A Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining a Work KITAS in Indonesia

KITAS, a permit issued to foreigners in Indonesia, serves various purposes such as work, investment, retirement, education, research, religious activities, or repatriation. It is a temporary residence permit,  usually valid for six months to one year. KITAS holders can reside in Indonesia for up to five years, with extensions available every twelve months.This temporary residence permit allows foreigners to stay in the country legally for various purposes such as employment, investment, study, or accompanying a spouse.
To apply for a KITAS in Indonesia, you need a sponsor to support your application. The sponsor could be your employer if you're applying for a work KITAS, your university if you're applying for a student KITAS, or your Indonesian spouse if you're applying for a family KITAS.
The processing time for a KITAS application in Indonesia can vary depending on the type of KITAS and the immigration office where you apply. It can take from a few weeks to several months for the application to be processed and approved.
You can work in Indonesia with a KITAS, provided you have the appropriate type that permits employment. Foreigners who wish to work in Indonesia must secure a working KITAS (KITAS Kerja).
In this article, we will provide a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to acquiring a work KITAS in Indonesia.

The Formal Permit (ITAS)

KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas) is the physical document or card that serves as proof of a limited stay permit known as ITAS (Izin Tinggal Terbatas).
Applications for ITAS can be completed either in-person or online through the E-ITAS system. E-ITAS allows applicants to print their permit using a regular printer. However, it's important to note that E-ITAS still needs to be referenced in the passport of the ITAS holder by immigration services.

Work KITAS: Sponsorship and Responsibilities

A work KITAS is sponsored by an Indonesian company or organization registered in Indonesia, which may be an Indonesian or foreign entity, a representative office, or a government or private institution.
Sponsorship from a company is a prerequisite for foreigners seeking to work in Indonesia. This sponsorship must be secured BEFORE the issuance of the visa and work permit. In other words, foreigners aiming to work in Indonesia cannot obtain a work permit without being employed first.
The sponsoring company is responsible for offering the position to the applicant and bears legal responsibility for visa applicants, including the payment of fees and fines if necessary.
Large companies have no limitations on the number of expatriates they can employ as long as they maintain a ratio of "1 expatriate to 1 local expert as partner." Medium-sized companies are typically limited to hiring a maximum of two expatriates, while small Indonesian companies registered as CVs are not permitted to employ expatriates.

Work KITAS vs. Work Permit (IMTA)

While it's correct to refer to this type of KITAS as a "work KITAS," labeling it simply as a "work visa" is inaccurate. Before obtaining a work KITAS, it's necessary to secure a work permit known as IMTA (Ijin Mempekerjakan Tenaga Kerja Asing), confirming the applicant's position and place of work within the sponsoring company in Indonesia. The duration of the KITAS is determined by your job specification.

Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining a Work KITAS and IMTA in Indonesia

