Thursday, April 22, 2010

Temporary visas no longer available at land crossing into Timor-Leste?

UPDATE: Charles Scheiner reports on the east-timor listserv that
On 3 February 2010 the Council of Ministers adopted Decree-Law 5/2010 "on Access to Visa on arrival and in transit in Timor-Leste," ( in Portuguese) which became effective on 16 March. It prohibits visa-on-arrival at the land border for practical implementation reasons.

The same problem exists in the other direction -- even though people of many nationalities can get Indonesian visas-on-arrival when flying into Bali or other Indonesian airports, they cannot get them when travelling from Timor-Leste to West Timor by land, and are required to have visas in advance.
A post on a travel bulletin board reports that several travelers could not get visas to enter Timor-Leste via the land border.
My girlfriend and I tried to cross the border from Indonesia to Timor Leste 18 Apr, but were denied visa at the border and told that from now you have to fly to Dili to get visa on arrival. The web page of the immigration department of Timor-Leste says nothing about this new rule, and we had checked several times the last days before we tried to cross.

Anybody else who has tried to cross the border recently? We are both from Norway, and a Chinese guy on the same minibus as us were also denied entry. Annoying, as we had travelled for several days to get there!
Anyone else encounter similar problems? Has there been a change of policy? Is Timor-Leste trying to limit tourism?