Visas and Work Permits 9 min

Work permits and visas in Indonesia: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
February 13, 2024
Sally Flaxman


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Indonesia ranks second in the most preferred destinations for expatriates, according to the Expat Insider 2022 survey. If you plan to relocate your employees to Indonesia or hire remote workers from there, you'll need to follow the Indonesia work visa requirements and get the necessary work permits to operate legally. This guide expounds on Indonesia work visa requirements and work permits, so you can remain compliant when:

  • Hiring a candidate in Indonesia without an owned entity

  • Hiring a non-citizen of Indonesia

  • Relocating an existing employee to Indonesia

  • Allowing a digital nomad to compliantly work in Indonesia

By following this guide, you can compliantly hire and manage Indonesian-based talent without getting into trouble with the authorities. Read on to learn more. 

The importance of immigration compliance in Indonesia

If some of your remote workers are moving to Indonesia, you must ensure they have the required work visas or permits to work there legally. The right visa option for a foreigner depends on various factors like their country of citizenship, reasons for visiting, and intended duration of stay.

The Indonesian government is known for applying strict rules when it comes to work regulations for foreigners. Indonesia doesn't allow foreigners to work while on a tourist visa. 

Workers who overstay without the correct visa can be held in detention or may have to face fines of 1 million Indonesian Rupiahs per day. Foreigners who work in Indonesia illegally without a work visa or permit are subject to a fine of 500 million Indonesian Rupiahs (IDRs) and may face five years of imprisonment. On the other hand, employers that don't comply with Indonesian policies on work permits risk getting a fine of 36 million IDRs. 

Given the challenges of getting the right permits and the consequences of not doing it correctly, the smartest decision for employers and employees alike is to partner with an employer of record (EOR) like Remote. Remote can manage onboarding processes, benefits, and payroll, and make sure you’re compliant with regulations around taxes, immigration, and employment. 

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Learn how to simplify your planned relocation with this walkthrough guide. We outline the key steps for you and your employer to enable a compliant, efficient, and hassle-free move.

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Which workers need a right-to-work check in Indonesia?

Any foreign worker looking to work in Indonesia for an extended period needs to have a work permit that complies with immigration laws. The work permit, also referred to as Rencana Penempatan Tenaga Kerja Asing (RPTKA), is a document detailing the foreign worker's job titles, specific tasks, and length of employment. This document serves as a basis for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Indonesia to grant the foreigner a limited stay visa (VITAS). Immigration then issues them a limited stay permit (KITAS/ITAS), usually valid for six to 12 months. 

Foreign workers who want to become permanent residents of Indonesia need to apply for a permanent residence permit (KITAP). This permit is only available to foreigners who have held an ITAS for at least three consecutive years. 

Foreigners visiting Indonesia for business tasks, say attending a conference, negotiating a potential business deal, or even purchasing goods, don't need a work permit and can rely on a business visa. One cannot engage in any work that generates income while on a business visa. 

Applying for a work permit in Indonesia is a long process, requiring multiple government officials' approvals. The hiring company must comply with the requirements set by the Expatriate Placement Plan. This plan shows what foreign expertise is required and who should be offered a work permit. The employer must apply for the work permit and VITAS on behalf of their employee. 

Do non-citizens need a work visa or work permit in Indonesia?

All non-citizens need a work visa or work permit to work in Indonesia.

What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in Indonesia?

To be eligible for a work visa in Indonesia, there are certain criteria that foreign workers need to meet. These include:

Health requirements

  • Be healthy enough to get into the country

  • Undergo a medical test before moving into the country and provide the relevant health documentation

Character requirements

  • Be of noble character with genuine intentions behind seeking work in Indonesia

  • Provide relevant documentation as proof of their character, e.g., a police clearance certificate

Sufficient funds

  • Have sufficient funds to cover their stay in Indonesia

  • Provide a bank statement or other relevant financial document to prove they have sufficient funds

Confirmed employment

  • Have a job with a letter from the employer confirming employment

While there aren't any age requirements in most sectors and positions in Indonesia, employees in the oil and gas industry must be between 30 and 55 years old. This requirement doesn't apply to those in higher management positions, such as directors, general managers, and commissioners. 

What are the long-stay visa types in Indonesia?

Foreigners looking for an extended stay in Indonesia, whether for personal or work reasons, must obtain a KITAS/ITAS permit from the Indonesian authorities. The four most common reasons for foreigners staying in Indonesia are work, marriage, investment, and retirement. 

