E-Visa Document Upload: “attachment document is empty”, rejected, e-mail is invalid

The digital era has simplified many bureaucratic processes, including visa applications. However, as many travelers have discovered, technology can sometimes create as many hurdles as it solves. This is particularly true for the e-visa application process for destinations like Bali, where applicants frequently encounter upload issues that can turn an easy task into a frustrating ordeal.

E-Visa Upload Issue

On July 25, 2023, a wave of travelers reported persistent rejections when attempting to complete the e-visa application on the official Indonesian immigration site. The error messages “Attachment document is empty!!” and “Please select your valid biography passport” were common, despite numerous attempts with various file formats and devices.

The Role of Technology in Upload Failurese problem seems to be multifaceted, involving both user-end and server-end issues. On the user end, the diversity of devices and software can affect the upload process. For instance, different operating systems, browsers, and security settings can interfere with file uploads. On the server end, the website’s compatibility with various data formats and its ability to handle traffic may be contributing factors.

Travelers have shared their experiences and solutions on forums, providing valuable insights. Some found success by simply waiting a day and trying again, suggesting that server-side issues such as website maintenance or high traffic could be at play. Others had consistent success across multiple applications, indicating that the correct combination of device, browser, and file format can yield a positive outcome.

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Practical Solutions and Workarounds

Several travelers have found workarounds to the e-visa issue. One user switched from a work laptop with sophisticated firewalls to a basic home laptop, which immediately accepted the passport photo. This suggests that security settings can interfere with the upload process. Another user found success by creating an account first and then uploading documents, which points to possible session handling issues on the website.

The Importance of Photo Specifications

The size and quality of the photo are crucial. One traveler managed to upload their document by ensuring the photo was a 3×4 portrait with the eyes positioned according to the instructions, then using an iPhone to adjust the dimensions. This success story underscores the importance of following the official photo guidelines to the letter.

The Visa on Arrival (VOA) as an Alternative

For those unable to overcome the e-visa hurdles, the Visa on Arrival (VOA) presents a viable alternative. It is described as simple, efficient, and quick, with a straightforward cost of 500,000 IDR. This option is particularly useful for travelers who cannot afford delays, such as those arriving by cruise ship.


How can I ensure my e-visa application is successful?

To increase your chances of a successful e-visa application, use a personal device with standard security settings, follow the photo guidelines meticulously, and try different browsers if you encounter issues.

Why do some travelers experience no issues with the e-visa upload process?

It could be due to a combination of using the right device, browser, and following the photo specifications accurately. Consistency in these factors seems to yield better results.

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How does the device used affect the e-visa upload process?

Different devices have varying security settings, browsers, and operating systems, which can affect the interaction with the e-visa website’s upload protocol.

Why is the Visa on Arrival a recommended alternative?

The VOA is recommended for its simplicity and reliability, especially for travelers who face persistent e-visa upload issues or those who cannot afford any delays upon arrival.

How can I troubleshoot the “Attachment document is empty!!” error?

This error can often be resolved by ensuring the photo meets the exact specifications, trying the upload on a different device, or by creating an account on the e-visa website before attempting the upload.

In conclusion, while the e-visa process for Bali can be temperamental, understanding the common issues and solutions can help travelers navigate the system more effectively. By combining insights from personal experiences with scientific research on web usability, this guide aims to arm you with the knowledge to tackle the e-visa upload challenge head-on.


[1]Lazar, J., Feng, J. H., & Hochheiser, H. (2017). Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction. Morgan Kaufmann.
[2]Ceaparu, I., Lazar, J., Bessiere, K., Robinson, J., & Shneiderman, B. (2004). Determining causes and severity of end-user frustration. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 17(3), 333-356.

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