportation and, on at least one occasion, false accusations of espionage. In November 2000 in the central Java city of Solo, groups opposed to U.S. policy undertook or threatened "sweeps," trying to identify American citizens and order them to depart the country. There also have been a number of acts of intimidation and violence directed at American companies and U.S. diplomatic facilities. Indonesian security officials have sometimes been unwilling or unable to respond.

The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group has been active throughout the islands in the extreme southwest Philippines, near Indonesia, and have kidnapped American citizens in the Philippines. American citizens traveling to the border regions in Northern Kalimantan and North Sulawesi, in particular the smaller islands closer to the Philippines, are urged to review their security procedures.

American citizens resident or traveling in Indonesia are advised to exercise caution at all times, be alert to suspicious or unclaimed packages, vary times and routes and other aspects of personal daily routine and keep a low profile. Updated information on travel and security in Indonesia may be obtained from the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta by calling tel. (62)(21)3435-9000, or the Consulate General in Surabaya by calling tel. (62)(31) 567-2287/8.

For further information, U.S. citizens planning to visit or reside in Indonesia are advised to consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Indonesia. The Consular Information Sheet is available at any U.S. embassy or consulate abroad and through the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet home page at http://travel.state.gov.

This Travel Warning replaces the June 27, 2001 Travel Warning for Indonesia to advise U.S. citizens of a threat to U.S. interests from extremist elements.

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Indonesia is an independent republic consisting of more than 13,500 islands spread over 3,000 miles. Indonesia's economy is developing, and tourist services are plentiful in the major tourist areas. East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia on August 30, 1999 and is currently under the authority of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). Please refer to the separate Consular Information Sheet available on East Timor.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of departure from Indonesia is required. A visa is not required for tourist stays up to two months. As of November 2000 the Government of Indonesia has been discussing implementing visa requirements for foreign travelers. Travelers should reconfirm entry requirements before traveling. For additional information about entry requirements for Indonesia, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, 2020 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202) 775-5200, fax (202) 775-5365.

DUAL NATIONALITY: Indonesian law does not recognize dual nationality. Because of this, U.S. citizens who are also documented as Indonesian nationals may experience difficulties with immigration formalities in Indonesia. It may also hamper efforts to provide consular protection when abroad. In addition to being subject to all Indonesian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Indonesian citizens. .

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Indonesia is experiencing a major political transition, and unrest and violence can erupt with little forewarning anywhere in the country. Due to the continuing threat of serious violence, American citizens should avoid all travel to the regions of Aceh, Irian Jaya (also known as West Papua), the Moluccas, Central Sulawesi and West Timor. All travel by U.S. and other foreign government officials to Aceh, Irian Jaya and the Moluccas (provinces of North Maluku and Maluku) has been restricted by the Indonesian government because of security concerns. Private Americans should adhere to these same restrictions. Travelers should consult the most recent Public Announcement or Travel Warning for Indonesia for updated information on travel within the country. Public Announcements and Travel Warnings can be found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs' home page at http://travel.state.gov/. American citizens in all parts of Indonesia should exercise prudence, remain vigilant and avoid demonstrations and other situations that could turn violent.

Serious sectarian violence has occurred in the Moluccas, Central Sulawesi and the island of Lombok. Violence broke out on the island of Ambon in January 1999, spreading throughout the Moluccas and eventually leading the Government of Indonesia to declare a "Civil State of Emergency" on June 26, 2000. Violence in Central Sulawesi culminated in the death of some 200 people in May 2000. On January 17, 2000, anti-Christian violence broke out on the resort island of Lombok, leading to looting and the burning of a number of churches.

The cities of Jakarta, Medan, Bandung and Surabaya, among others, have been struck by a number of bombings in recent months. The most recent bombing campaign struck churches across Indonesia on Christmas Eve 2000, leaving at least 16 dead and one hundred injured. The Jakarta Stock Exchange, foreign diplomatic facilities and Indonesian government buildings have also been targeted. There are indications that this wave of bombings may continue.

In November 2000, in the central Java city of Solo, groups opposed to U.S. policy undertook "sweeps," trying to identify American citizens and order them to depart the country. There also have been a number of acts of intimidation and violence directed at American companies and U.S. diplomatic facilities. Security officials have sometimes been unwilling or unable to intervene in instances of unrest. Also, Indonesian authorities arbitrarily detained an American tourist in Irian Jaya without formal charges for two weeks and then deported him after a high ranking Indonesian government official publicly accused him of espionage.

