Indonesia’s Omnibus Law: Changes to the Immigration Law

Posted by Written by Ayman Falak Medina Reading Time: 4 minutes

Indonesia issued Government Regulation 48 of 2021 (GR 48/2021) in March 2021 which amends the country’s immigration law. GR 48/2021 makes significant changes to the maximum period a foreigner can stay in Indonesia on a limited stay permit (Izin Tinggal Terbatas or ‘ITAS’) and the length of visit stay permit (also known as single and multiple entry visas).

GR 48/2021 has also introduced a new visa category that will enable foreigners to receive a limited stay visa (Visa Tinggal Terbatas or ‘VITAS’). This visa is for foreigners who use Indonesia as a second home, foreigners, however, must have stayed in the country for between five to 10 years. Moreover, foreign visitors can now apply for a visit visa to conduct pre-investment activities.

Changes in the length of limited stay permits

Before the changes were implemented in GR 48/2021, the limited stay permit (ITAS) was valid for a maximum of two years with the possibility to extend twice for two years each time. After six years, the foreigner must apply for a new ITAS.

Under GR 48/2021, the ITAS is now valid for five years and can be extended once for another five-year, meaning the foreigner can stay in total for 10 years. Any ITAS for work purposes that is valid for no more than 90 days can be extended up to a maximum of 180 days.

Further, expatriates who have obtained their ITAS at a designated port of entry such as airports and ports will not be required to apply for the ITAS at their local immigration office in Indonesia, as was previously stipulated. This should ease the burden on expatriates and provide added certainty.

Changes in the length of visas on arrivals, social visit visas, and multiple-entry visas

Through GR 48/2021, visa on arrivals is still valid for 30 days but can no longer be extended. Previously, this visa type could be extended for a further 30 days once it expired.

The single-entry visa, or the social visit visa, is issued to foreigner travelers entering Indonesia for short internship programs, volunteer programs, meeting family, sports activities, and social activities, among others. The length of this stay is for 180 days and with no extension possible. This visa type was previously valid for 60 days and could be extended four times with a maximum stay of six months.

Finally, foreigners applying for the multiple entry visa can be granted 180 days stay in Indonesia which can be extended for a total stay of no more than one year.

New category for social visit visas

GR 48/2021 adds ‘pre-investment’ activities as one of the activities foreigners can undertake in Indonesia under a visit visa. This refers to foreigners looking to start a business in Indonesia, and undertaking feasibility studies, among others.

Previously, a letter from a guarantor in Indonesia was required as part of the application process. Under the latest changes, if the foreigner does not have a guarantor, then the guarantee letter can be replaced with proof of payment of an ‘immigration guarantee’ to the Directorate General of Immigration.

Guarantors of expatriates

GR 48/2021 has provided an exemption for the requirement of a foreign worker in Indonesia to have a guarantor. Depending on their visa, foreigners needed a guarantor who was responsible for their activities in the country and report any change to their civil or immigration status to the authorities. This requirement was not required for foreigners legally married to Indonesians, foreign investors, or citizens of countries that also waived the guarantee requirements for Indonesians.

Foreign investors, foreigners who make Indonesia a second home, and foreigners engaged in pre-investment activities can now make an official payment to the Directorate General of Immigration which will act as their immigration guarantee.

The payment will cover the cost of repatriation, deportation, or other immigration costs. If the immigration guarantee is not used during the foreigner’s stay in Indonesia, the full amount will be paid back.

Conversion of stay permits

Foreigners can now convert their visit stay permit to an ITAS, or an ITAS to a permanent stay permit (Izin Tinggal Tetap ITAP), or permanent stay visa/permanent residence. The ITAP is valid for five years and is extended automatically if the status of the expat does not change.

Obtaining an ITAP means the foreigner is no longer required to make the annual trip to the immigration office, as in the case of KITAS/ITAS holders, and no more costly visa extensions.

Introduction of the second home category

The government has now allowed foreigners who treat Indonesia as a ‘second home category’ to be eligible to receive a VITAS. The applicant must show evidence that they have settled in Indonesia. Further requirements will be issued in upcoming government regulations.

Additional requirements to obtain a VITAS

GR 48/2021 provides additional requirements for foreigners to obtain a VITAS. Once a foreigner has received sponsorship to work in Indonesia, they can apply for a VITAS. After the VITAS is secured, their immigration status changes to an ITAS, which requires an official stamp from an immigration office.

Once the ITAS is secured, the foreign worker can receive a Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas (KITAS), which will permit them to work in Indonesia for up to 12 months. This can then be extended when the expiry date approaches.

The additional requirements to obtain a VITAS are:

  • A letter detailing the applicant is of good standing from the embassy or consulate of the foreigner’s country of origin; and

A health letter stating that the applicant is free from any contagious diseases.

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