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Foreigners holding a KITAS or a KITAP are allowed to obtain an Indonesian driver's license - SIM (Surat Izin Mengemudi) anywhere in the country. Tourists, Sosbud visa holders and Business visa holder can be issued a SIM valid for 1 or 3 months anywhere were the Direktorat Lantas is equipped with correct software - Bali, Jogja, Jakarta, Manado, Makassar, etc.
The general requirements for a license in Indonesia is that you must be at least 17 years old, pass the theory test, and pass the practical test.
Feburary 2014 update: The Law changed in March of 2013, which apparently stated that ANY RENEWAL must require the applicant to be completely re-registered with the licensing office and has to undertake medical and eye examinations and re-testing for both practical and theory purposes. This has been interpreted as being necessary, for example, when a one day licence expires AND, when changing your immigration status from KITAS to KITAP.
This is the 2012 regulation regarding the issuance of Driver's Licenses
Using an agent - or applying in person
Most employers are willing to assist you by obtaining the services of an agent. This agent may be employed by your company or work for an independent service bureau 'Biro Jasa'. In the latter case, they add an additional fee onto the actual cost of making the license to cover their services. An additional fee of 100++% is not uncommon. This agent knows the procedures and can help you complete the paperwork quickly. The applicant is only required to meet the agent at the Department of Motor Vehicles for their photograph, fingerprints, and signature. Agent fees range in cost from Rp. 500,000 to 700,000.
If an expat wants to apply for a driver's license in person, without the assistance of an agent, it is not a very difficult procedure and relatively efficient. Assuming that the applicant is in possession of all the necessary documents, the entire procedure should not take more than one or two hours, depending on the number of applicants that day.
The best time to apply for a driver's license is as early in the morning as possible, Monday through Thursday. The office tends to be busier at the beginning of the month, as opposed to the middle or the end of the month. The worst times to go are on Fridays just before noon, when all the employees take a longer lunch break to go to Friday prayers at the mosque, as well as right before closing time on any day.
Procedure to Make a Driver's License in Jakarta
1. Go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which is responsible for issuing driver's licenses for residents of Jakarta, Tangerang, Depok and Bekasi:
Note: If your application is received before 12:00, it will be completed that day. Applications submitted between 12:00 and 1:00 will be accepted and processing will begin, but the license will have to be picked up the following day. The office stops accepting new applications after 1:00 pm, but continues to process the applications submitted earlier that day - until 4:00 pm.
You will need to bring:
You may also be asked for:
2. Go to the front of the building and purchase 'Tanda Pembayaran Permohonan Pembuatan Surat Ijin Mengemudi' slip from either of the two bank offices on the premises, Bank Rakyat Indonesia or Bank International Indonesia. This slip represents the payment of the official fee.
As per the new Peraturan pemerintah RI nomor 50 tahun 2010 tentang jenis dan tarif atas jenis penerimaan negara bukan pajak yang berlaku pada kepolisian negara RI legalised by Pak Presiden SBY at the end of May 2010, the police will be authorised to charge the following fees for the issuance of an Indonesian Driver's License:
Expedited services - including photographs taken, could be up to Rp850,000 for same day issuance of A and C SIMS.
These are the legal fees that are valid all over Indonesia in any Kantor Polisi that is allowed to issue a driving license. The officials may try to get more money out of you, but stick to your guns as these are the legal prices.
For a first issuance a IDR 50.000 fee can be added if you have used the services of the simulator* for the practical test.
For a first issuance or a renewal, a medical certificate from the police doctor is mandatory and is usually charged anything from IDR 20.000 to IDR 25.000.
3. Present this 'bank slip' at the adjoining booth and you will receive a copy of the application form (Surat Permohonan SIM).
4. Complete this form, which is only available in Bahasa Indonesia, and proceed to the foreigners window, No. 17 (Loket Orang Asing). You will be required to give:
5. At windows 23-26, your picture will be taken with a digital camera, your fingerprints will be taken with a digital scanner and you will be asked to sign a slip of paper, from which your signature is then scanned. There is a cardboard 'donation' box near the camera where you will be expected to donate approximately Rp 5,000-Rp 10,000. The attendant may say to you, 'Donations go there'.
6. You will then be asked to wait in the waiting area. The length of the wait depends on the number of people ahead of you, but is usually from 30 to 45 minutes. When your name is called, you can pick up your license at window 26 or 28, depending on the class of license that you are making. Again you will be expected to make a 'donation' of approximately Rp 3,000.
Foreigners are issued driver's licenses valid for one year from the date of issuance. Foreigners are only permitted to obtain Class A licenses (private cars) or Class C licenses (motorcycles).
