Can My Spouse Apply for Work Permit in Indonesia?

Have a foreign spouse who wants to apply for Indonesian work permit? Read this first.


The common question for Indonesians who marry a foreigner and decides to live in this country is: can my spouse apply for work permit in Indonesia? The answer is yes, but there are multiple steps your spouse must take before being able to work in Indonesia. It applies to a foreigner who marries an Indonesian and is employed in the country or a foreigner who wants to start a business.



There are several important documents regarding staying and working permits in Indonesia. They include limited stay permit, limited stay visa, permanent stay permit, and expatriate placement plan. Each of them has unique requirements that must be fulfilled, and the process may take quite a long time. Planning to marry a foreigner and stay in this country? Read this guide to help your spouse getting a work permit.




Foreigners Who Can Apply for Visa (and Work Permit)

Not all foreigners can apply for work permit in Indonesia. Even if they can, they need to acquire a limited stay visa first. The government currently grants a visa for seven types of foreigners:

  • Foreign investors

Foreign investors who conduct business with state-owned or private companies in Indonesia can get limited stay visa. The details are determined based on the work period requirements.



  • Foreign workers

Indonesian government grants two kinds of visa for foreign workers. The first one is for those who are legally invited or employed to work in Indonesia. The second one is specifically granted if the foreign workers have religious duties.



  • Foreign workers in training

Foreign workers who must undergo training in Indonesia can acquire limited stay visa, although the period may be shorter than those who work with companies/have businesses in the country.



  • Foreign researchers

Foreign researchers who conduct research projects in Indonesia can acquire limited stay visa. The researchers may be sponsored by certain institutions or corporations in Indonesia that have relations with the research projects.



  • Returning former Indonesian citizens

If for some reasons, a former Indonesian citizen wishes to come back to Indonesia, he or she can acquire limited stay visa while dealing with the formalities. This is important to find work at the time.



  • Minors of parents with a limited stay permit

If the parents have minors who live abroad, and these minors want to stay with them in Indonesia, they can get a visa as long as the foreign parents already have limited stay permit in Indonesia.



  • Foreign spouses of Indonesian citizens

A foreign spouse of Indonesian citizen who wants to live in Indonesia can get a visa and acquire works. There are additional steps and period to get more permanent permits.


If you are an Indonesian who has a foreign spouse, it is possible for your spouse to apply for a limited stay visa. This is useful to apply for work permit and even permanent stay permit later.




Understanding the Terms

Before going into the process to get a work permit, make sure your foreign spouse understands the important terms that will frequently be encountered. They are:


RPTKA (Rencana Penempatan Tenaga Kerja Asing) is a term for foreign worker/expatriate placement plan. This is a document released by the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration for all foreign workers and expatriates that are placed in the country.



  • CNI

CNI is an English term for Certificate of No Impediment (to marriage). This form is issued abroad if you and your spouse were married in the different country. This document needs to be translated and legalized in Indonesia.



  • Surat Tanda Bukti Lapor Perkawinan

This document is the Indonesian version of marriage proof, which is released by the Indonesian Department of Population and Civil Registration. If you and your spouse got married abroad, you must report to this office to get the document.




VITAS (visa izin tinggal sementara) is a term for limited stay visa in Indonesia. This document is automatically invalid if the holder exits Indonesia before getting KITAS.



  • ITAS and KITAS

ITAS (Izin Tinggal Sementara) is a term for limited stay permit. KITAS is a term that refers to the physical document.



  • MERP

MERP is a term for Multiple Exit and Re-entry Permit, which is given to foreigners who have acquired KITAS. This document has a limited period, but it is useful if your foreigner spouse still needs to travel between countries during the process to acquire a work permit.




SKSKPS (Surat Keterangan Susunan Keluarga Penduduk Sementara) is a term family formation certificate of temporary residents. This can be obtained after your spouse gets KITAS and MERP.



  • STM

STM (Surat Tanda Melapor) is a term for police report certificate. Your spouse gets this when he or she makes a report to local police regarding of residence status.



  • ITAP and KITAP

ITAP (Izin Tinggal Tetap) is a term for permanent stay permit. Your foreign spouse can convert his or her ITAS into ITAP after two years of marriage. This makes it easier if your spouse plans to stay and work permanently in Indonesia. KITAP refers to the physical document.