The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group has been active throughout the islands in the extreme southwest Philippines, near Indonesia, and continues to hold an American citizen kidnapped in the Philippines. American citizens traveling to the border regions in Northern Kalimantan and North Sulawesi, in particular the smaller islands closer to the Philippines, are urged to review their security procedures.

On September 6, 2000, a militia mob in West Timor attacked United Nations offices, killing three UN international staff members. The militias have specifically targeted foreigners. American citizens are strongly advised to avoid all travel to West Timor.

The tourist destination of Bali has been largely free of the disturbances seen in other parts of Indonesia. All tourist facilities are operating normally, and to date foreigners have not been the specific target of any group.

Travelers and residents should ensure that their passports and important personal papers are ready for a quick departure from the country should it become necessary for any reason. Americans traveling in Indonesia should remember that much of the country, including many tourist destinations, can be isolated and difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links.

CRIME: Indonesia has a high crime rate. Credit card fraud is a growing problem. Minor crimes, such as pickpocketing and thefts, occur in popular tourist sites throughout the country. Incidents of robbery are on the increase. One common criminal technique is to puncture automobile tires so that the occupants can be robbed while changing the tire. Thefts and robberies from cars stopped at traffic lights have been reported on occasion. American citizens are advised to keep car doors locked and windows rolled up. Americans in Jakarta are also advised to engage a taxi either from a major hotel queue or by calling a taxi company, rather than hailing one on the street. Poachers and illegal loggers operating in Indonesian parks and nature preserves have threatened researchers, tourists and others in order to discourage foreign presence in those areas.

Claiming to act in the name of religious or moral standards, certain extremist groups have begun attacking nightspots and places of entertainment. Most attacks have been aimed at property destruction rather than injury to individuals. However, in November 2000 similar groups attacked an international HIV/AIDS conference, injuring 25, including two foreigners. These groups have on occasion carried out or threatened hunts for Americans and members of certain religious groups to demand they leave the country.

A number of racially motivated incidents of harassment have recently been reported. Persons of African descent, including American citizens, may be subject to arbitrary stops and questioning by both private and public security officials. There are several credible reports that such incidents have led to harassment and physical abuse. To minimize the risk of an incident with local law enforcement authorities, Americans should carry photocopies of their passports at all times. If stopped and detained, Americans should attempt to comply with all instructions from law enforcement officers, but also make it clear that they are American citizens and that they wish to contact the U.S. Embassy. Any incidents should be reported to the U.S. Embassy immediately.

Maritime piracy is a persistent and growing problem in Indonesian waters, targeting both pleasure and commercial vessels. Pleasure yachters are advised to review the current security situation with their local agent when planning itineraries and to exercise particular care when sailing in the Strait of Malacca between Riau Province and Singapore and in the waters north of Sulawesi and Kalimantan.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, .

MEDICAL FACILITIES: The general level of sanitation and health care in Indonesia is far below U.S. standards. Some level of routine medical care is available in all major cities, although most expatriates choose to leave the country for serious medical procedures. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to Singapore or Australia, the closest locations with acceptable medical care, or the United States, can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties.

Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Indonesia is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good to Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair to Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

In general, traffic in Indonesia is congested and undisciplined. The number and variety of vehicles on the road far exceed the capacity of existing roadways to handle the traffic. Road conditions vary from good (in the case of toll roads and major city roads) to dangerously poor.

There is generally a very low level of road safety awareness in Indonesia, although this situation is improving. Buses and trucks are often dangerously overloaded and tend to travel at high speeds. Most roads outside major urban areas have a single lane of traffic in each direction, making passing dangerous. Most Indonesian drivers do not maintain safe following distance in a manner familiar to U.S. drivers and tend to pass or maneuver with considerably less margin for error than in the United States. Although traffic in Indonesia moves on the left side of the road, drivers tend to pass on both sides and may use the shoulder for this purpose. It is common for drivers to create extra lanes regardless of the lane markings painted on the roads. Throughout the country, motor vehicles share the roads with other forms of transportation such as bicycle pedicabs, horse and ox carts, and pushcarts.

Although Indonesia has a seat belt law requiring the use of seat belts in front seats, most Indonesian automobiles do not have seat belts in the rear passenger seats. The use of infant and child car seats is not common, and it can be very difficult to rent a car seat for temporary use. Helmets are required on motorcycles, but this law is inconsistently enforced. Passengers rarely wear helmets. Accidents on rented motorcycles constitute the largest cause of death and serious accident among foreign visitors to Bali.

The use of professional drivers is common among the expatriate and upper class Indonesian communities. All car rental firms are able to provide drivers for a nominal additional fee.

