Are you thinking about moving to Bali? Maybe you have already decided to move to Bali and now you’re looking for information on how to go about it. Below is a detailed step-by-step guide to moving to Bali.
My husband and I had planned to have our wedding in Bali in April 2020 but we had to cancel our wedding due to COVID. During COVID we decided to move to Bali so that we could spend the time there trying to find online work alongside doing what we love, travelling.
The reason we decided on moving to Bali and not any other country is that it is one of the cheapest places in the world to live in, it’s tropical, the weather is warm, and it’s close to Australia where my family lives. I have been to Bali twice before so I already knew what to expect but my husband had never been!
There are so many reasons why you should move to Bali! The cost of living is low, the island is incredibly beautiful, there is plenty to see and do, the food is delicious and the locals are so friendly.
However, there are also cons and it’s good to find out what these are before you plan on moving to Bali. You can find a list of pros and cons in my blog post: Pros and Cons of Living in Bali.
The first thing you should do after you have decided on moving to Bali is to make sure your passport has at least 6 months on it before it expires. If your passport has less than 6 months to the expiry date you will need to renew your passport at your nearest embassy.
If you already work online and will continue to do this in Bali, you won’t need to worry too much about saving money. Your wages (especially if you are getting paid in AUS, CA, or US dollars) will cover all your living costs in Bali.
If you’re planning to take a break from work and live off your savings or if you are like me and will be seeking online work while you’re in Bali then make sure to consider all the costs associated with moving to Bali for 6 months.
This will include the costs of visas, vaccinations, flights, accommodation, PCR tests, travel insurance, and daily living expenses.
It is always best to save more than you think you need in case of emergencies such as having enough money to return home if needed.
At least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory to enter Bali and you need to show a COVID-19 vaccine card/certificate (printed/digital) on entry. There are no other vaccines mandatory but there are vaccines recommended by WHO.
Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus, and Measles are all recommended vaccinations for Bali. Most people would have already had their measles vaccination (only one dose required in a lifetime) when they were a child. Tetanus booster shots are recommended every 10 years. Hepatitis A vaccination is a two-dose vaccine with at least 6 months between each dose. Typhoid vaccination is recommended every 2 years.
When tourism opens again in Bali you would apply for the Social Visa to live in Bali for 6 months. The Social Visa grants you an initial stay of 60 days in Bali followed by four extensions of 30 days. You are not allowed to work in Bali on this visa but you can work online for a company outside of Bali.
You can either apply for this visa with the Indonesian embassy in your country or online with a visa agency. If you choose to go through a visa agency, the visa agent will act as your sponsor. They will guide you through the application with the documents needed, apply for the visa for you, and direct you on the processes and documents needed on arriving in Indonesia.
Visa agencies generally cost around 4-5 million IDR (CAD 350 – 450). This includes the sponsor letter and extensions.
You will have the choice between a multi-entry or a single-entry Social Visa. If you plan on not leaving the country for 6 months then choose the single entry as it’s cheaper. The multi-entry Social Visa is for those that need to travel out of Indonesia during their stay in Bali.
If you plan on moving to Bali during COVID you need to apply for the B211A Visit Visa which grants you an initial stay of 60 days.
You will need to apply through an agency as applying for visas at the embassy has been suspended during COVID. The cost for the B211A Visit Visa varies depending on the Visa Agency but generally starts from $350. The best thing about applying through an agency is that they do all the work. All you need to do is submit the required documents, provide the requested information and pay the fee.
Documents and information required to apply for the B211A Visit Visa through a visa agency:
Depending on the agency you may need to provide additional documentation and information. I recommend applying for your visa through evisas.co.id. E-visas had the most competitive price and the least documentation required to apply.
After you submit your documents and pay the fee, the agency will submit your visa application. You will receive your visa through email within 7 business days.
Now that you have applied for your visa the next step is to research and plan your moe to Bali. If you have never been to Bali before I would recommend spending the first month on arrival exploring the different areas so you can figure out where you want to live.
Ubud is a great place to live if you prefer to live somewhere remote and if you’re a nature lover. There are plenty of waterfalls, rice terraces, and jungles around. If you want to be close to the beach and shops Jimbaran Bay, Uluwatu and Seminyak would be the best place to live.
