businessman-on-business-trip-in-jakarta (1)

To stay and work legally, a foreign national needs a work permit in Indonesia.

This article demonstrates how to apply for the work permit for both the foreign workers and foreign investors planning to live in Indonesia.

The information is based on the following work permit regulations: the Work Permit Regulation (No. 16/2015) and its October 2015 update (No. 35/2015), as well as the latest Presidential Regulation (No. 20/2018) for The Use of Foreign Worker.

General Requirements for Work Permit in Indonesia

First of all, let’s clarify some of the common terminology thrown around by the expatriate community in Indonesia:

  • KITAS – most foreign nationals in Indonesia refer to their stay permit as KITAS. This is a legacy term as foreigners no longer receive an actual card with their work permit.
  • Work Permit (IMTA) – until 2018, the company had to first apply for a work permit and then for the stay permit (VITAS or E-ITAS). This process is now combined.
  • Re-entry permit (MERP) – until 2018, you had to separately apply for a re-entry permit to be allowed to exit and re-enter the country. This is no longer required.

To get a work permit, a foreign national first has to be employed by a company registered in Indonesia. However, not all companies are allowed to hire foreign workers.

Requirements for the company to be able to give work permits to their foreign workers

A company is eligible for hiring foreign employees in Indonesia as long as they meet the following criteria:

Additionally, the company must make sure that they have submitted the Manpower Report (WLTK or Wajib Lapor Ketenagakerjaan/). This is required even if the company is not hiring foreign employees and you cannot apply for work permits if you haven’t submitted it.

Minimum requirements for foreign nationals to be eligible for the work permit

The general requirements for an employee to be hired in Indonesia are:

  • Bachelor degree or higher
  • If the position requires specialized education, a relevant degree (e.g. in education or engineering)
  • A recommendation letter from the previous employer, demonstrating at least five years of work experience
  • Proof of health/life insurance for your whole stay in Indonesia
  • Proof that the employee has health and life insurance

Positions a Foreign National in Indonesia Can Hold

Foreign nationals can hold a work permit carry any titles that are not restricted. A foreign national cannot hold positions related to human resources, legal and medical industries.

The general requirements do not specify any age limitation.

How Long is a Work Permit Valid for?

The work permit is valid from 6 to 12 months, depending on the Job Position applied. A 12 months work permit is extendable.

Local co-worker requirement

Every foreign worker has to have at least one local co-worker that holds a title relevant to the foreigner’s position. The company does not have to appoint Indonesian coworkers for the following positions:

  • Director
  • Commissioner
  • Founder of a foundation (Anggota pembina yayasan)
  • Member of a management of a foundation (Anggota pengurus yayasan)
  • Supervisor of a foundation (Anggota pengawas yayasan)

Even though those positions don’t require a local coworker relevant to the position, they do need to be guaranteed by an Indonesian citizen who is responsible for any misconduct caused by the foreigner.

The Process of Getting a Work Permit in Indonesia

Total time: 30 days.

The process of getting a work permit in Indonesia generally takes one month.

  1. Foreign Manpower Placement Plan (RPTKA)

    An application stating the list of foreign workers and their positions you will be hiring.

  2. Payment of the Employee Development Fund (DPK-TPA)

    DPK-TPA is essentially a pre-paid tax to the government for hiring foreign employees. The fee is $100/month and needs to be paid upfront for the entire duration of the work permit (either $600 for six month work permit or $1200 for a one year work permit).

  3. Stay Permit Notification Approval / Telex

    The approval is sent to the Embassy of choice by the foreign worker, where she/he must exchange it to an actual stay visa at the Embassy prior to entering Indonesia.

  4. E-ITAS/ Limited Stay Permit

    Limited Stay Permit (often called by foreign nationals as KITAS) will be issued as soon as the foreign worker has arrived in Indonesia and has its biometric data recorded either at the border or at the local Immigration Office.

  5. Civil Registration

    Registering the domicile of the foreign worker to the local administrative office.

Extending Work Permits

The worker does not need to fly out of Indonesia during this process, however, it is highly advisable to start preparing for the extension process already three months before the expiration date of your work permit.

Frequently asked questions about hiring foreign workers in Indonesia

What is the foreigner-to-local hiring ratio?

A company must hire at least one Indonesian for every foreign national. The co-worker’s position must be relevant to the foreigner’s title.

Do non-resident commissioners and directors need a work permit?

Yes. If they hold more than one billion Rupiah worth of shares, they should get an Investor Visa instead which is a much faster and cheaper process.

The foreigner should not visit Indonesia before the work permit is issued?

This is not correct. The foreign national can visit Indonesia with any valid visa as long as they don’t take up employment.

