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Foreigners holding an ITAS or an ITAP are allowed to obtain an Indonesian driver's license - SIM (Surat Izin Mengemudi) anywhere in the country. Tourists, Visit 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 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 ITAS to ITAP.
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 Visit 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 an ITAS holder you will have a one year SIM A or C issued.
If you are an ITAP holder, holding a KTP Asing (not hard to get), you will have a five years SIM A or C issued.
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.
Thanks to Wati for sharing her experience in how to obtain a driving licenses in Bali for both motorcycle and car - at Polresta Denpasar located at Jalan Gunung Sanghyang, Denpasar.
Documents required are:
1. Copy passport;
When we came in to the information desk, an officer asked us to go to second floor to take a written test. The officer asked who we were with and then recommended us to use the "so-called" agent. But I refused this service and proceeded to process the application by ourselves. Then they asked us to obtain a health certificate from a booth next to the police office, and then take the written test and driving/practical test. The documents number 1, 2 and 3 (above) were handed back to us at this time to take along with us.
We then went to the booth and the nurse only checked our blood pressure and a certificate is issued! We returned back to Police office to take the written test on the 2nd floor in the next building. Then the 2nd floor officer asked us to go to the copy service downstairs for the English written test document, and pay Rp. 3,000. We brought all the documents along with us as this was just deemed not registered yet.
First we were allowed to read the copy before going back to the 2nd floor. It's an easy test, but the copy of the test was a lousy quality copy. And then the officer right away checked the test result, a formality, I gather. Then the test result was attached to our documents along with the "passed" paper. Then we were asked to take a practical driving test. Funny bit was that we were only asked to drive the motorbike test but not the car though we applied for two licenses. I am unable to confirm whether or not the practical driving test for the car was mandatory or if it was just the way they lead us through the procedure / registration desks.
When we were done with the driving test, we received another "passed" paper for 2 licenses and then were asked to go to Loket 1 in the registration building. There the last steps of the procedures were played out. The registration officer asked who we were with (any agent or officer), but we stated we were doing it ourselves. Then he asked us to get the driving certificate just next to the health certificate window! So we went again out for it and paid the fee of Rp.95.000. We were asked to pay the official fee of Rp.120.000 at the bank booth for the car license and Rp.100.000 for the motorbike.
Then we waited for a photo session and the licenses were issued. The whole process start to finish took 3 hours.
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