Permanent Residency in Indonesia

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Permanent Residency in Indonesia

Think of one country in Southeast Asiatrawangan-beach-lombok-1-1381698 where private islands with heavenly beaches are just a 90-minute boat ride away from the capital, where you can live and eat comfortably on just US$20 in a day, and where you can forget about doing house chores or driving cars because you can pay your household assistant and driver less than US$200 a month to do so. Yes, I’m talking about Indonesia. This exciting emerging market is definitely a cool place to relocate if you want a balance of work, travel and play. It may be tricky to get permanent residency in Indonesia, but fortunately, the government is working on changing regulations to encourage foreign direct investment. Let me guide you through the steps to obtain permanent residency in Indonesia.

Residence Permits

There are several kinds of permanent resident permits in Indonesia. The following are two of the most common types of permit:

Izin Tinggal Terbatas, or ITAS (Temporary residency permit): This is the most common permit held by expats living in Indonesia. It allows holders to live in the country for up to two years, and can be renewed three times, giving them six years of legal residency. The process to acquire an ITAS may take up to four months.

Izin Tinggal Tetap, or ITAP (Permanent residency permit): This visa is less common. You can acquire this permit only if you have been an ITAS holder for longer than five consecutive years. It allows you to live in Indonesia for up to five years, and can be renewed five times, giving you 25 years of residency in all. ITAP is more commonly held by foreigners with Indonesian spouses who are planning to live in the country permanently.

But before you can get any of these permits, you will need to get another type of visa to enter and stay in Indonesia. The Limited Stay Visa, or VITAS1, is a single-entry visa that foreigners may obtain for the purpose of investment, research, work and etc. It is renewable for up to a year, but foreigners who wish to remain in the country longer should start applying for the ITAS as soon as possible. You typically have seven days from your arrival in the country to begin applying for your ITAS.

Getting VITAS and ITAS

Since the most common visa is the ITAS, and getting the VITAS is required before you can get the ITAS, let’s talk about how to get both permits.

Requirements for the VITAS

  • Recommendation letter from a sponsor and/or company
  • An application form, duplicated, to be submitted with two passport-sized photographs
  • A complete and updated CV
  • A passport that has at least one blank page for visa. Validity varies for different stay periods (for example, 18 months’ passport validity for 12 months stay).
  • Authorization letter from the Indonesian Directorate General of Immigration
  • Payment of administration fee in money order. This fee varies for people from different countries: it is US$105 for American citizens and A$165 for Australians.

Requirements for the ITAS

  • Recommendation letter from a sponsor and/or company
  • Two photocopies of Expatriate Placement Plan (obtained from company or ministry for investor)
  • Valid passport and photocopy of passport (all pages)
  • Certificate of domicile
  • A complete and updated CV
  • A valid VITAS
  • Administration fee

VITAS and ITAS Application Procedure

The process to obtain the VITAS begins at the Indonesian embassy in your home country. Start by getting a recommendation from the Directorate General of Immigration. Once you have this, you should then gather all the documents you need to apply for the VITAS. These documents should be submitted to the Indonesian embassy. Note that the embassy has specific timings for different services, so be sure to go at the right time or you’ll have to make more than one trip.

The embassy will need three days to process your application. You may want to take the following into consideration when applying for the VITAS:

  • Having an Indonesian contact to get immigration recommendation for you.
  • VITAS is valid only if presented three months after the date of issuance.
  • The payment of administration fee does not guarantee that your application will be successful. There will be no refunds in the event that your application is unsuccessful.

Once you arrive in Indonesia, you are advised to apply for the ITAS as soon as possible. You are given only seven days to submit your application, and you can be fined US$20 for each day after that. Applying for the ITAS is similar to applying for the VITAS. You will have to visit your nearest police station and immigration office for the permit. Note that the process may take between 25 days and four months. While this can be painfully slow for some, especially since applicants are not allowed to leave the country during this period, the success rate of application is fairly high. You will just need a little patience, and it will be worth it once you get your KITAS (ITAS card).

Conclusion

KITAS is popular among expats not only because of the success rate of application, but also because of the benefits that come with it. The card gives you a legal tax number, and allows you to travel in and out of the country as well as be the director of a company or an investor. Your KITAS must be renewed every year, and the cost of replacement if you lose it is high, so you will want to take very good care of it!

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