Does the foreign worker need to take Indonesian language (bahasa Indonesia) courses?

The new regulation states that the employer should enable language training to the employee but there is no enforcement or other types of formal control from the government.

Can the foreign worker work for several companies in Indonesia?

The work permit is tied to the specific company and position. If the worker wants to work for another company, they need to get an additional work permit from that company.

If I am married to an Indonesian and have KITAS, can I work without a work permit?

If your KITAS is sponsored by your spouse, you are dependent. To be allowed to work, you have to get a work permit.

Can I import personal goods with my Stay Permit or KITAS?

A surprisingly unknown fact is that you are allowed to import one container of personal goods to Indonesia with your KITAS. Note that the items are strictly for personal use and you are not allowed to sell them in Indonesia.

Do I need a work permit for performing quality control or attending meetings?

No, for those activities it’s better to get a business visa. A one-year multiple entry visa allows you to stay in the country for 60 days per visit.

Fill in the form below to get your work permit process started. See also how to get a work permit in the Philippines.

Comments (49)

  1. Mangara Sidabutar
    February 17, 2015


    I am HR Lead Indonesia for Orica. I am now having some things to do regarding the work permit in Indonesia. I need to discuss it further with you, and seek the info whether you are the right one to help us.

    Please let me know how we can have a chat further.


  2. Tom Jarvis
    June 11, 2015

    Thanks for this article, very clear and useful advice. We will be sharing with our clients, most of whom work in Bali. Also reminds me to start my renewal process on time!

    • Indosight
      August 31, 2015

      Yes you can. However the duration of the work permit might be different – in your example Quality control manager would be considered as an expert and would receive work permit for only 6 months instead of a year.

  3. Stephen Hartley
    June 29, 2015

    Can a foreign shareholder of a pt pma company be a normal employee of that company; rather than a director ( I.E General Manager or Quality Control Adviser for example)

  4. John Fenton
    October 28, 2015

    Good article; you ought to provide a post to facebook link so we can post it there. There is an active FB group of expats who would benefit from this article.

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Hi Fenton,

      Sure that is not a problem, you can copy our link or let us know which group should be benefited from this post and we can contact the admin 🙂

  5. Mrs Shalu
    November 2, 2015

    Do you provide compay registration services as well, TDP, IUT, SIUP, Genpensi, and Inkindo licenses.
    If yes, then please send us the quotation and time line to setup a local (51%) PT company with 49% foreign share holding. Alos let us know what is the maximum foreign share holding allowed for:
    1. Project managment consulting for Power sector including solar and conventional power segments
    2. Project managment consulting for petrochemicals and refineries
    3. Project managment consulting for upstream oil & gas services.
    Note that Project managment also includes little bit of enginering as well.

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Thanks Mrs Shalu,

      I have sent you an email for further assistant.

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Hi Raj,

      A SKYPE interview is part of the verification process before MOM issueing the RPTKA.

      The interview is not required for Foreign Director and Foreign Commissioner tittle.
      However, for all other tittles are required.

      I have sent you email for further information.

  6. Thomas
    November 16, 2015

    The KITAS process takes approximately 6 weeks. Before applying for a work permit, I want to see if the new recruit is really suitable for the job. In the past we could use a B 457 which was valid for 60 days, allowed work, so we could test the new employee and had time with the extension to apply for KITAS. How does it now work?

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Thanks for your comment Thomas!
      I have sent you an email of the visa choice during foreign workers probation time.


  7. Florence
    November 25, 2015

    Dear Marlissa,
    Thanks for the update on the new regulations since Oct, very useful as it’s getting confusing for everyone…
    I would like to know if you are aware about the Skype process for the pre-IMTA? Is this step mandatory? Any other way to apply?
    Thanks a lot

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Dear Florence,

      Our pleasure!

      A SKYPE interview is part of the verification process before MOM issueing the RPTKA.

      The interview is not required for Foreign Director and Foreign Commissioner tittle.
      However, for all other tittles are required.

      I have sent you email for further information.

  8. Tony Ward
    December 19, 2015

    I am a foreign national with an Indonesian spouse living in Indonesia. We have been married for 9 years and I have just received a spouse kitas and merp valid for 12 months. From previous work in Indonesia I also have an NPWP and bank account. I would like to convert my kitas to kitap to enable me to work in Indonesia as a consultant. My spouse (wife) has a PT company who would contract out my services within Indonesia. Can I convert the kitas to kitap immediately?

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Hi Tony!

      You are eligible for a KITAP if you already have a spouse’s sponsored KITAS as long as you have been married for more than 2 years.

      I have sent you more details to your email. Hope it helps!

  9. Chong
    December 22, 2015

    Hi, is there any compensation that employers has to pay
    in employing an expat ?

