Traveling during COVID-19 – from the US to Indonesia

Traveling seems to be impossible during the current pandemic. COVID-19 has probably affected the travel industry the worst – travel bans, border restrictions, flight cancellations, visa invalidations, and the list goes on. However, there are still special cases when travel is allowed and acceptable.

Some people were able to go to a few destinations in the past months, mostly because of important reasons such as family emergencies, health concerns, government-related meetings, and the like.

For instance, traveling to Indonesia from the US has been possible for some people during the pandemic. If you happen to be one of the people who are curious about how to get to Indonesia via Jakarta all the way from the US, we have some tips for you.

You need to pay close attention to these tips and steps as the process could be tedious if you don’t.

First, you need two printed documents

  1. COVID (PCR) test with a negative result within 7 days after it was issued from the health facility when you land in Jakarta.

There are a good number of testing sites that may be located near you so better do some online search yourself. On the other hand, here is a useful link for testing sites that you can go to. It is important to plan your test accordingly. Test results may take longer depending on lab capacity. Some results take more than a week to arrive, while some may take just a couple of days. You can opt to have an agreement with your chosen testing lab if necessary.

  1. Embassy letter (surat keterangan jalan) from KJRI.

You may check with KJRI in your respective US state if this applies to you. According to KJRI San Francisco in July, the letter is only required for those who are traveling outside of Jakarta. Here’s the email address of KJRI San Francisco to check if that information is still valid or if you have any other questions:

Second, checking-in at SFO

Flight cancelation is common nowadays. Hence, we suggest you call your airline one to two days before the flight schedule to make sure that it’s still on track. On a brighter note, international flight tickets are way cheaper these days!

Your PCR test will be checked at the check-in counter. Some airlines such as ANA will require a certificate that says “I have no respiratory problems and that I’m fit to travel”, so, just to be sure, might as well request this to be included in your test result.

Third, taking off

Expect that there will be fewer passengers than the usual international flights. The flight from SFO to Tokyo might be less busy than the flight from Japan to Jakarta. Food may be served during the flight but no duty-free shopping.

Fourth, arriving in Indonesia

When you land in Soekarno Hatta International Airport you will:

  1. Be prompted to sit in one of the chairs that are set up in rows to fill out some paperwork, mostly related to health and travel history.
  2. Proceed to the next counter to get your temperature, pulse, saturation (oxygen level) taken.
  3. Continue to another line at the health port counter where they will review your result from the previous step and also give you an approval stamp on your PCR test.
  4. Get your health stamp approval and proceed to the final immigration counter. This is the usual immigration counter that will stamp your passport on arrival, after that you are free to pick up your luggage.
  5. Go through 3 other checkpoints by military suited officers. At this stage, they will only review the approved health stamp from step 3, and the second checkpoint will ask for your declaration form.

In general, upon arrival, officers will check the validity of all documents and confirm proof of medical tests. Those who have not been tested will be taken care of by a task force and are obliged to be quarantined for 3-5 days before receiving PCR test results. If the results come out negative, travelers are able to continue their journey. However, if the results are positive, they would be transferred to the Wisma Atlet Hospital or another referral hospital.

These steps might be tedious at first glance but if you really plan and prepare well for your journey, the process can actually be pretty easy! If you truly need to get to Indonesia or any other country during the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to have a good amount of patience and motivation.

Have a good journey ahead. Stay safe and healthy!

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RMC is a Bangkok-based Agency specializing in providing services for international Hospitality Internships and Management Trainee Programs. Our company supports Host Organizations in Indonesia, Japan, the Maldives, Malaysia, Thailand, the UAE, South Korea, and Vietnam.

Dr Walter

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