A guide to Indonesian visas and work permits

October 9, 2019

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As 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 Visa Telex (visa index 312), which allows them to work and travel to Indonesia. 

An Electronic ITAS (E-ITAS) grants employees the right to stay in Indonesia, as well as open up a bank account. With this type of permit, they will also be able to stay in the country and after three years, apply for a 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 a RPTK to the Ministry of Manpower risk-icon-accept-checkmark

In order to employ a foreign national in Indonesia, the sponsor company in Indonesia will need to get a formal approval from the government before making a visa application.  

The sponsor company must submit an Expatriates Placement Plan (RPTKA) to the Ministry of Manpower (Article 42 Manpower Act number 13-year 2003). Without this, the government will not issue a Visa Telex (VTT) 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 IMTArisk-icon-accept-checkmark

When the RPTKA has been approved, you’ll need to apply for a working permit (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 between three to five 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 has been approved, the next step is to apply for your Vitas, This can be done at the Indonesian Immigration office in your intended city of residence. Upon approval, the Indonesian Immigration office will send a telex approval to the Indonesian Embassy to determine the location for you to pick up the approval and to get the VITAS/VBS stamped into onto your passport.. 

The VITAS refers to a the sticker visa that is placed in the expats passport  in an Indonesian Embassy or Consular Office abroad which will give the person the right to an ITAS (which can be applied for upon arrival in Indonesia). 

The VBS on the other hand,  is a temporary stay permit issued before the ITAS or Resident’s Permit. The VBS is stamped in the expat's passport by Immigration upon arrival in Indonesia.

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