KITAS for work  

Foreigners working in Indonesia are required to have a KITAS/ITAS. This is simply a stay permit sponsored by an Indonesia-registered company to allow a foreigner to reside in the country while working. A working visa KITAS also allows a foreigner to re-enter Indonesia many times using that one permit. Hence, it is commonly referred to as a Multiple Exit and Re-entry Permit (MERP).

How do you get a work visa for Indonesia?

The employer and employee must provide various documents to obtain an Indonesian work visa. 

The employer must provide:

  • A Capital Registration License (SPPMA) from the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board

  • Their NPWP tax identification number

  • A copy of the sponsor’s identity card (KTP)

  • A copy of the RPTKA

  • A copy of an ID of a local employee of the company

  • Company’s registration letter (TDP)

  • Company’s certificate of domicile (SKTU)

  • Company’s annual report on the total number of local and international employees

  • Company stamp

  • Company’s approval certificates plus any related permits (SITU & HO)

  • The company's deed establishment (Akta Notaris) authorized by the Department of Justice

  • A blank sheet of paper containing the company’s letterhead

The employee must provide:

  • A color copy of their passport (valid for at least 18 months)

  • A color copy of their resume with the company’s stamp and a director's signature over the stamp

  • A copy of their highest level of education certificate with the employer's formal stamp and signature 

  • A certificate of work experience showing at least five years 

  • Two color passport-sized pictures

  • Proof of insurance

Application for a work visa in Indonesia is done at the Indonesian embassy or consulate. Overall, it takes about two months to get a work visa. 

What is the process for employee work visa sponsorship in Indonesia?

In Indonesia, an employer is responsible for applying for a work visa on behalf of its employees. This occurs in two main steps:

Step 1: Apply for a Foreign Manpower Placement Plan 

Before employing a foreigner in Indonesia, the sponsor company should get formal approval from the Indonesian government. To achieve this, you should apply for an Expatriate Placement Plan, also referred to as RPTKA, issued by the Ministry of Manpower. 

Step 2: Apply for a VITAS and ITAS

Once the RPTKA is approved, you should apply for a VITAS and ITAS. The VITAS allows a foreigner to enter Indonesia, while the ITAS is a temporary stay permit that allows the foreigner to reside and work in Indonesia for one year. A common application can be made for both VITAS and ITAS at an Indonesian consulate or embassy. If the application is approved, the VITAS and ITAS will be available within two to five working days. 

If you want to hire a foreigner who already resides in Indonesia, you’ll still need to ensure that they have the right entitlements to work. If they don’t, it’s your responsibility to ensure they get the relevant Indonesia work permit or visa before they can begin work. 

Applying for a work visa for your prospective employees in Indonesia isn’t easy. If you’re planning to relocate workers, Remote is committed to making the relocation as smooth as possible. For more guidance on visas and sponsorship options, get in touch with our friendly team for advice on how to move forward. 

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in Indonesia?

The Bali B211A visa allows digital nomads and travelers to reside in Indonesia for up to 60 days, with the opportunity to renew their visa twice for a total stay of six months. This visa is single-entry, meaning if the remote worker happens to leave Indonesia during the period, the visa will be automatically terminated. 

To be eligible for the Bali B211a visa, a digital nomad needs to meet the following requirements:

  • Have a valid passport

  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID

  • Have an exit ticket from Indonesia

Generally, applicants for the Bali B211a visa should be sponsored. If a person is applying independently, they will be required to provide a bank statement with at least $2,000 in their bank account. 

How Remote makes compliance in Indonesia so much easier

Relocating your employees to Indonesia can be stressful for both employers and employees. Work permit requirements can be tricky to understand and handling paperwork can be a hassle. Essentially, you must also maintain ongoing compliance with the country’s labor, tax, and immigration laws or risk facing legal or financial problems.

Luckily, you don't have to handle all these formalities alone. A trustworthy partner like Remote can help you:

  • Understand international taxation. Taxes can be complicated if an employer has employees in multiple countries. You have to handle personal income and corporate taxes, understand the differences between tax and physical residency, and familiarize yourself with the relevant tax treaties. 

  • Comply with local labor laws. Employment laws differ across countries. Noncompliance with these laws can result in hefty fines and penalties. Also, note that you’re required by law to have a legal entity in the country you’re hiring from.

  • Avoid permanent establishment risk. Having employees in another county won't automatically trigger a permanent establishment risk. However, certain employees' actions or roles might. 

To learn more about how you can simplify your planned relocation, download our Relocation Guide. We will walk you through all the key steps needed to have a compliant, efficient, and hassle-free move. For advice on employee sponsorship options in Indonesia or globally, contact our expert team, who are happy to guide you.


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