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OpenAI boss Sam Altman granted Indonesia’s first golden visa


OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been granted Indonesia’s first ever golden visa – entitling him to reside in the archipelagic nation for up to ten years – in recognition of his potential to generate inbound investment.

“With this golden visa, Altman is expected to contribute to the development of the use of artificial intelligence in Indonesia,” read a governmental announcement.

Indonesia’s director-general of immigration, Silmy Karim, explained that golden visa are offered in several categories, including capital investment. Altman’s visa is intended for “figures who have an international reputation and can provide benefits to Indonesia.”

The law establishing the visa was only just promulgated on August 30, and requires an investment anywhere from $350,000 to $50 million. The bigger the investment, the longer the visa holder is permitted to stay.

The Register has asked OpenAI to detail the extent of any investment it has made in Indonesia, and will update this story if we receive a substantive reply.

With his “international reputation” golden visa in hand, Altman will receive priority service on screening and airport service lanes, longer length of stay than regular travellers, and ease of entering and leaving. Not to mention efficiency at receiving the visa in the first place – no need to travel and queue in the immigration office for this one.

“Once you arrive in Indonesia, you no longer need to apply for a limited stay permit (ITAS) at the immigration office,” said Silmy of Altman’s visa. “We are providing the red carpet as a return for the resources they can provide to Indonesia.”

The immigration office revealed that Altman was in Indonesia in June, sharing knowledge about artificial intelligence.

In June the CEO gave a talk in the capital city of Jakarta, organized by the Artificial Intelligence Industry Research and Innovation Collaboration, or KORIKA.

Donning a traditional batik shirt, Altman said OpenAI would like to improve on its products’ ability to support Bahasa Indonesia – the language spoken by 23 million Indonesians out of its quarter-billion population.

“We would like GPT5 to be very good at even smaller languages and dialects, and we need help for that. If Indonesia can make a data set available and evals for those languages we would be delighted to take that and put it into our next big model,” promised [VIDEO] Altman.

“I think making that available not only to us but to other people training these models will be great for the people of Indonesia and we’d be very excited to collaborate on that, so we will,” he added.

The immigration office cited “various developed countries, including the United States, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, Italy and Spain” as among countries that have implemented similar visa programs.

One notable benefactor of New Zealand’s similar visa program was Peter Thiel – PayPal co-founder and benefactor of oft-indicted Florida man and former US president Donald Trump.

Thiel was given citizenship to New Zealand in 2011 after reportedly spending just 12 days in the country. The usual route requires 1,350 days as a permanent resident in the five year time frame prior to applying.

Official documents revealed Thiel was given the right to the passport for “exceptional circumstances” related to “skills as an entrepreneur and philanthropy.” Thiel had previously donated NZ$1 million – worth at the time around $800,000 – to the Christchurch earthquake relief fund. He also was an investor in several New Zealand companies, including Xero and Pacific Fibre Limited. ®


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