Work Permits and Visas in Indonesia
Oct. 9 – Indonesia passed new immigration laws in 2011, and as a result there are now various options available to foreign workers for obtaining visas and working permits in the country. Indonesia also offers a visa-on-arrival service that is good for stays of up to 30 days.
Work permits and visas obtained prior to arrival are typically issued by Indonesia’s Ministry of Manpower. The Ministry also maintains lists of all professional positions in Indonesia that are open to foreign nationals, which includes technicians, directors, managers, field experts and teachers. You can download the entire text of Indonesia’s new Immigration Laws in English here.
In general, the requirements are the same for all work-related visa types and are as follows:
- All completed visa applications must be accompanied by a current passport from the country of residence with a minimum of six months validity
- At least one color passport photograph
- A signed copy of your resume in either English or Indonesian
- Separate list of job references and work experience
- Copy of recent diplomas and degrees
- Proof of sufficient funding for the duration of the visit
To apply for a work or business visa, your employer must first submit the relevant work permit applications and also obtain government approval to hire you as a foreign worker. To do this, the company must send the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) a formal request for approval called a Letter of Announcement or an Implementation of Employment Contract Agreement Letter.
The employer must also submit a Manpower Utilization Plan for Foreign Workers on your behalf to show how you will be used in the company’s plans. Once all these are approved, the company can then submit a VITAS Visa application (Limited Stay Visa) to the BKPM, which will then issue a Letter of Recommendation to the Department of Immigration to allow you to obtain a visa.
Types of Visas
Business visas are granted to foreigners who will be conducting business activities (such as attending conferences/seminars) in Indonesia, but do not actually take up an employment position at a company or receive any payments when in the country. These types of visas typically have a validity period of one year, and are available in both single and multiple entry variants. Multiple entry holders are permitted to stay a maximum total of 60 days in Indonesia, but this 60 day amount can be spread out over the permit’s validity period. Extensions are available for business visas.
Expatriates working in Indonesia on a full-time basis must obtain residence cards called Limited Stay Permit cards (Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas, or KITAS) to legally work in the country. A KITAS can be obtained by foreigners employed by Indonesian companies, foreigners married to Indonesian citizens or the children of foreigners who are married to Indonesian citizens. The company looking to hire a foreigner must prove exactly why this foreign worker must work for them during the KITAS application process (i.e., it has to prove that you are an expert in the field by way of experience and educational background checks). Additionally, if the Ministry of Manpower accepts your application, you will need to pay them a yearly fee of US$1,200. A KITAS is issued for one-year periods, and are extendable with at least 30 days advance notice.
A KITAP (Kartu Izin Tinggal Tetap) is the permanent stay permit in Indonesia, which can only be issued to investors and workers, retired elderly foreigners older than 55 and foreigners married to Indonesian citizens. As an investor or worker, you are eligible to apply for a KITAP after you hold a KITAS for at least three consecutive years. KITAPs can be obtained for five-year periods, and may be extended for indefinite periods of time.
These visas can be obtained directly on arrival when you land at certain airports and seaports in Indonesia regardless of the purpose of your visit. The visa on arrival is not a work visa or a visitation visa, so it therefore cannot be converted to obtain other immigration permits. The maximum stay permitted on a visa on arrival is 30 days, and can be extended for another 30 days.
Portions of this article came from the September/October 2013 issue of Asia Briefing Magazine titled, “Work Visa and Permit Procedures Across Asia,” which is currently available as a complimentary PDF download on the Asia Briefing Bookstore until the end of October. In this edition of Asia Briefing Magazine, we outline the specific documents required for foreign nationals working in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as highlight the relevant application processes in each of these countries.
Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.
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