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Step 1: RPTKA (Foreign Worker Employment Plan)
If a company intends to employ a foreigner, it must submit a placement plan for foreign workers, known as RPTKA (Rencana Penempatan Tenaga Kerja Asing). If the employer is a local company, this plan must be submitted to the Ministry of Manpower and Migration (Kemenakertrans). If the company is a foreign investment company, the plan must be submitted to BKPM (Investment Coordinating Board).
The placement plan outlines the company's annual requirements for foreign labor. The Indonesian government assesses whether foreign expertise is essential for the nation's development and decides on the issuance of work permits accordingly.
Typical documents required to obtain RPTKA for expat positions include:
1. A letter detailing the reasons for hiring the expat and the specific positions they will hold.
2. An RPTKA application form.
3. The company's certificate of establishment.
4. Ministerial approval and correction documents.
5. Proof of paid-up capital of at least 1,000,000,000 rupiahs.
6. Standard company documents such as LOD, NPWP, TDP, and SIUP (or IUT for PT PMA).
7. The company's organizational structure.
8. A recommendation letter from a technical ministry (such as education, transportation, oil and gas, or mining) - not required for trading or consulting companies.
9. A training and professional development plan for the Indonesian partner.
10. The Wajib Lapor Ketenagakerjaan (WLK), an annual report indicating the number of expats and local employees at the hiring organization.
The Department of Employment's office on Jl. Gatot Subroto in Jakarta handles all online applications, including RPTK & IMTA work permits. After submitting an online application on the tka-online website, the applying company receives an online queue number (barcode). Each application requires the company's username for system login. Additionally, submission of the paper application is necessary at a later date determined by the Department of Employment.
RPTKA processing typically takes 7-10 working days. However, an expedited processing option of 4 working days is available after an approved "Skype Expose" meeting between a representative of the hiring company and a representative of the Ministry of Manpower.
For foreign investment companies (known as PMA) with only a Principal Permit and no permanent IUT license for positions other than director or commissioner, authorization period is less than 6 months (according to Permenakertrans No. 12, 2013, Article 12). Work permits for top managerial positions at PMA are typically issued for three years and can be renewed before expiration. It's worth noting that foreigners can hold director positions only at foreign investment companies.
Other positions are typically valid for one year and can be renewed annually, often up to a predetermined number of years.
In general, RPTKAs have a one-year validity period. Upon approval, a company is authorized a specific number of foreign positions. If the company intends to hire additional foreign employees, it must submit another application with the revised RPTKA and await approval. This process typically takes several months.
Step 2: Confirmation Letter of Work Permit Validity
After submitting the RPTKA, the prospective foreign employee must apply to the Ministry of Manpower to confirm the validity of the work permit and request a payment code.
The Ministry of Manpower typically issues the confirmation letter within 3-7 working days from the date of the request submission.
Step 3: Skills Development Fund Tax (DPKK - Dana Pengembangan Keahlian dan Ketrampilan)
Upon receiving the confirmation letter from the Ministry of Manpower, the DPKK tax (Dana Pengembangan Keahlian dan Ketrampilan) must be paid within 3 days. This tax, which covers the training expenses of Indonesian citizens, is managed directly by the Ministry of Manpower.
Companies hiring foreign nationals are required to pay USD 1,200 annually for each expatriate employee. This tax is payable at BNI bank. Confirmation of payment for the one-year period is a prerequisite for securing a work permit.
For roles other than directorial positions, the expertise of foreigners must undergo validation. To address the country's unemployment concerns, the Indonesian government restricts foreign employment to roles deemed vital for national development. Therefore, it's essential to demonstrate that the foreigner possesses skills that are distinct and not readily available among Indonesian citizens.
Step 4: IMTA (Izin Mempekerjakan Tenaga Kerja Asing - Work Permit for Foreigners)
After the RPTKA is granted, the hiring company must apply for an IMTA, the legal permit required for foreigners to work in Indonesia. Without an IMTA, expatriates cannot work legally in the country.
To obtain an IMTA, the employer must submit the following documents:
1. Proof of education matching the position the foreigner will occupy.
2. Certificate of competence or at least five years of relevant work experience.
3. A statement from the foreigner agreeing to transfer their knowledge to an Indonesian colleague.
4. A copy of the employment contract of the Indonesian colleague.
5. Taxpayer identification number (Nomor Pokok Wajib Pajak, NPWP) if the foreigner will be working for more than six months.
6. Insurance policy for the foreign worker issued by an Indonesian-registered insurance company.
7. Social security policy if the foreigner will be working for more than six months.
8. Receipt of DKP-TKA payment (USD 1200 per year).
9. Approval of RPTKA.
10. Copy of the foreigner's passport, showing they are over 25 and under 55 (for the oil and gas industry) or 60 (for teachers).
11. Two color photographs measuring 4×6 cm.
12. Recommendation letter from the technical ministry (if applicable).
Note: Directors and commissioners do not need to fulfill the first four requirements listed above.
Deportation of foreigners for abuse of work permits is not uncommon.
A common crime is when a person works in a position that is different from the one specified in the work permit. If the work permit states that you are a production director, but your business card says you are a managing director, this is grounds for deportation due to abuse of the work permit.
Another problem arises when the declared work address on IMTA differs from the actual place of work. If it does not match, this can lead to the cancellation of the IMTA and put the employee at risk of deportation. Be careful about what you put on your business card - make sure that your position is in line with your work permit.
One of the common misconceptions is that the IMTA belongs to the expatriate employee; in fact, they are issued to the company, not the foreign worker. If a foreign worker loses their job, they are not allowed to work in any other company without obtaining a new IMTA, even if the previous IMTA is still valid.
Step 5: eVisa
Since October 2020, the Indonesian government allows visa applicants to apply for most types of visas online at visa-online.imigrasi.go.id.
There is a limit on the number of applications that can be submitted each day. If the quota is reached, you will need to apply the following day.
The approximate processing time for online visa applications is 5-7 days.
Once your application is approved, the Directorate General of Immigration will email the eVisa directly to either the applicant or their sponsor. 
The eVisa, also known as VITAS (Visa Izin Tinggal Terbatas), is issued before ITAS (or KITAS) to facilitate entry into Indonesia. VITAS is a single-entry visa. Upon arrival, the immigration office will stamp the VITAS in your passport. Within 30 days of arrival, it's necessary to request a conversion of the VITAS into an actual temporary stay permit (ITAS or KITAS) at your nearest immigration office.
Step 6: KITAS and MERP
VITAS holders are required to convert their VITAS visa into KITAS and acquire a Multiple Entry and Exit Permit (MERP) within 30 days of their arrival in Indonesia. This conversion process must be carried out at the nearest immigration office. It involves submitting an application form along with various documents, in addition to providing biometric data.
The conversion process typically takes 8 working days to complete. Once the KITAS is approved, it will be available as an online record along with the MERP. The MERP holds the same validity period as the KITAS. With both the KITAS and MERP, individuals can enter and exit Indonesia an unlimited number of times.
Step 7: Reporting to the Police (Surat Tanda Melapor, STM)
Visit Your Local Police Station to obtain Surat Tanda Melapor. The certificate takes about 10 minutes to prepare and contains basic information about you (such as your identity, place of origin, date of arrival in the country, and your address in Bali). Its purpose is to confirm that you provided this information to the police. Essentially, it's a certificate issued by the police confirming your visit to the police station.
What to Bring:
  • Your passport
  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Your KITAS
  • Printout of KITAS (the A4 one)
  • Rental agreement or letter from the landlord
  • A fee of 30,000 IDR per applicant
Where to Go: Search on Google Maps for the nearest Polsek or Polres.
What to Do: Inform a police officer at the reception that you're there for the Surat Tanda Melapor. They will direct you to a counter where you need to submit all the prepared documents and pay a fee of 30,000 IDR for each certificate.
Step 8: Certificate of residence/domicile (Surat Keterangan Tempat Tinggal, SKTT)
Upon arriving in Indonesia, foreign workers and their accompanying family members must promptly report to the Civil Registry Office (Pencatatan Sipil) within 7 days to notify their arrival ("lapor diri") and complete essential paperwork. Failing to do so within this timeframe can lead to a status violation, potentially requiring court appearances and incurring substantial fines.
A step-by-step guide on how to obtain your SKTT can be found here.

