Importing Personal Goods to Bali: Rules, Restrictions, and Customs Fees

Understanding what can and cannot be imported into Indonesia is crucial for travelers. Violating these rules can lead to trouble at the border and the loss of personal items.
Here’s what you need to know:

Prohibited Items

1. Narcotics
  • Including class A drugs, marijuana, psychotropics, opioids, and any substances containing cannabis (e.g., hemp oils, seeds, drops, hash brownies, and chocolates containing any substances).
Importing narcotics into Indonesia can result in the death penalty or long-term imprisonment. Even if it is proven in court that the narcotics were for personal use, the penalties remain severe.
Additionally, Indonesia is a major destination for international drug trafficking. To avoid becoming a victim of narcotraffickers, follow these precautions:
  • Do not accept items from strangers.
  • Pack your own luggage: Personally pack your bags to ensure you know the contents.
  • Check items from acquaintances: If you are asked to bring a package to Bali, thoroughly inspect all items, including the packaging.
Remember: passengers are fully accountable for all items they carry.
2. Pornography: Any films, images, or items containing elements of pornography.
3. Chinese Literature and Media: Including books, publications, newspapers, manuscripts, films, CD-ROMs, audio cassettes, and video recordings.
4. Chinese Medicines and Medical Products: Including traditional Chinese medicine.
5. Communist Literature, Symbols, and Attributes: Even wearing a T-shirt with a hammer and sickle at the airport can lead to detention. Similarly, displaying the Soviet or Chinese flag on your house can result in imprisonment in Indonesia.
6. Goods Intended for Sale: Note that bulk goods can attract high customs duties or fines and may be confiscated.
7. Items in Cardboard Boxes: These are considered as goods for sale.
8. Cosmetics: You are only allowed to bring cosmetics for personal use. Trade samples require an Importer Identification Number (SKI) and permission from BPOM (the National Agency for Drug and Food Control).
9. Traditional Medicines and Supplements: Except for personal use. Make sure to have an accompanying letter from your doctor in English.
10. Specific Food Products: Including fresh fruits, poultry meat, certain types of sugar, and specific types of rice.
11. Radiotelephones: Non-cellular, wireless home-use phones.
12. Firearms and Ammunition: Require special permits.
13. Materials Depleting the Ozone Layer.
14. Others: Large quantities of plastic bags, antique products, and folk craft items.

Limited Imports

This means that while items can be brought into the country, there are conditions attached.
For instance, items like video cameras, binoculars, tape recorders, and sports equipment can be brought in under the condition that visitors take them back with them when they leave. A customs officer may suggest leaving a deposit until departure, with the amount calculated based on the item's value.
Additionally, some items on this list can only be brought in certain quantities. Exceeding these specified limits can result in import duties or confiscation. For example, in your carry-on luggage, you can bring:
- 50 ml of perfume or 250 ml of eau de toilette.
- 500 grams of coffee or 100 grams of tea.
Below is a list of some of the most frequently brought items that are subject to import limits:
1. Tobacco and Alcohol:
In your personal luggage, you can bring: 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars, or 100 grams of tobacco or other tobacco products, along with 1 liter of strong alcoholic beverages. Anything exceeding these quantities will be confiscated during inspection.
2. Electronics:
Passengers arriving to Indonesia are limited by both the number of devices and their total value. If either the number of devices or the combined value exceeds these limits, you must declare the excess items and may be subject to additional customs duties.
Per Device Type Limit: Each passenger is allowed to bring a maximum of two devices of each type (e.g., two cell phones, two laptops, two tablets, or two drones).
Overall Device Limit: Despite the per-type limit, the total number of electronic devices a passenger can bring must not exceed five. For example, you could bring two cell phones, one laptop, one tablet, and one drone.
Value Limit: The combined value of all these electronic devices must not exceed USD 1,500. This means that while you can bring up to five devices, their total value should remain within this financial limit to avoid additional customs duties or declarations.
Any additional devices beyond these limits must be declared using the electronic customs declaration (E-CD), which all arriving passengers must complete.
Typically, personal items are generally not heavily scrutinized unless they appear to be intended for sale.
3. Clothing:
New clothing items can be imported in quantities of up to 10 pieces per person, as specified by the Ministry of Trade.
Note: While customs legislation restricts the import of new clothing, in practice, customs officers at the airport typically do not confiscate passengers' personal belongings. These restrictions are primarily aimed at curbing the activities of internet shops, which are closely monitored by customs officials. Indonesia, being a major textile producer with many clothing manufacturing facilities in Java, supports these industries by encouraging residents to buy local products.
4. Large Amounts of Cash:
The established limit for importing and exporting cash is 100,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah (approximately 7,000 USD) or the equivalent in another foreign currency. If you have this amount or exceed it, you are required to fill out a customs declaration and pass through the red channel. Planning to bring more than 100 million Rupiah in cash? You must obtain prior permission from the Bank of Indonesia (BI), and all banknotes will undergo authenticity checks.
5. Luxury Items (Bags, Jewelry):
Luxury items may be classified by customs officials as items for sale, so they should be limited in quantity and intended for personal use only.

Limits on Import Duties for Personal Items

If the value of a passenger's personal items exceeds 500 USD, customs duties and taxes may be imposed. The import duty rate is 10%, and a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 11% may also apply, along with income tax. To prove the value of an item, passengers should keep receipts for any new items they bring to Indonesia.

