OpenAI CEO Sam Altman Receives a ‘Golden Visa’—What Does It Mean?

Indonesia granted the OpenAI CEO a 10-year visa three months after he visited the country to discuss A.I.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman
Sam Altman at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 11, 2023 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman just became the first person to receive a “golden visa” from Indonesia, its government said yesterday (Sept. 4). The announcement came a week after the Southeast Asian nation launched the visa program in a bid to attract foreign investors and entrepreneurs.

With the golden visa, Altman will be allowed to stay in Indonesia for up to 10 years. U.S. citizens can visit the country without a visa but only for up to 30 days. Altman will also get other perks, such as priority screening at airports and easy entries and exits.

Altman was in Indonesia in June as part of his global tour to discuss artificial intelligence and regulating the technology with business and political leaders. It was his first international trip since OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November 2022. Altman also visited India, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Australia.

What is a golden visa and what does it mean to Altman?

A golden visa is a type of long-term residency permit bound by investments in a country. About 20 countries, including the U.S., offer such programs requiring investments or donations between $100,000 and $1 million. It’s unclear whether Altman applied for his golden visa to make investments in Indonesia during his visit. The Indonesian government said there are several categories of golden visas not based on capital investment, one of which is awarded to those of international repute who can benefit the country.

“With this golden visa, the hope is that Altman can contribute towards the development and use of A.I. in Indonesia,” Silmy Karim, Indonesia’s director general of immigration, said in a statement yesterday. Karim added Altman has an “international reputation and may bring benefits to Indonesia” and the country was rolling out “the red carpet” for the entrepreneur in return for the potential resources he could provide.

OpenAI doesn’t have an operation in Indonesia at the moment. The company has offices in the U.S. and the U.K. In April, Altman said he was considering opening an OpenAI office in Japan after meeting with the country’s prime minister during his world tour.

The Indonesian economy is growing at a rapid pace. Last year, the country’s gross domestic product increased 5.31 percent, the most since 2013. This week, Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta is hosting the 2023 ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum. During a meeting with Indonesia President Joko Widodo yesterday, Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), called the country “a source of joy, a source of hope” amid global uncertainty.

The golden visa program came at the heels of Indonesia’s “second-home visa” last year that granted five to 10 years of residency for those possessing more than $130,000 in their bank accounts.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman Receives a ‘Golden Visa’—What Does It Mean?