How to Apply Expatriate Work Permit in Indonesia

Indonesia has become one of the business targets for foreign investors. Many thanks to supporting laws (e.g., BKPM Regulation Number 13 / 2017), foreign investors can open their businesses in Indonesia. Of course, to make everything work out, it is possible for them to appoint expatriate in their company.  Therefore, it is best for foreign investors to know how to apply expatriate work permit in Indonesia.

Before knowing how to apply expatriate work permit in Indonesia, there are some basic facts that every foreign investors or it’s expatriate must be aware of.

First things first, let’s focus on expatriate work permit regulation applied in Indonesia.



I. Business Visa vs Work Permit


Just like other countries, Indonesia also has certain rules for expatriates who wish to work here. This country also has regulations for foreign business people who wish to open their companies here or work with the locals.

How does a foreigner apply for a work permit for Indonesia? The first thing to consider is your purpose of visit. Indonesia has many visas regarding that. If the business is the answer, then you may apply for a Business Visa.

However, let’s not mix that up with working permit or also known as IMTA (Izin Mempekerjakan Tenaga Asing or Permission to Hire Foreign Workers). If you apply for a Business Visa, that goes only for a short-term visit and strictly not allowed to conduct work or any business activity that will arise direct financial benefit e.q. salaries, honorarium. For example, you would like to attend a short course, preliminary business negotiation, training, or seminar in Indonesia.

With IMTA or Work Permit for Indonesia, a foreign worker can stay long term in this country as an expatriate. The job the foreign worker has involves wages and salaries compensation.

This is only the first basic facts regarding how to apply expatriate work permit in Indonesia. After knowing the difference with the already known Working Visa or Business Visa, it is time for a guide to applying for expatriate work permit in Indonesia.



II. Guide to Apply Expatriate Work Permit in Indonesia


There are various guides regarding how to apply expatriate work permit in Indonesia. You have to find the legit ones, especially if you want to be safe than sorry. With the official guides, you will know what to do and avoid the hassles shortly.

How does a foreign worker apply for an expatriate work permit in Indonesia? In this country, foreign workers are called TKA or Tenaga Kerja Asing. Their employment status is under PKWT (Perjanjian Kerja Waktu Tertentu or The Working System of Specific Time Working Agreements.)

Regarding Article 36, Government Regulation No.35 / 2015, here are the documents that you need to apply for an IMTA:

  1. Your educational background.

Make sure that your educational background is related to the field of work you are applying to in Indonesia. For example: do not apply to work in IT department if your degree is in English major or sociology.


  1. Your working experiences.

This comes in the form of a certificate of competence, at least 5 (five) years of working experience in the field that you are applying for. In some cases, a letter of reference is needed (from your previous employer.)


  1. Your proof of health or/and life insurance.

This is important for the time you will be staying while working in Indonesia.

Although these documents do not specify any age limit, let’s stick to the “five years of working experience” bit. Even if you are still as young as 22, what really counts is the five years of working experience, whether it is freelance, part-time, or even fulltime.


For people working in art department or artists, the requirements for foreign workers may be different. There are some fields which are part of the negative list, though, which means no foreign workers can apply for a work permit in Indonesia.

However, changes may have been made in the negative list of foreign investment in Indonesia since the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. Keep yourself updated.


Now, here are the steps to obtaining your work permit in Indonesia:

  1. Submit your RPTKA (Rencana Penggunaan Tenaga Kerja Asing or Foreign Manpower Employment Plan) of your company first. The Ministry of Manpower must authorize this. RPTKA serves as the basis of IMTA issuance. Without an RPTKA, then there will be no IMTA.
  2. After receiving RPTKA, your company will apply for IMTA. Generally, IMTA is valid for one year. Depending on the RPTKA’s period validity, IMTA can be renewed for another year.
  3. After all, documents above are approved, and at hand, then it is time to apply for a VITAS (Visa Izin Tinggal Sementara or Limited Stay Visa). This is also called Telex Visa. VITAS can be issued and granted once there is already an approval from the Indonesian immigration authorities.VITAS will be issued at the Indonesian Embassy from the foreigner’s home country or it also can be issued to another Indonesian Embassy as designated by the applicant. From there, you can get a VITAS stamp. This means, as an expatriate worker, you are allowed to enter Indonesia to work.
  4. Last but not least, once all documents above are approved, then you will enter Indonesian territory using your working visa mentioned above, within maximum 30 (thirty) days after your arrival, you must attend Immigration Office to convert your VITAS to KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Sementara or a Limited Stay Permit Card).