Bringing Pets to Indonesia

One common concern for people planning to move to Indonesia is how to bring their pets with them. While the process may seem complicated, expensive, and potentially risky for the animals, specialized agencies and logistics companies can handle the import and export of pets.
Requirements for Cats and Dogs
For cats or dogs (check specific requirements for other animals), the following requirements must be met:
Age: Your pet must be at least 4 months old.
Rabies Vaccination: Administered no later than 30 days and no earlier than 12 months before the trip.
Health Certificates:
  • A health certificate issued by a state veterinarian (with a fully filled-out passport including all vaccinations). 
  • An additional health certificate from a veterinarian.
Rabies Antibodies Test: Additional blood tests for rabies antibodies.
Import Permission: Obtain permission for import issued by the Directorate General of Livestock Services of Indonesia.
Upon arrival in Indonesia, all animals must spend 14 days in quarantine in Jakarta. Some carriers may offer shorter quarantine periods. After this period, you can retrieve your pet or arrange for it to be delivered to you. Carriers take special care of the pets, sending photos to their owners every few hours.
Reducing Transportation Stress
To minimize the risk and stress associated with long flights and separation from owners, consider finding out if it would be possible to visit your pet in Jakarta.
Important Contacts and Additional Information
Two days before the arrival of the animal, contact the animal quarantine department at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. For more information, reach out to the Directorate General of Livestock Services and the Animal Health Department.
By following these guidelines and ensuring all requirements are met, you can safely bring your beloved pets to Indonesia.

Importing Food Items to Indonesia

When bringing food items to Indonesia, it is essential to follow specific regulations and obtain the necessary permissions.
Animal, Plant, and Fish Products
These products require permission from the Agricultural Quarantine Agency (Badan Karantina Pertanian).
Food Products, Beverages, and Medicines
These and other related items must obtain approval from the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM).
By securing the appropriate permissions and approvals from these agencies, you can ensure that your food items comply with Indonesian regulations.

Shipping Parcels to Indonesia

When shipping parcels to Indonesia, it is crucial to understand and comply with the customs regulations to avoid complications. Here are the key points and some tips to help you manage the process.
Customs Inspection
All shipments go through customs in Jakarta, where they are inspected, and most are opened.
All the restrictions mentioned for importing items apply, particularly for used personal items like clothing.
Used Personal Items
Expats often send their own belongings, but second-hand items are either prohibited or subject to additional taxes.
If you send parcels by post, you might be asked to pay a tax at the post office, which could be several times the value of the items.
Remember that parcels may be detained at customs, opened, and possibly damaged.
Parcel Specifications
Weight Limit: The maximum weight for a parcel is 30 kg.
Declared Value:
  • Parcels with a declared value below three US dollars are exempt from import duty. 
  • The final calculation, including customs duty, VAT, and income tax, depends on the declared value and a separate calculation by customs agencies.
Tips to Minimize Costs and Issues
1. Use an Indonesian Recipient: If the recipient is an Indonesian, the tax amount will be much lower. Try to arrange assistance from acquaintances.
2. Pack Smartly:
  • Pack clothing and other items in separate bags. 
  • Seal them and include tags and receipts. 
  • For brand-name products, customs officials may check their actual price online, so include relevant documentation.
3. Declare Wisely:
  • It's not mandatory to specify the exact quantity in the postal description. 
  • Declare a minimal price.
By following these tips and understanding the customs process, you can reduce the risk of issues and additional costs when shipping parcels to Indonesia.

Exporting Items from Indonesia

When exporting items from Indonesia, it is essential to understand the list of prohibited and allowed items, as well as any special documentation that may be required. Here's a summary to guide you:
Prohibited Items
Animals and Plants: Includes their by-products. Specific rules apply for exporting domestic pets.
Animal Products: Products made from animals or their by-products.
Plant Products: Products made from plants.
Python Skins: Export is prohibited.
Durian Fruit: Not allowed for export.
Items Requiring Special Documentation or Consideration
Marine Biota: Requires veterinary certificates from the seller and confirmation of a quarantine base registered with local agricultural quarantine authorities in the destination country.
Wood Carvings and Cultural Items: Certain items may be prohibited for export, so check each item separately and obtain necessary export documents.
Tips for Exporting
1. Use Cargo Companies: For assistance with exports, consider using cargo companies. We recommend Cargo Indonesia Group.
2. Stay Updated: Regulations can change, so always check with relevant authorities or consult the cargo company for the most current information and guidance on exporting specific items.
By adhering to these guidelines and ensuring all required documentation is in place, you can facilitate the smooth export of items from Indonesia.

Indonesia Customs Website

Indonesian Customs Regulations and Resources

The legal framework for customs regulation in Indonesia is outlined by several key documents:
Minister of Finance Decree 188/PMK.04/2010: This decree governs the import of goods carried by passengers, vehicle crews, individuals crossing borders, and cargo.
Government Regulation No. 29 of 2021 (GR 29/2021): This regulation contains updated provisions related to customs and imports.
Rules of the Ministry of Trade No. 18 (MoT Reg 18/2021): These rules provide a list of prohibited imported goods. More details can be found on the official website of the Ministry of Trade of Indonesia.
Official Website of the Indonesian Tax Service: The official website of the tax service provides information related to customs and import duties.
For more specific information, you can contact the Indonesian Embassy or Consulate, seek advice from acquaintances in Indonesia, get in touch with customs authorities, or reach out to national agencies responsible for regulating medicines and food products like the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and other relevant authorities.
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