Travel advice for academics visiting Indonesia

Farmers work in field in Bali

The Indonesian government and parliament passed a new Science and Technology Bill into law on July 16, 2019.

The law includes a criminal provision paragraph stating that foreigners who conduct research without appropriate research permits are liable to prosecution, including potentially subject to fines of up to £225,000 and to be blacklisted for 5 years. Failure to comply with the Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) requirements is punishable by 2 years in prison or a £112,500 fine.

The Indonesian Ministry of Research and Technology has stated that their online application portal makes getting a research permit easier and quicker. In practise the administrative process for research permit applications remains relatively complex. However please be advised that this is the required process, and the Indonesian government can now enforce stricter sanctions/punishment for foreign researchers who apply for Visa on Arrival instead.

The Ministry of Research and Technology would emphasise that foreign researchers are still welcome to work and study in Indonesia but the appropriate visa is required before entering the country.

We are unable to provide detailed guidance on visa applications. We suggest that UK researchers apply for the appropriate visa and liaise with their local partners for further guidance. UK delivery partners are best placed to advise their communities about the risks and we would strongly encourage you to do so.

The Newton Fund In-Country Team will continue to monitor the situation for new developments and update as necessary.

Key message: A new Indonesian science and technology law has placed stricter rules on international academics and researchers visiting the country. Visiting academics are welcome, but they must ensure they work closely with their Indonesian partners when applying for a research visa, and ensure a research visa is granted to them before travelling to the country for research purposes.

Further reading

Article in Nature on Indonesia’s Draft Science & Technology Management Law:

Article in Jakarta Post on Foreign Research Permit:

Article in Jakarta Post on New Science Law:

Article in Science on New Law:

Foreign Research Permit online application portal:

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