If you are an employer, your RPTKA can be valid for five years maximum. However, this also depends on the condition of the domestic labor market. If there are certain situations or conditions, your RPTKA may not be valid for more than a year, which is the same as the RPTKA for regular employees.

The length of time for every document needed when it comes to issuance:

  1. RPTKA.
    RPTKA requires eight (8) working days maximum to be issued.
  2. IMTA
    IMTA requires ten (10) working days maximum to be issued.
  1. VITAS or Telex Visa.
    VITAS or Telex Visa requires five (5) working days maximum to be issued.
  2. KITAS
    KITAS requires five (5) working days maximum to be issued.




III. Indonesia Expatriate Work Permit in Oil and Gas Sector


Some things have changed since the existence of BKPM Regulation Number 13 / 2017. One of the examples is from the oil and gas sector.

Since February 8, 2018, Regulation Number 6 / 2018 was issued, regarding the revocation of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (Ignatius Jonan) against the obligation for companies to obtain a MIGAS recommendation for their TKAs. This means, this regulation has replaced the previous one, which was Regulation ESDM Number 31 / 2013.

Of course, this has come out with these implications:

  1. A MIGAS recommendation is no longer needed by any Oil and Gas Companies intending to hire foreign workers, regarding for the RPTKA (Rencana Penggunaan Tenaga Kerja Asing or Foreign Manpower Employment Plan).
  2. Oil and Gas Companies can apply for an IMTA and RPTKA straight at the Ministry of Manpower of The Republic of Indonesia, according to the procedures required.
  3. For sub-contractor companies (either for Oil and Gas or non-Oil and Gas) hired by Oil and Gas Companies, they can work in this field without approval or recommendation from Dirjen MIGAS. This goes for new work permits and the renewals too.
  4. The General Director of Oil and Gas no longer has the authority in supervising foreign workers in companies related to Oil and Gas.


To apply for a long-term work permit, here are the requirements:

  1. A minimum of five years of working experience.
  2. At least a Bachelor Degree.
  3. Indonesian Labour Companion or TKIP (Tenaga Kerja Indonesia Pendamping). This is for the transfer of knowledge and technology (limited only for Non-Director and Board of Commissioner Job’s Position) .
  4. A project contract or cooperation agreement with an Oil and Gas Company.

Now you know more about how to apply for expatriate work permit in Indonesia. Before you begin, there are five things you need to know before you work in Indonesia.




IV. Five (5) Things You Need To Know Before Work in Indonesia


Before you ever consider working in Indonesia (especially Jakarta) at all, here are five (5) things you need to know:

  1. The rules and regulations.

These are the first things you need to be aware of. The rules and regulations may change according to the country’s political stability and other issues related to safety. Just like with other countries, keep yourself updated with the latest news.

For example: if there is an unstable political situation, your RPTKA may not be granted for more than one year, even if you are a manager or director. Then again, this also depends on the policy of your home country at the moment.

  1. Knowing the differences between acronyms related to your work permits in Indonesia.

It is common for expat newbies to get confused between these existing acronyms, like KITAS, IMTA, and even Working or Business Visa. If KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas or Limited Stay Permit) is for expats to stay in Indonesia, then IMTA is for their long-term work permit here.

Business Visa is strictly only for a short-term without any working intention-related visit. For example short course, seminar or preliminary business possibility meeting.