  • IMTA

IMTA (Izin Menggunakan Tenaga Asing) is a proof that a foreigner is a worker or employee in an Indonesia-based company. It is valid for a year and can be extended.


Aside from these important terms related to stay and work permit, you and your spouse may already be familiar with Indonesian and foreign terms of other documents. Always refer to the accurate translations of formal documents and use professional translator service.




Requirements and Application Steps for VITAS

After dealing with marriage formalities, the first step for your foreign spouse to do is applying for VITAS. You and your spouse must prepare three copies for each of these documents:

  • Bank statement from Indonesian spouse

Indonesian spouse needs to prepare bank statements that show the minimum balance of 20 million Rupiahs (the more, the better). These documents prove that the couple can live for a while until the foreign spouse gets the necessary documents to work.



  • Marriage certificates

You must provide copies of Akta Perkawinan (Marriage Certificate) and Buku Nikah (Marriage Book, which is separated between husband and wife). If you marry in another country, provide the copies of CNI and Indonesian version of marriage proof. Any marriage conducted in other country is considered legal by the Indonesian government, as long as it is in-line with the country’s marriage regulation.



  • Proof of marriage registration

The foreign spouse needs to prove that his or her marriage is registered in the respective home country. You and your spouse can apply for a proof letter from the spouse’s embassy in Indonesia, complete with official signature and stamp. For example, if your spouse is Australian, visit the Australian Embassy in Indonesia to get this letter.



  • ID card and family card

The Indonesian spouse must provide copies of Kartu Tanda Penduduk (ID card) and Kartu Keluarga (family card). These identities must be updated with “Menikah” (married) in the status part.



  • Foreign spouse’s passport

Your foreign spouse must provide complete copies of all passport pages, except the ones that are empty. The passport must be valid.



  • Passport photos

Provide passport photos with a red background with 2×3, 3×4, and 4×6 cm sizes. Each size must consist of three copies. Your spouse should have the original file or film for necessary photo reproductions. The photos must be taken at least six months to one year before.


Once you and your spouse obtain all the documents, your spouse can apply for VITAS at the Indonesian Immigration Office in Jakarta. The immigration office usually needs five to seven work days to process the application. If you cannot visit Jakarta or conduct direct application for some reasons, you can contact the reliable consulting agency for assistance.





How to Obtain KITAS

After obtaining VITAS, your foreign spouse has seven days to obtain KITAS. If the person does not convert the VITAS after the seven-day limit is passed, the existing VITAS cannot be used to obtain KITAS. The VITAS will also be invalid automatically if the owner leaves Indonesia. Therefore, make sure you and your spouse can stay in Indonesia until the KITAS is obtained.



To obtain KITAS, your spouse must get the application form. This can be done through a reliable consulting agency. Your spouse must also be present at the immigration office for biometric examination. It usually takes around eight work days for processing the KITAS application, and the result comes in electronic data.



Once your spouse gets the KITAS, it can be used to get a work permit through his or her employer in Indonesia. Unlike VITAS, KITAS is valid for one year, but renewal process must be done at least 30 days before expiry date. KITAS also comes with MERP, so your spouse can exit and enter Indonesia multiple times if necessary.




Reporting after KITAS

Once your spouse acquires KITAS, both of you must report to the local civil administration office. This must be done in 14 days or less after acquiring KITAS. This registration will result in the issuance of SKSKPS, or family formation certificate of temporary residents.



This certificate is important because your spouse still does not get the status as temporary residents at this point. However, this document proves that he or she is a legal partner in a matrimonial union. This document is also important to ensure the status of your child, especially if the baby is born before the spouse can get permanent residency.



STM, or police report certificate, is also important to help in to deal with various document applications in the future. Your spouse must report to the local police department (Polres) with documents such as copies of passport, ID card, KITAS, and sponsor letter.




Requirements to Acquire IMTA

Now that you get all the necessary documents, it is time to acquire a work permit or IMTA. The Indonesian government has several requirements for your foreign spouse to fulfill, such as:

  • Having proper education or training background for the position in Indonesia.
  • Having five years of working experience or competency certificate for the position or job.
  • Having valid life/health insurance support while living and working in Indonesia.
  • Having all the documents necessary to prove the status of a residence, albeit still temporary.
  • Being 30 to 55 years old (for working in oil and gas industry), except if you have special skill or expertise that will exempt the age limits.
  • Working in the fields that are open for foreign workers in Indonesia: legal department, human resources, supply chain
  • management, HSE (Health, Safety, Environment), and quality control.



