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Visa Issues in Indonesia for expats and visitors

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#1 drbruce

Posted 29 November 2009 - 07:32 AM

Visas are problems for all of us that live in Asia whether we're just planning on a short term visit or a long-term commitment. The first visas that I'll cover is the Social Visa (Sosial Budaya). Most expats or potential expats start with a social visa. This visa is issued to a foreigner for the purposes of visiting Indonesian relatives, studying the culture or learning the language.

For this type of visa you need an Indonesian sponsor (and this can really be just about adult Indonesian, even someone that you barely know) and a letter from that sponsor as well as a copy of their Indonesian ID. The letter should state the address where you will be staying, the purpose of the visit, your relationship with the sponsor, a statement that you will be financially responsible for all costs incurred during your stay. You may be required to provide a bank statement and a return ticket, but this is usually not the case. As with so much in Indonesia, it all depends on who you are dealing with at immigration; if you get someone that is not fond of foreigners they can give you a hard time although if you have all your bases covered, you will eventually get your visa. Generally speaking, getting a social visa is easy and relatively painless.

The visa is initially good for a 60-day period and can be extended monthly after that for a total period of six months. You need to leave the country when the six months expire. If you leave the country before your six months expire, you need to start the process anew if you want another Social Visa.

You can only obtain a Social Visa outside the country. Most expats do this in Singapore (although KL is becoming a popular spot to get visas now) and often use an agent to deal with the process at the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore, KL or wherever else they apply.

Expats that have a Social Visa and continually renew it are sometimes questioned by immigration about what it is that they are doing in the country, although many expats have been using social visas for years. Immigration may suspect foreigners of trying to work on the Social Visa, and with good reason, as there are many foreigners who do just
that. It’s a risky venture because if you get caught, you're liable to be deported and fined. I don't recommend working illegally in the country.

#2 drbruce

Posted 06 December 2009 - 08:51 AM

Spousal KITAS

According to my visa agent this is a relatively new option for men married to Indonesian women (expat women have always had this option). Under this option the wife sponsors her husband and the spouse receives a KITAS. The costs are the same as a Retirement Visa. Requirements are: a bank statement showing that the couple has enough money to live for one year, a copy of the marriage certificate, a copy of your spouse’s KTP (identity card), a copy of your wife's Kartu Keluarga (family card), your passport, and several sets of extra photographs. You will need to be fingerprinted at the immigration office once you begin the process to get your KITAS.

In addition to the KITAS, you will need a SKLD (Surat Keterengan Lapor Diri) which you can get at your local police office; this is a police ID card that all expats need. You also need a STM (Surat Tanda Melapor) which is a Certificate of Police Registration and tells where you live and how long you have lived there. Then you need to go to your local Kantor Lurah to get a Surat keterengan domisili which you then take to the Catatan Sipil to get a SKTT (Surat Keterangan Tempat Tinggal), a SKPPS (surat keterengan pendaftaran penduduk sementara) and a SKDLN (Surat Keterengan Datang dari Luar Negeri).

If this all sounds complicated and confusing, it can be. You need time and patience to go through this process (in fact, I left out the entire process of applying for the KITAS if you do all this by yourself). I certainly don't have the patience to work through this whole process which is why I use an agent. All you need to do with an agent is give them your documents, wait for word from them that your paperwork is ready, fly out to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, and then either go to the Indonesian Embassy there yourself or use another agent to obtain the documents that you need. I use an agent in Singapore and take the day that I'm there to do some shopping. Once you return to Indonesia, you give your passport to your agent, and he/she takes care of the rest until you need to go in for your fingerprints.

If you really want to go through all this on your own, take a look at the Living in Indonesia Expat Forum and read about the experiences of other Indonesian expats along with detailed instructions on how to go about obtaining a visa on your own.

#3 drbruce

Posted 24 December 2009 - 03:53 PM

Just returned from a visa run to Singapore for a Social Visa - it wasn't what I really wanted, but due to some health issues, I wasn't about to send my passport off the island that I've been working on for a week, so I settled for the Social Visa. No problems. I used an agent in Singapore to go to the embassy and get the visa. No one wanted to see a return ticket or a bank statement. Just one instance of the lack of consistency in this process since some folks are asked to show a ticket and a statement and some not. Generally, it's easiest to use an agent. My opinion is that once an immigration official sees a foreigner in doing this stuff on their own, some of them will try to make a little extra on the side out of the whole deal.

#4 (Member banned)

Posted 25 December 2009 - 12:00 PM

View Postdrbruce, on 24 December 2009 - 03:53 PM, said:

Just returned from a visa run to Singapore for a Social Visa -
You are living now for so many years in Indonesia and married to an Indonesian citizen, and still you are on a visa-run? Even up to Singapore?
And this is every year?

Isn't there anylike like a spouse visa?

Maybe not from the first day on, but if marriage keeps on going for a few years? Is there really nothing but a visa-run?

#5 drbruce

Posted 25 December 2009 - 02:42 PM

Yes, Yohan,  there is a spousal visa which I wrote about above, but sometimes they insist on seeing your actual passport rather than a photocopy when they get the paperwork to process. I happened to be on a fairly remote island at the time of application and didn't want to send my passport to Jakarta for what could have been weeks due to some health issues. Thus, I settled for the Social Visa which I should be able to convert to a spousal visa in a few months without leaving the country again.

#6 กำนัน

Posted 17 January 2010 - 03:07 PM

I've split the retirement visa info into a new thread, as it's good info and well worth putting it in it's own topic...
Indonesia Retirement Visa

#7 hassanmirani

Posted 15 April 2011 - 11:11 AM

I have got visa for Indonesia. i would be visiting in may 2011. I have to get my passport renewed because I have to apply for student visa for Australia. I want to know if get my passport renewed, can I still enter Indonesia or I would face in problems? should I rather also get visa on my new passport. Please do reply.

#8 Stocky

Posted 15 April 2011 - 11:30 AM

Your visa is still valid, you need to present immigration with both new passport and the canceled passport containing the current visa.

I was in the same situation last year, I had my multi-entry visa in the old passport which I stapled to the back of the new one - I still had 9 months to run on my Indonesian visa.

Edited by Stocky, 15 April 2011 - 11:33 AM.

#9 mehamgul101

Posted 19 August 2011 - 08:04 AM

well i am also facing the visa problems in indonesia in those days i apply for it but they reject without any reason

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