  1. Following the requirements thoroughly.

Since the laws regarding expatriate work permits here have become friendlier, there is no excuse for not following the requirements needed thoroughly.

  1. Watching out for the validity of the work permit.

Your long-term work permit is also known as a normal work permit. It is valid for seven to 12 months. Your RPTKA can be granted more than one year if you are an expat at higher management level. For example managers, directors, or commissioners.

  1. No work permits at all? Do not even think about trying.

Intentionally or else, having no official work permits in Indonesia can have dire consequences. You will have to pay a fine that costs you IDR 500 million. You will also have to face five years in prison.

Then again, you may go back to number one for emphasis: always check for the latest news regarding rules and regulations for expatriates to work in Indonesia.




V. Indonesia Work Permit Costs


Now here comes the critical part when discussing how to apply expatriate work permit in Indonesia: the costs. How much is each?

The annual cost to apply for a KITAS is around USD 800 to 1000 on average (agent’s fee), depending on the agency that you hire. Of course, your company will also have to pay an additional cost of Monthly USD 100 to Ministry of Manpower as an official company retribution.




VI. The Complete Documents for Expatriate Work Permit in Indonesia


For Your RPTKA:

  1. RPTKA application form;
  2. A letter of details regarding reasons for hiring a foreign national and their role in the company;
  3. The company’s act’s copy;
  4. The standard company documents; tax number (NPWP), and business license letter (SIUP);
  5. A Wajib Lapor copy – an annual report to the labor department stating the number of expats and local workers employed in the company;
  6. Company organization structure;
  7. An Indonesian work colleague’s copy of the KTP (Indonesian ID card).


For Your IMTA:

  • The RPTKA approval;
  • A recommendation letter from a technical ministry, if applicable;
  • The expat’s passport’s copy;
  • Proof of education background, relevant to the field of work applied for;
  • A certificate of competence or work experience of at least five years in a position relevant to the applied position;
  • A statement from the expat agreeing to transfer his/her knowledge to the Indonesian counterpart (limited only for Non-Director or Board of Commissioner Job’s Position);
  • The employment agreement’s copy of the Indonesian colleague;
  • An NPWP, if the expat’s work timeline is longer than six months;
  • An insurance policy issued by an Indonesian insurance company or one incorporated in Indonesia;
  • A National Social Security policy, if the work takes longer than six months;
  • Receipt of the DKP-TKA payment (US$1,200 a year);
  • Two colored photos.


For Your KITAS:

1.If you are an employer:

– RPTKA and IMTA (copy);

– A local sponsor’s KTP or official ID (if domicile in Bali);

– A local employee’s KTP or official ID, working for the same company;

– An NPWP;

– SIUP (Business license);

– SPPMA from BKPM;

– TDP, Company’s Registration Letter

Wajib Lapor;

– SKDP (company’s letter of domicile);

– Legalization of deed establishment by Department of Justice;



  1. If you are a foreign applicant:
  • Copy of the passport with validity of at least 18 months – in color;
  • Copy of curriculum vitae. The CV has to be stamped by the company and signed by the director on a stamp;
  • Color scan of university certificate or highest education degree, stamped by the company and signed by the director on a stamp;
  • Work certificate with minimum 5 years of experience;
  • Health insurance;
  • Colored photos.



VII. The Conclusion

This may look quite an eyeful for you who would like to know how to apply expatriate work permit in Indonesia. However, it is best that you go over everything in complete details. One missed document and your work permit in Indonesia as a foreign worker will be rejected. Then, you will have to go over everything from the very beginning, which will be lengthy.

Opening a foreign business in Indonesia is still an attraction to many expatriate company owners. As long as you still know how this works and follows all the rules and regulations, then you are good to go.

Related article: Applying For Working Permit Only With The Passport; Is It Possible?

How Can Elson Help You?
ELSON Indonesia is a company that focus on providing comprehensive legal solution for expatriates, foreigner, and mixed marriage couple in Indonesia.

Contact us:
Phone: +62822 1000 9872
Office: +6221 8067 4920



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