03 July 2014 1 of 2

TIMOR-LESTE (Dili Distr.)



Oh no, not another early start!
This time we needed to be at the Indonesian Embassy in Dili to apply for our transit visas which would enable us to drive from Timor-Leste, through Indonesian West Timor to the Oecusse exclave, and importantly return to the main part of Timor-Leste a week later. Sounds easy, it wasn't!

The Indonesian Embassy in Dili

Hinrich did most of the work to sort out this issue so I'll let him tell the story, it might help someone else trying to get to Oecusse.

We had an interesting morning working to ensure that the paperwork for our Indonesian visas was in order. Having completed this task once in 2010, we already knew that this would not be so straightforward, but we now realize that how it unfolded would not be something someone could easily make up! Mark and I both investigated obtaining multiple entry visas to cross from Timor-Leste into the Oecusse exclave in the U.S. and the U.K., respectively, and we had been told that this could not be done outside of Indonesia. Having tried to be proactive, I had everyone’s passport photos and visa applications with me—and then the problems began.

When trying to go from Timor-Leste to Oecusse, one has to cross from Bobonaro District into Indonesian West Timor, then back into Timor-Leste. On the way back, this process is reversed, and it thereby necessitates two visas into Indonesia. In Bali this can be done by purchasing visas-on-arrival, but that does not work at a land border. Indonesia only has three land borders, with Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea, with Malaysia on the island of Borneo, and with Timor-Leste, so there is no huge demand for issuing visas there. As a consequence, this can be brisk business for some of the nearby Indonesian embassies. What we needed to get was a double-entry visa, not two transit visas (which are for air travel and transit through an airport), and not a multiple entry visa (which is something people involved in business may need), yet there is no information anywhere on any Indonesian embassy website on how to get this.

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