photo credit: dcgreer
There are several visas and work permits Indonesia has for foreigners looking to stay or work in Indonesia. In this article I will guide you through the types of visas available and which one you should choose, skipping the ones not relevant for business travelers and entrepreneurs.
Note that Indonesia passed a new Immigration Law in 2011 and therefore any article written before that will contain most probably inaccurate information.
Tourist visas are the easiest to get as for many nationalities they can be obtained on-arrival in the airport or seaport. Tourist visa can be obtained for 7 or 30 days and extended once in a local immigration office without having to leave the country.
In order to qualify for the visa, you need to have a return ticket out of Indonesia and passport valid for at least 6 months. Visa fee can be paid in US dollars, so you don’t need to exchange Indonesian Rupiahs beforehand.
There is no limitation of how often you can enter Indonesia with tourist visa, however the immigration officers have been trained to watch out for foreigners entering Indonesia as a tourist often as it might be a sign of an illegally employed foreigner. Be prepared to answer questions about your travel plans and why you are coming to Indonesia so often.
In case you overstay your tourist visa, you will have to pay a 200,000 IDR (roughly 20 USD) fine for each overstayed day. In case your overstay is not more than 60 days, you won’t get to much trouble, but any time over that can lead to deportation and restrictions on entering Indonesia in the future.
Business visa purpose is doing business activities in Indonesia without taking up employment. While it is easy to get one from your local Indonesian embassy, you will need to get a sponsor letter from a company registered in Indonesia.
Business visa has two benefits over tourist visa. Firstly, you can apply for a one year multiple entry business visa (maximum 60 days stay at a time) and save yourself from having to apply for a new visa every time you come to Indonesia.
(Emerhub’s Note: business visa is the fastest and easiest type of visa for foreigners to stay or frequently visit Indonesia. Check out our business visa page.)
KITAS is the limited stay permit commonly used by expats employed in Indonesia. KITAS can be obtained by foreigners employed by Indonesian company, foreigners married to Indonesian citizens or kids of the foreigners who are married to Indonesian citizen.
Indonesia is strict about letting foreigners to be employed in Indonesia. In the KITAS application process, the company needs to demonstrate why this position needs a foreign specialist. Ministry of Manpower also rejects applications when they find that company is already hiring too many foreigners, usually if it over 20% of the overall staff.
Applying for KITAS using agent costs approximately 800-1000 USD per year, additionally you will need to pay 1200 USD per year to Ministry of Manpower. KITAS is issued for one year and has to be extended each year at least 30 days in advance.
Besides being able to be legally employed in Indonesia, KITAS also allows you to get a tax payer card and become director of a company.
KITAP is the permanent stay permit, which can be issued to investors, elderly and foreigners married to Indonesian citizens.
Permanent stay permit can be obtained for 5 years and extended indefinitely and extension is free of charge.
As an investor, you are eligible for KITAP after having KITAS for three consecutive years. Be careful when hiring foreign workers, because your KITAP can be terminated in case you are caught having illegal foreigners working in your company.
As a spouse, you can get KITAP after your marriage has lasted for at least two years and is signed by the Indonesian Government. In case of a divorce, you are still eligible for KITAP in case your marriage lasted longer than ten years.
KITAP for retirement can be issued to foreigners older than 55 years.
You can download the entire 2011 Immigration Law in English here.
That’s it. Those are the common types of visas used by foreigner to do business or work in Indonesia. We did not cover some types of visas like transit or socio/cultural as they are not relevant for the aforementioned purposes.
Selim ChanderliNovember 6, 2013
I think that it is also very important to know that when holding a KITAS, you would need an Exit Permit (stamped in your foreign passport) to be able to leave Indonesia (to go back for holiday in your country for example).
IndosightNovember 6, 2013
Correct, strangely KITAS comes as a single entry permit by default. It is advisable to get Exit Permit immediately after KITAS since it takes couple of days to receive it and you want to make sure you have it before you have a sudden trip abroad.
For our clients we make Exit Permit part of the package, most foreigners will need at some point travel abroad during the year the KITAS is valid.
ChrisDecember 9, 2013
Do you need to apply for an exit visa each time you leave the country? Or only once / once per year?
IndosightDecember 9, 2013
Re-entry permit allows you to leave and enter Indonesia as many times as you want during the duration of the permit. Most people get it for the entire 1 year right after receiving their KITAS.
ChrisDecember 10, 2013
Thanks, appreciate the prompt response.