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Hi Chong,

      I have sent you an email for further information, hope it helps!

  10. Danny Haw
    January 5, 2016

    If a foreign set up a coffee shop in indonesia. What is the procedure for registration of business and how to pay tax?

    Please advise. Thank you.

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Hi Danny,

      I sent you an email for further assistance on this.


  11. Sukhramsingh
    January 10, 2016

    I want apply for kitash visa. So what should i do . Can i meet u in u r office

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Sure Sukhram!

      Will be happy too, I sent you an email for confirming the meeting time 🙂

  12. Jon
    January 25, 2016

    I have been asked to provide insurance for my application, is this medical insurance from indonesia?

    What is it requesting?

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Hi Jon,

      It can be either Medical or Life insurance, if this is your first working permit application, you can use insurance from any private companies (either abroad or from Indonesia).

      If you need our assistance to proceed your application, let us know!

  13. Jan
    February 1, 2016

    Can one Work Permit Cover all the area in Indonesia ? It is just a application Fees?

    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016


      The location for works should be appeared in your working permit/IMTA.
      If it is mentioned only 1 city, you are allowed only to work in the mentioned city.

      Hope this helps!

    • marlissa
      February 11, 2016

      Hi Jan,

      I sent you an email 🙂

  14. Vaidheeswaran Kannan
    February 1, 2016

    We are an Indian company into Auto parts production.We are working with an Indonesian Partner to whom we have supplied machines Free of Cost.We plan to support our Indonesian partner with a resident engineer in Indonesia for a period of 6 months to 1 year.Also, this resident engineer will be rotated every 2 months from India.We are not a PT PMA company or have a representative office in Indonesia.Can we station our resident engineer on Business Visa(Single entry for 60 days ) or should we get Work permit ? The Resident Engineer will not be paid by the Indonesian partner, but he will paid salary for him in India.In Indonesia, he will be paid a daily allowance for his stay, food, travel etc.

    • marlissa
      February 11, 2016

      Hi Valdheeswaran,

      I sent you an email for further information!

  15. Rana
    February 1, 2016


    I want to know how many days it takes for approval of telax visa. I am waiting for more than one month still not received telax visa. Need advice what should I do now?


    • marlissa
      February 2, 2016

      Hi Rana!
      After you have obtained an IMTA/Working permit, your telex will be issued max 5 working days after submission.

      If you need assistance in speeding up the process, let us know! We’ll be happy to help.

  16. Resat
    February 3, 2016

    dear Marlissa,
    we have a legal human resource company with licence, working in hotel and spa business mainly. our offices are in Dubai, Mumbai, USA, Turkey, Russia, Kirghistan
    i decided to make a KKPA in Jakarta after inspecting your info.
    Now my problem is how to get KITAS. because i do not want go to my home country every time to get Indonesia visa, since i will be in different countries due to my business. i am Turkish citizen.

    and what will be the monthly expenses including staff, official office rent, taxes, and may be another..

    thank you for your prompt reply

    • marlissa
      February 8, 2016

      Hi Resat,

      I have sent you an email for further information.


  17. kay
    February 10, 2016

    Dear Marlissa,

    Our foreign partners would like to open some businesses here but we really dont know what to do as far as the regulation and perhaps you could give advise on the most efficient way as afterall they have local parners here.
    1. How is the regulation in buying property or lease them here for foreign investors?
    2. Wed like to do some small businesses in many different types, what are the requirement to build CV and PT with foreign investors? (including the options)I think we need to get TDP, NPWP ..?

    If you do this service how much would be your quote of course

    Thanks so much..appreciate your help

    • marlissa
      February 11, 2016

      Hi Kay,

      Thanks for your comment!
      I sent you email for further information.

  18. Wayne Groeneveld
    February 14, 2016

    I am planning on starting a salon business in Bali and wanted some clarification around the requirements for permits. It will be a registered business and I will be a Director. Although i won’t be living in Bali full time I do intended to spend approximately 3 weeks there every 2-3 months to ensure it runs smoothly. I will not be an employee or draw a wage/salary, will have a dedicated Balinese manager and employ a further 6 local staff. Do I need either/both an IMTA and KITAS to undertake what I have planned.

    • marlissa
      February 19, 2016

      Hi Wayne,

      Just emailed you regarding your inquiry.

  19. Sudheesh
    February 16, 2016

    Hi ,
    I would like to ask you on Rep office . We are planning to open a rep office in jakarta . One agent told me as per new regulation i can open only KP3A is it right ?
    Also is there any regulation for expiry of rep office registration ?

    • marlissa
      February 19, 2016

      Hi Sudheesh,

      I have sent you email for further information!