IMTA is valid for six months if your spouse works in nonmanagerial position. However, for people with positions such as director, commissioner, chief of representative office, or any managerial-level foreign staff position, the IMTA is valid for 12 months.




How to Acquire IMTA

Here is how your foreign spouse can get IMTA, assuming a company already hires him or her:

  • Acquiring RPTKA (not mandatory)

According to the regulation update by Indonesian government (Presidential Regulation Number 20 the Year 2018), RPTKA is no longer mandatory to apply for work permit. However, it is best to confirm directly with the Ministry of Manpower and your company, just in case.



  • Acquiring Pre-IMTA

Pre-IMTA application is a process where your spouse gets temporary document before the actual IMTA is released. Your spouse will also get information about how long he or she can work in Indonesia and other important explanations.



  • Getting the work permit

Once your spouse gets pre-IMTA, he or she should wait until the ministry releases the document. The process usually takes three work days if there is no problem. Your spouse’s company will also pay for the monthly permit charge based on how long your spouse will work in Indonesia.


In many cases, IMTA is necessary for the spouse to acquire VITAS and KITAS. Therefore, your spouse may need to apply for IMTA first before applying for VITAS and KITAS. Ask the local embassy in your spouse’s origin country.





What If Your Spouse Wants to be Entrepreneur?

The above descriptions are necessary for foreign spouses who want to work for a corporation or employer. However, what if your spouse aims to become a business owner or entrepreneur in Indonesia?



Indonesian government only allows foreigners to start an independent business if they already have permanent stay permit (KITAP). This is regulated under Indonesian Immigration Law Number 6 the Year 2011 (article 6). However, your spouse can apply for KITAP despite the future career goal. KITAP application is open after two years of marriage. If your spouse has no intention to become an entrepreneur, KITAP is not necessary.



Applying for KITAP offers many benefits. The most obvious one is getting all Indonesian identification documents (ID card, driving license, national police registration), which make it easy to deal with various formalities in the country. Your spouse’s KITAP and all the Indonesian documents will also be valid for five years. If you and your spouse get a divorce after he/she acquired KITAP, it will not affect his or her status as a permanent resident.




Tips to Make Registration Process Smooth

The Indonesian government is currently pushing for more efficient bureaucracy, but it still takes time. You and your spouse may also face common bureaucratical frustrations during the application process for all documents. Here are some tips to make everything easier:

  • Prepare numerous copies

Despite starting to apply “smart bureaucracy” concept, many Indonesian offices still require papers for various tasks and filing jobs. Therefore, make sure you and your spouse have multiple copies of all the necessary documents. Keep extra copies of each and save them in the bag and at home. Also, prepare master files for all the scanned documents (including photos).



  • Be firm but polite

Combining firmness with politeness can take you far, especially if you are dealing with various types of government staff and officials. Avoid getting angry, but at the same time, be more assertive and don’t be afraid of asking questions. Prepare a notebook to jot down all the important tidbits.



  • Call repeatedly at the right time

When it comes to Indonesian bureaucracy, calling once is not enough. You need to call repeatedly if you think that your question is ignored more than tolerated. However, avoid calling on Friday afternoon between 11 and 2 PM, since the activities are slowed down following Friday prayer. Also, government offices may close sooner during Ramadhan.



  • Avoid bribing

There is a stronger push from the government and public for cleaner bureaucracy, and all violations will be immediately reported. If you encounter difficulties, bribery can make it worse. Ask for help from the reliable consulting agency if necessary. Also, if someone in one of the offices asks you for money outside the normal fees, make sure to report it.


Dealing with bureaucracy in Indonesia can be tough, but the current push for cleaner administration and the use of technology can help you and your spouse to get the necessary documents.





So, can my spouse apply for work permit in Indonesia? The answer is yes, it is 100 percent viable. There are requirements to get all the documents such as KITAS, IMTA, and VITAS, but Indonesian law properly regulates all of them. Your spouse must become a permanent resident first by applying for KITAP if he or she wants to open a business. After acquiring all the necessary documents, it is not impossible to live together and work in Indonesia.


How Elson can Help you?
ELSON Indonesia is a company that has focus on providing legal solution for expatriates, foreigners, and mixed marriage couples in Indonesia.


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