My Visa Run To Singapore

I woke this morning with only one task on my job list – “Visa”! So after a good nights sleep I headed down to the reception of my hotel to find out how to get to the Hana Express office at Tras St, on the other side of Singapore! Turns out, there was a bus leaving from the stop right outside the hotel which could take me straight there!
However before I go any further, I want to explain a little more about the process I went through to choose Hana Express because that in itself cause me quite a lot of angst. Firstly, the big question is why did I get someone else to get my visa when I could just have easily gone to the Indonesian Embassy myself and applied for it? The answer is quite simple: I am a chicken! In the past, when I did a visa run to Singapore, I always did it myself however the process was never simple.
My very first time visiting the Embassy began with my being refused admittance because I was wearing shorts. In hindsight now after my 6 weeks in Java, it is hardly surprising however I had just come from Bali and it was a shock! It was also really annoying because I was with 2 young children and as the Embassy is only open for 1/2 a day and I had gone by public transport, I lost a day! I also had many other issues with completing application forms and providing necessary paperwork. The Indonesian Embassy is a living, breathing bureaucracy which thrives on red tape. So to avoid any stress, I went online and did some research. The first company I was tempted to use had glowing reviews and my sponsor, Pak Agung also recommended them, however the most recent review was from 2009. With nothing more recent, I returned to the internet and this time found Hana Express. They had very recent recommendations by expats who had used them as recently as late 2012. So I sent an email to them and within a day had a reply agreeing to help. HIs reply included a list of the paper work I had to provide:

20130708-173521.jpgI was very impressed with the detail of this especially as I’d rung the the first company as well and all I’d been told to bring with me were the letter, the $160 & a copy of the KTP! As I emailed them with less than 24 hours to go before flying out, I didn’t scan a copy of the sponsor letter. I just kept my fingers crossed that it would be ok and if not, that I would then have time to ask Pak Agung to write me another.
However another fact also came to light while doing this last bit of research. My tourist visa could have been extended! I had no idea until then that my 211 Tourist Visa could have actually been extended 4 x1 month and had I done that, it would have given me till 10 November & then I could have flown out and come back the same day with a VOA (visa on arrival) to keep me going for the last month. However, my flight to Singapore had been booked and paid for and everything else was all set to go, so I came anyway!
So, back to this morning! I hopped on the bus and travelled the 19 stops to the Amara Hotel. A short walk around the back of the Amara Hotel was Tras St and not far along I found the Lian Huat Building. A man sitting near the lift took one look at me and asked straight away if I was looking for Hana Express! However the most reassuring sight was the queue of people standing outside the Hana Express office. I was so reassured to see them all there and from that moment knew I could hand my passport over with no qualms. When it was my turn, a lovely man took all my paperwork including Pak Agung’s sponsorship letter. He was happy with the content of the letter, however unfortunately the letter was addressed to me not the Indonesian Embassy. At that point, I thanked my lucky stars I had not gone to the Indonesian Embassy myself and that I had paid someone else to do it for me! They told me not to worry and that they would organise it all! He also offered to drop my passport back to my hotel as he was coming out to Little India anyway! So I left everything in their capable hands and felt a huge weight leave my shoulders. I felt like cheering through the open window while waiting for the lift!
At 4:30pm, my doorbell rang (what; I have a doorbell?) and there was a fellow from the Hana Express Office with my passport complete with visa!!

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Now, I can totally relax and enjoy my holiday in Singapore!

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14 thoughts on “My Visa Run To Singapore

  1. Eat lots of Mee Siam, Nasi Lemak, Char Kway Teow while you’re there, Bu Cathy. Hawker centers are the way to go in Singapore. I lived there for 4 yrs. Clean and safe, easy to get around. Oh, musn’t forget Chili crabs if you’re into seafood!

    • I’ve just come back to the hotel from Little India where I had the most delicious garlic naan with dahl I have ever eaten! What vegetarian Chinese food do you recommend?

      • All the noodle dishes are excellent! You can ask them to omit the meats. There’s this stuffed tofu soup dish called Yong Tau Foo that I enjoyed, but the stuffing is made out of fish. Shouldn’t be too hard, though, to get good vegetarian meals there, I just can’t recall many right now. Oh, stop by the snack place Old Chang Kee’s. Used to love going there with friends.

      • Thanks for the recommendations. Really appreciate it! I sometimes eat fish so will definitely look out for Yong Tau Foo.There is a Chinese Hawker place around the corner from my hotel so will head back there one night! Found rambutans and papaya there on sunday! Just love tropical fruit.

    • In Indonesia, I had absolutely no problems extending my visa because again I used an agent, Rami Visa and Immigration (http://www.rami-services.com/home.html). It does cost more this way but again they saved me a bundle in stress and time. It turns out that you must get your visa renewed in the city your sponsor lives. My sponsor lives in Bali and I discovered this in Jakarta with only a week left of my visa and an imminent trip to Sumatra. Rami were fantastic and took care of everything, even down to posting my passport to their Denpasar office. I can’t recommend them highly enough. Does that answer your questions, if not get back to me again!! More than appy to help!!

  2. I’m planing on going on a visa run to Singapore som and would love to use hana express after what you wrote here. Do you still know an email or something so I can contact them. I’m so lost and it would be very helpfull.

      • Email address for Pak Wahab of Hana Express is shohib@hanexSH.onmicrosoft.com

        Unlike most agents Pak Wahab worked in the Inodnesian Immigration Service before retirement so his knowledge is second to none. The difference in costs quoted are the Hana Express fees but, since they virtually guarantee a quick turn around as they check everything before submission, it is hard not to regard $US50 as cheap against the cost of additional hotel costs and your wasted time getting out to the Indonesian Embassy – not the easiest place to get to – and doing battle with bureaucratic Indonesian Government officials.

        What is even more sensible is to stay near to Hana Express offices which is only a two minute walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT. If you don’t want to stay at the Amara, which is virtually opposite their office then there is a wide range of hotels in the area of Tanjong Pagar, including China Town – a far better and easier proposition than staying in Little India or Geylang

      • Thankyou for this extra information about Pak Wahab at Hanna Express!! Great idea too about staying closer to Tanjong Pagar. Will definitely try that next time.

  3. When i applied for my visa. I have so many issues with it. At first time i was rejected for the visa. But then next year i again applied for the student visa and i got it. Currently i am working in Singapore from last 6 years and I have applied for my PR from a local visa consultant . They are very helpful here is the link Singapore Pr for Foreigners

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