Visas for the dependent family members of foreign workers

Dependent family members, including spouses and children, of foreign workers are required to wait for the issuance of a visa with index 312 for the working spouse before the company can apply for a visa for accompanying family members, indexed as 317. To apply for these visas, the following documents of the working family member are necessary:
1. eVisa
2. E-ITAS & MERP (multiple-entry and exit permit)
3. Reporting document (Surat Tanda Melapor, STM)
4. Domicile certificate (Surat Keterangan Tempat Tinggal, SKTT)

Work Permit Violations: Risks and Consequences

Deportation of foreigners due to work permit misuse is a frequent occurrence.
One common violation involves working in a role that differs from what's stated in the permit. For example, if the permit labels you as a production director but your business card identifies you as a managing director, deportation may ensue.
Another issue arises if the work address declared on the IMTA doesn't match the actual workplace. Any disparities could result in IMTA cancellation and the risk of deportation.
There's a common misconception that IMTAs belong to expatriate employees; however, they're issued to the company, not the worker. If a foreign employee loses their job, they can't work for another company without a new IMTA, even if the previous one is still valid.

Working in Indonesia without a work permit (IMTA)

Recently enacted immigration laws impose severe penalties on foreign citizens found working without the appropriate visa and work permit. If you're offered a job in Indonesia, ensure that the employer provides both a work permit and a work visa. Failure to do so could result in sanctions, including imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of up to 500 million IDR.


KITAS and KITAP are two types of stay permits in Indonesia. KITAS, or Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas, is a temporary stay permit issued for a limited period and requires periodic renewal. On the other hand, KITAP, or Kartu Izin Tinggal Tetap, is a permanent stay permit issued for an indefinite period and does not need renewal.
KITAP holders enjoy several benefits and privileges compared to KITAS holders. For instance, KITAP holders have the right to own property and work without the need for a separate work permit, granting them greater flexibility and stability in Indonesia.

Legislative framework

PerMen No. 10, 2018, Article 5:
A foreign worker must: a. have a diploma related to the required qualification for the job position;
b. have a competence certificate or have at least 5 years of work experience related to the required qualification for the job position;
c. transfer their knowledge to an assigned Indonesian worker;
d. have an Indonesian tax registration number if working for more than 6 months; e. have a work visa/e-ITAS issued by the Indonesian Immigration Department.
UU No. 6, 2011, Article 122: Any foreigner who intentionally abuses or engages in activities that do not correspond to the intention and purpose of their visa/stay permit/e-ITAS/KITAS is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of no more than 500,000,000 rupiahs.
UU No. 6, 2011, Article 123: Any person who intentionally provides false or falsified data or false statements with the intention of obtaining a visa or stay permit/e-ITAS for themselves or others is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of no more than 500,000,000 rupiahs. Any foreigner who intentionally uses a visa or stay permit/e-ITAS, as mentioned in point a, to enter and/or stay in Indonesia is also subject to the same penalty.
UU No. 13, 2003 Chapter VIII - Employment of Foreign Workers, Article 42: (1) Every employer who hires a foreign worker must obtain written permission from the minister (work permit, accompanied by a work visa/KITAS/e-ITAS). (2) Employers who are individuals are prohibited from hiring foreign workers.
UU No. 13, 2003, Article 185: (1) Any person who violates the provisions set out in Articles 42(1) and (2), 68, 69(2), 80, 82, 90(1), 139, 143, 160(4), and 160(7) shall be subject to criminal punishment in the form of imprisonment for no less than 1 (one) year and no more than 4 (four) years and/or a fine of no less than 100,000,000 rupiahs and no more than 400,000,000 rupiahs.
For the issuance and extension of Indonesian visas, we recommend Legal Indonesia for its optimal combination of affordability and efficiency.
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