It is always good to be prepared on what to expect before moving to another country by researching things you may need to know. Check out my blog post: Bali Travel Tips.
From the date your visa is granted, you have three months to enter Bali before it expires. Don’t book your flights before you have your visa, in case of delays.
For the best deals on flights, check Google Flights and Skyscanner. The cheapest day to fly out is usually Tuesdays. Open an incognito window on your computer to avoid google remembering your searches.
You will need to book an onward flight from Indonesia to another country before your 60-day visa expires. Since you most likely will not be taking the flight (if you’re planning on extending your visa) you should book a flight you can cancel or reschedule with no fees.
There are sites you can buy verifiable flight reservations that are valid for a certain number of days but be careful and do some research to make sure these sites have good reviews. Flights from Jakarta to Singapore are pretty cheap and you won’t be paying much more for a legit flight ticket instead of a borrowed one.
You can also purchase flights through Expedia with free cancellation and a full refund within 24 hours of booking your tickets; however, this may not work if you have a long flight journey as you need to show flight booking confirmation at check-in before boarding the plane and on arrival into Indonesia.
Air BnB is the website to book through for long-term stays as they often give you discounts for monthly stays.
Facebook groups such as Bali Villas for Rent, Ubud House and Villa, Bali Cheap Villa Rentals, Bali Housing and Villas are groups to join for more long-term renting options.
It’s best to use cash in Bali as not many places take credit/debit cards. Before you leave exchange some of your local currency to IDR so you have some cash when you first arrive.
Exchanging money at the airport will be more expensive than finding a local money exchanger in Bali. Make sure to count the money as it’s being exchanged if you use a local money exchanger.
If you are taking your debit/credit card to use in Bali make sure to check with your bank on the fees associated with making overseas purchases or taking out money from an ATM. From currency conversion fees to ATM fees it can soon add up and you could end up spending hundreds of dollars just on fees!
The Wise card is easy to use and the best way to access my money. I have had no issues with my Wise card here in Bali and have used it at hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. It is easy to withdraw money at an ATM and I am only charged a fee if I withdraw over a certain amount per month or if the ATM has its own fees.
Make sure to sign up and create an account with Wise even if you’re not going to use their card. Wise is the best solution to get paid, pay anywhere, and move money around in different currencies as it has the lowest rate. It’s free to open an account and it’s the easiest way to move your money to different bank accounts in other countries.
After you have transferred money onto your Wise account you can convert it to the currency you need. When using the card at restaurants and hotels etc. it will take it out of the money already converted with no fees.
A couple of hotels in Bali did not have card machines operating at the time of my stay and I did not have enough cash but I was able to transfer money into their bank account through the Wise app using IDR money already converted. The process was very quick and they received my money within minutes!
Wise has made my life easier living in Bali and I don’t know what I would have done without it!
If you are thinking of riding a scooter in Bali which will be your cheapest option to get around you will need to have an International Drivers License. An International Drivers License will expire one year from the date it was issued or when your driver’s license expires, whichever comes first.
Make sure to bring your country’s driver’s license with you as police can ask to see this along with the International Drivers License in Bali.
During COVID proof of Travel Medical Insurance including COVID-19 coverage of a minimum of USD 15, 000 is required upon entry into Indonesia. I researched many travel insurance companies and found SafetyWing the most affordable and it includes COVID-19 coverage which many did not!
I recommend their Nomad Insurance which starts from USD 40 per month. Nomad Insurance is great for travellers, digital nomads, and people who work remotely due to its flexibility. You can purchase the insurance before you leave for your travels or even on your travels!
The insurance payments are monthly and automatically deducted from the method of payment chosen. I found this convenient as many travel insurance companies will ask you for a time frame for coverage.
Nomad Insurance is the most suitable option for those that are on a flexible schedule when it comes to travelling. You can cancel it anytime or keep it going even if you travel to other destinations or visit your home country.
When moving to Bali sometimes the biggest challenge can be our emotions. There are going to be doubts and at times we may question whether we are making the right decision in moving.
Just remember “it’s better to have tried, and failed than failing to try!” You only have one life so let there be no regrets and don’t let the fear hold you back from living your best life.
Embarking on a new life in Bali can be both exciting and overwhelming. That’s why I’ve put together A Complete Guide to Living in Bali on my blog, which is full of invaluable advice to help you navigate the transition with ease!