How Will Indonesia’s New Criminal Code Affect Tourists?

Indonesia’s government has passed a new law that affects locals, tourists, and expats alike.

Indonesia criminal code

Since the opening of the country post-COVID, the nation — and particularly the island of Bali — has been top of tourists’ bucket lists, attracting over 670,000 foreign arrivals per month.

However, the new law that has been outlined may impact this, as it prohibits pre-marital sex and cohabitation, not just for residents, but for tourists too.

This law will be officially rolled out across all 17,000 of Indonesia‘s islands in 3 years’ time, giving travelers fair warning before they cross the borders into the Muslim country.

Those who flout these rules can face jail time of up to 1 year. However, the bill has been altered from its original version so that only close family, such as parents or siblings, can report individuals to the authorities. 

The government has made it clear that raids will not be carried out by the police and that authorities can only step in if an official complaint has been made.

This law also affects LBGTQ+ members of society — including those who are married — as Indonesia does not recognize same-sex marriages.

Other laws included in Indonesia’s new criminal code prohibit individuals from insulting the government, as well as the president and vice-president of the country.

Abortions have also been declared a punishable crime. However, exceptions have been made for victims of rape and those with life-threatening medical conditions, so long as they seek out appropriate care before the fetus is 12 weeks old.

It is currently unclear whether unmarried tourists will be able to book shared accommodation with their partners or not once the laws have been enforced.

However, it has been stipulated that each province can implement its own laws around this criminal code.

Over time, the details will be ironed out, and visitors will find out how tourism-driven islands, such as Bali, will enforce these rules.

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