A guide to Indonesian visas and work permits

October 9, 2019

With Southeast Asia’s second largest economy, Indonesia is an attractive choice when it comes to expanding business into overseas markets. Over the last 10 years, Indonesia has seen steady growth and is set to become the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2050.

With such a fast-growing economy, Indonesia presents important opportunities for organisations in a variety of sectors, including construction, oil and gas, mining and metals, and electronics. But if you’re planning to mobilise your workforce there, you’ll need to take several considerations into account.

This blog looks at how to arrange Indonesian visas and work permits for staff relocating to the country, as well as any other immigration processes that need to be addressed from an HR perspective.

Different types of visa in Indonesia

Most visitors to Indonesia can enter the country without a visa. Visa exemptions are offered to nationals of 170 countries, including the United States, and an extendable visa on arrival or multiple entry visa can also be obtained. However, the process of getting permission to work in the country is more complex.

Previously, in order for a foreign employee to enter Indonesia for work, they would need an individual work permit (IMTA). This has now been replaced with a Notification from the Ministry of Manpower.

Once an employee or business has obtained a notification, they can apply for an Indonesian visa. International workers will be issued a limited stay permit (VITAS), which allows them to travel to Indonesia, and an electronic limited stay permit (ITAS).

An ITAS grants employees to work in Indonesia, as well as open up a bank account and earn a salary. With this type of permit, they will also be able to stay in the country and, after three years, apply for permanent residency.

Employees can also apply for a permanent residence permit (KITAP), but this is only available to staff who have held an ITAS for three consecutive years or more.

As the employer, you will need to apply for an ITAS on behalf of your employees. You also have the option to work alongside a global mobility company, who will oversee the process of obtaining Indonesian visas and work permits for your organisation.

How to apply for an Indonesian work permit (ITAS)

In 2018, Indonesia developed a new Work Permit Regulation to allow for faster processing of work permits.

As of July 11th, 2018, the process of applying for a work permit in Indonesia is as follows:

1. Submit an RPTK to the Ministry of Manpower risk-icon-accept-checkmark

In order to employ a foreign national in Indonesia, you will need to get formal approval from the government before making a visa application. You should submit your request either as a letter from the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) indicating the signing of a contract, or as an announcement letter (SPT).

You will also need to submit an Expatriate Placement Plan (RPTKA) to the Ministry of Manpower. Without this, the government will not issue an ITAS to your employee.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule.

If the employee works in any of the following roles, they won’t need to apply for an RPTKA:

  • Director or commissioner (shareholders and members of the board)
  • Counsel or diplomatic officer to foreign company representatives
  • Those working in specific types of government work

2. Apply for an IMTA risk-icon-accept-checkmark

When the RPTKA has been approved, you’ll need to apply for an IMTA for your employee. To do this, you will need to provide the following information about the applicant:

  • Nationality
  • Place and date of birth
  • Gender
  • Passport number and how long it is valid for
  • Job role
  • Certificates of work experience and education
  • How long they have worked for your organisation

It will take up to two working days for this information to be processed and approved by the Ministry of Manpower.

Your employee’s IMTA will be valid for a minimum of one year; this can be extended depending on how long the RPTKA is valid for (up to two years). 

3. Apply for a VITASrisk-icon-accept-checkmark

Once the IMTA request has been approved, you will need to apply for a VITAS via the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). The board will issue a letter of recommendation to the Indonesian immigration office to confirm that a VITAS has been provided to the international worker.

The new regulations state that you can now apply for an ITAS at an Indonesian embassy using a form that enables you to simultaneously apply for a VITAS. Within two days of submitting the application, you will receive the VITAS and an ITAS approval letter. Your employee must present this to the immigration authorities when they arrive in Indonesia in order to get their ITAS.

Indonesian work visa requirements

There are a number of requirements candidates will need to demonstrate in order to obtain an Indonesian work permit. Generally, your workers will need:

  • An education related to the industry they intend to work in
  • A minimum of five years work experience related to the position, or a certificate
    of competence
  • Proof of life insurance / health insurance for their entire stay in Indonesia

Age requirements for a work permit in Indonesia

Though workers are generally eligible for a Indonesian work permit at any age, some industries do have specific rules surrounding age limitation.

For example, as regulated by the Indonesian Ministry of Energy, employees in the oil and gas industry need to be aged between 30 and 55 to work in the country. However, age restrictions are not applicable to the highest-level position in your organisation, such as directors or commissioners.

Extending Indonesian visas and work permits

If you want to extend an employee’s Indonesian work permit, you will only need to pay the second-year DKP-TKA. The bill will be sent by the Ministry of Manpower one month before the notification is due to expire.

Any workers holding a permit valid for less than two years can submit a new application or extension at least two months before the notification expires.

If the thought of sorting out Indonesian visas and work permits sounds like a lot of hassle, don’t worry. Working with a global mobility team takes the burden from you, so you can focus on running your business. For more information, visit our global mobility page.

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This post was written by: Charles Pfauwadel, Vice President – Asia at Airswift