Driving at night can be extremely dangerous outside of major urban areas. It is common to encounter drivers who refuse to use their lights, and most rural roads are unlit. Residents in rural areas may also sometimes congregate on road surfaces after dark, and at least one American citizen was recently involved in a fatal accident when his car hit a group lying on an unlit stretch of road.

In the event of an accident, Indonesia law requires that both drivers await the arrival of a police officer to report the accident. Although Indonesian law requires third party insurance, most Indonesian drivers are uninsured, and even when a vehicle is insured it is common for insurance companies to refuse to pay damages. If a pedestrian is injured, the driver of the vehicle is normally expected to assist in transporting the injured party to the hospital. (Indonesian ambulance services are unreliable.) In cases of traffic accidents resulting in death, it is not uncommon for bystanders to attack the driver perceived to be responsible. This is more common in rural areas and in accidents involving Indonesian drivers, but expatriate drivers have occasionally been attacked by crowds at the scene of an accident. When an accident occurs outside of a major city, it may be advisable to drive to the nearest police station before stopping.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Indonesian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Indonesian national tourist organization via the Internet at http://www.indonesia-tourism.com. Please see also road safety information from the U.S. Embassy home page at http://www.usembassyjakarta.org.

AVIATION OVERSIGHT: In 1997, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Indonesia's civil aviation authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Indonesia's air carrier operations.

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Indonesia's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Indonesia of personal and commercial use items such as prescription medicines and Chinese-language material or videotapes. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Indonesia in Washington, D.C. at telephone (202) 775-5200, or one of Indonesia's consulates in the United States, for specific information regarding customs requirements. Enforcement of customs regulations is not always consistent or transparent.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the same protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the laws of Indonesia, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Indonesia are strict, and convicted offenders can expect severe jail sentences and fines. The death sentence can be handed down in cases of drug trafficking, and one U.S. citizen was recently given a life sentence for trafficking.

CONSULAR ACCESS: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. When U.S. citizens are arrested or detained, formal notification of the arrest is normally provided to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta in writing, a process that can take several weeks. If detained, U.S. citizens are encouraged to attempt to telephone the nearest U.S. consular office.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: U.S. citizens involved in commercial or property matters should be aware that the business environment is complex. In many cases, trade complaints are difficult to resolve.

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Indonesia is located in an area of high seismic activity. Although the probability of a major earthquake occurring during an individual trip is remote, earthquakes can and will continue to happen. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children or international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION AND EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Indonesia are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where they may obtain updated information on travel and security within the country.

The U.S. Embassy is located in Jakarta at Medan Merdeka Selatan 5; telephone:(62)(21)3435-9000; fax (62)(21)3435-9922. The Embassy's web site is located at http://www.usembassyjakarta.org. The consular section can be reached by e-mail at jakconsul@state.gov.

The U.S. Consulate General is in Surabaya at Jalan Raya Dr., Sutomo 33; telephone: (62)(31) 567-2287/8; fax (62)(31)567-4492;e-mail consularsuraba@state.gov.

There is a Consular Agency in Bali at Jalan Hayam Wuruk 188, Denpasar, Bali; telephone: (62)(361)233-605; fax (62)(31) 222-426; e-mail amcobali@indo.net.id.

The U.S. Consulate in Medan closed in May 1996. American citizens needing assistance in Sumatra should contact the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta.

* * *

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated April 27, 2001 to include the August 10, 2001 Travel Warning.

Go Up - Top of Page

More Travel Related links for Indonesia

  • Presents the Country Guide to Indonesia

  • Explore Large, and Detailed Maps of Indonesia

  • Browse Hotels in Indonesia , and make Online Reservations

  • View the Country Flag of Indonesia

  • Reveals every detailed facts about the Country Flag of Indonesia

  • Uncover the Geography, and Geographic Facts of Indonesia

  • Read the Consular Info Sheet, and Travel Warning related to Indonesia

  • Make 1Up Travel your HomepageSend this Page to a FriendGo to Top of PagePrint this PageAdd 1Up Travel to your Favorites


    Compare Country Info Hotel Directory Geography Flags World Maps Travel Warnings National Parks


    Asia Africa Caribbean Middle East North America South America Central America Oceania Pacific Europe Polar Regions


    Destinations Monuments Ancient Wonders Modern Wonders Natural Wonders


    World Time ISD Codes Travel Links Link Exchange


    Disclaimer: Although we've tried to make the information on this web site as accurate as possible, we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any person resulting from information published on this site. We encourage you to verify any critical information with the relevant authorities before you travel.

    Copyright 1Up Travel All Rights Reserved.
    Go Up

    Privacy Policy