Throughout the pandemic, visa processing has been an absolute nightmare for expatriates applying for visas in Indonesia.
Immigration offices have opened and closed, rulebooks have been thrown out the window and mass confusion and hysteria has marred Facebook activity.
Some visa agents have done their best to keep people informed of the current situation; however, the negativity surrounding agents has never been higher. I agree, not all agents are alike, some are more reliable than others, some have tried to exploit the situation, others have attempted to maintain a level of professionalism throughout – as with any industry, some agents are good and some are bad.
A constant argument I have noticed is that many people continuously spout that visa agents are ripping people off or exploiting the situation; some may well be, but the majority are just doing their jobs – making your life easier.
Many people comment on the true price of visas, “this only costs x amount, why are people selling the service at this inflated amount?” Simply put, it’s basic economics. As with any service provider, cost price and service price are never the same.
I’ve never hired a plumber, a builder or been to a restaurant and complained about the service price versus the cost price, you outsource people or providers to take care of the jobs you can’t or would prefer not to.
Anyone can cook a good meal at home, but you don’t begrudge a restaurant for marking up the price of the ingredients. They cook the ingredients, provide a pleasant atmosphere, hire professionals, ensure you can relax and provide staff at your beck and call – so what is the difference with visa agents?
As a founder of a visa agency myself and the admin of Indonesia’s largest visa Facebook group, I’ve seen people constantly complaining about service fees vs cost price – nobody is forcing anyone to use an agent; you are more than entitled to do it yourself, just as you could build a wall, fix your plumbing or cook for yourself – so why are visa experts the exception?
At the end of the day, anyone can process their own visa, but it is tremendously hard and time-consuming.
So, if you can just process your own visa, why use an agent?
- Expert advice: As I mentioned, anyone can process a visa, but you are paying for expert advice. You are paying a professional that does it day after day to get the job done. Their time and expertise are valuable, so utilise it. A good agency will be able to clearly tell you what you need to provide and they will take care of the rest.
- Save time: Want to go to a visa office three times to make a visa extension when you could just go once? Spend hours navigating queues, lining up and not understanding what you are doing? With an agent, you don’t have to.
Do you need to contemplate how much is your time worth? If you have it in abundance and you don’t mind learning something new, feel free to do it yourself. Prefer to spend your time doing what you actually love? Then get someone else to do it for you.
3. Stress relief: Visa processing is stressful and unnecessarily time-consuming. Using online systems, understanding how to upload documents and what formats to use, ensuring you apply at the right time of day to ensure you can apply before the limitations have finished, just a few of the basic challenges you will face, not to mention the language barrier that many will face. Don’t speak Indonesian? You are going to need a friend to translate.
Why stress yourself out when a competent expert can do it for you?
4. Make the impossible happen: There are many things an agent can do that you can’t. Indonesia is a place where connections are key and legal know-how is priceless. A good agent can utilise out the box thinking and use their expertise to accomplish things you cannot.
5. Money: Many think that using an agent is a more expensive option and in some cases, it may well be, but as they say, time is money; how much is your time worth? If you are prepared to spend hours of your time uploading applications, transporting documents and waiting around immigration offices? Then go ahead. Value your time over cost? Then hire a reputable agent.
As I mentioned at the beginning, not all agents are good and as with any profession, there are no doubt greedy, unethical agents, but there are a few good ones out there too – if you know where to look.
Overall, the choice is entirely up to you when it comes to processing your visa. If you would like to process your visa yourself and are willing to spend the time, then go ahead. Prefer to utilize your time doing things you love? Then use an agent.
About the Author:
Gary Joy is the founder of LetsMoveIndonesia, commonly referred to as Indonesia’s most ethical agency. They pride themselves on being the most transparent agency and were the first agency in Jakarta to advertise their prices online. Unlike other agencies they don’t change prices for services based on nationality, company or sales targets, flat rate prices are on offer for all to see.
On average, LetsMoveIndonesia customers save an estimated 20-40 percent using LetsMove rather than the other top-ranking agencies.
Additionally, they also offer other services such as Company Establishment, Tax and Accountancy as well as Premium Real Estate rentals in Central & South Jakarta.
Have a question or would like a free consultation? Then contact them at T: 021 300 297 27 E: [email protected] or visit them in their office in Bellagio Mall, Mega Kuningan, the only walk-in Visa agency in Jakarta.