  20. Ben
    February 19, 2016


    From my understand I am now eligible to apply for KITAP as i have been married with my wife for longer than 2 years. I would like to know, besides having a 5 year visa instead of having a 1 year visa, what other benefits does it have? Also, i have been told that it is not possible for Expats to be Directors or General Mangers of PT companies only PMA companies, is this true? If it is, i think more than half of the Expats in Indonesia are breaking the law. Sounds incorrect to me!

    • marlissa
      February 19, 2016

      Hi Ben,

      You are eligible for a KITAP right away shall your marriage is more than 2 years.
      KITAP is a very hassle free as you do not need to register to immigration every year and after holding 5 years KITAP, you are eligible for the permanent one (means that the stay permit for indefinite time – almost like being an Indonesian citizen!)

      Foreigners can be Diretor of both 100% domestic owned Company (local PT) with at least Medium Size or Foreign owned company (PT PMA).
      The Job tittle which is restricted for foreigner is as Commissioner of the Company (Manpower regulation no. 16 year 2015 jo 35 Year 2015) and furthermore other positions may be prohibited as regulated by Ministry of Manpower decree.

      For more details, feel free to contact me at marlissa at indosight dot com !

  21. cheryll
    February 20, 2016


    Im cheryll id just to ask if your working here in indonesia you need a kitas and also imta?You must have these two to work legally in indonesia ?which come first will be issued the kitas and then after imta will follow?
    thank you!

    • marlissa
      February 25, 2016

      Hi Cheryll,

      To work legally in Indonesia, you would need to have an IMTA.
      While accompanying IMTA, is a KITAS (Stay permit) – you would only need the KITAS if you plan to reside in Indonesia.

      E.g many of the foreign workers work in Oil and Gas company for a temporary period (1 or 2 month), they do not use a KITAS, but a transit visa – however they do have IMTA(s).

      Hope this explains!
      I sent you an email for further information.

  22. Komal
    February 26, 2016

    Hi Marlissa,

    Hope you are very well.

    I am an HR practitioner/professional with over 9 years of experience in multinational companies. Following my husband’s move as a result of finding a job in Jakarta, i am moving with him. In the article above, i read HR jobs come with a regulation. What i really wanted to ask was to see if still i can pursue my career in HR in Jakarta as i just don’t intend to waste the experience i gave gained over so many years just like that so much so that currently I am working as Corporate Lead – Comp & Ben, Pakistan and Middle East. Is there any option for me in Consultancy etc that i can pursue in Human Resource, HR there.

    I would really appreciate your help!


    • marlissa
      February 27, 2016

      Hi Komal!

      As regulated by Regulation regarding Manpower, foreigners are not allow to hold a position in an HR-Related field in a Company.
      However, as a solution you can open a Representative office (which e.g can represent your own HR consulting company) which allowing you to be the Chief Representative Office and get a working permit from the Rep Office.

      I have sent you more details on the RO to your email.


  23. Nena
    February 26, 2016

    Hi there

    Is having a KITAS the pre-requirement to applying for a KITAP despite been married to an Indonesian citizen for over 2 years? Or can one apply for KITAP immediately once the length of marriage is met. ?

    Also does a KITAP have a work permit attached to it to allow you to be self sufficient in obtaining work?

    Thank you!

  24. EMMA
    May 17, 2016

    please am 24 years but someone told me I can’t go indo for business visa. is there any rule to this at all?

    • Angeline Taniwan
      May 17, 2016

      Dear Emma,

      If i may know, what passport are you holding now?
      It is all depending on which passport you hold. For example, some countries like North Korea and Pakistan are on the list of ‘under consideration’ upon entering Indonesia.

      As for the business visa itself, below are the specific rules and regulations that apply to the two types of Indonesian business visas available in our country :

      Single Entry Business Visa
      Maximum length of stay is 60 days with any extensions can be applied for and obtained in Indonesia from the Immigration Authorities.

      Multiple Entry Business Visa
      This visa is valid for up to 12 months, and is issued upon authorization of the Immigration Office in Indonesia.

      If you need help with your business visa application or want to know more about obtaining a business visa in Indonesia, please drop us an email.

      Angeline Taniwan

  25. Julie
    May 22, 2016


    Can you please explain exactly what a director and commissioner can do on a Kitas for Pt PMA. ( Fully foreign owned) I don’t seem to be able to find any written information and no one I have spoken to really seems to know. Eg If I am the foreign director (living mostly in Indonesia) of a small bar/restaurant can I do a stock take, can I train kitchen staff in a new recipe, can I clear a table etc. prior to PMA I had a Finance manager Kitas, my partner had a marketing manager Kitas (6 months) Can I for example do the accounts. Very difficult to get this information. Thank you

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