Although it is fairly easy to obtain a driver's license, it may be somewhat difficult to adjust to the driving conditions that exist in most major Indonesian cities. Streets are very congested, traffic rules are ignored and streets are often in less than desirable condition - all of which results in a very stressful situation. Because of this most foreigners elect to employ a driver. Refer to our section on hiring household staff for information on hiring a driver. Even if you do have a driver, it is wise to have an Indonesian driver's license for those occasions when your driver is off or an emergency occurs after your driver has gone home for the day.
If you are on a sosbud visa or any short term visa kunjungan, you may be entitled to have a 3 month SIM issued under your name. Please note that not all POLDA will issue it - we've only heard of people successfully getting this license in Bali. If you are a KITAS holder you will have a one year SIM A or C issued.
If you are a KITAP holder, holding a KTP Asing (not hard to get), you will have a five years SIM A or C issued.
Interesting thread giving details on obtaining a drivers license in Bali
Practical Driving Test
According to a recent post on the Expat Forum, this was what one expat experienced in his driving test:
Note: for SIM applications in Jakarta: only motorbikes and sedans with manual engines are available for use for practical tests. If preferred, applicants are welcome to bring their own vehicles with automatic engines for the tests.
Another suggestion from a Forum member:"I f you are worried about the practical test, I would suggest a visit to a registered driving school who will be able to 'pass' one and arrange for that person to attend the Polres just for the photograph and payment."
Renewing your Driver's License
Extending/renewing your driver's license is an easy fast process. Go to the Department Motor Vehicles on Jl Daan Mogot in Jakarta. Take a very brief eye test in the building on the edge of the parking lot. Then you go into the main building with your expired driver's licence and other ID (best to bring Passport or KIMS and a photocopy of both). If you've got all the required documents, you should be able to finish the process in 30-60 minutes. Rp. 20.000 eye test fee.
To renew your expiring license, visit the licensing office at least one week ahead of expiry date of the licence. If you are not fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, it's a good idea to bring along someone who understands the language, because the new registration form is a bit difficult to understand as it appears to be for both nationals and expats.
International Drivers licenses, called SIM Internasional in Indonesia, have varying validity periods - one, five and 10 years. It's best to get the longer versions, though they cost more, to avoid the hassle of annual renewals. Legitimate international drivers license issuers require a valid national license as the basis of the international license. Always carry both cards when driving to show proof of national/international licenses. The international drivers license does not necessarily need to be issued in your home country, there are numerous sources:
In the US, there are only two agencies that can issue valid US IDPs. Other organizations issuing them are not issuing official US State Department sanctioned permits. Now, that is not to say that Indonesian officials will know this or won't accept the other permits. For International Drivers' Licenses issued in the US, consult the following information source - AATA.
In Indonesia, SIM Internasional are issued by Mabes POLRI in Jakarta.
Alternately, you can fill out the online form here and upload the required images - www.sim-internasional.com.
One Day License for Tourists
The Indonesian government is starting a new process of "1 day licensing" for foreign visitors. You have to pay somewhere around Rp 100,000 and they'll take your photo and issue your temporary license in one day. The cost of the license varies according to the length of validity (months, year, etc).
This info applies to Denpasar, Bali and it may NOT be the same elsewhere.
Samsat, which stands for Sistem Administrasi Manunggal di bawah Satu Atap is the name of the governmental agency in charge for deliverance of STNK, Tanda Nomor Kendaraan Bermotor, Buku Pemilik Kendaraan Bermotor and to receive the annual payment of the Pajak Kendaraan Bermotor (PKB), Bea Balik Nama Kendaraan Bermotor and SWDKLJJ. In fact it is the agency which is responsible for most of the administrative side of vehicle ownership. . It integrates functions and services which normally belongs to POLRI, PT Jasa Raharja (insurance system for road traffic accident) and Dinas Pendapatan Propinsi. SAMSAT has national authority for vehicule matters and has offices ine every city/bupati.
Here are the relevant documents that govern the issuance of Drivers Licenses in Indonesia:
About fees for driving license, issuance of STNK and TNKB
About regulation concerning vehicules, administrative papers for vehicules, drivers and driver's license
General law concerning traffic
A Special Note for Motorcyclists
There is a regulation in Indonesia that requires all people riding motorcycles to wear an Indonesian National Standard (SNI) helmet. If you are caught without one, the official fine is Rp 250,000.
Read our related article on on Buying a Car in Indonesia
Our thanks to Olivier Rula for all his help in updating much of this information.
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