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Our thank to Marilyn Ardipradja and Olivier Rula for all their help with updates on this page!
November 2015 Immigration presentations
In November immigration officials met with members of the mixed nationality couples community to provide presentations on recent laws. Here are copies of their presentations:
Isu-Isu Aktual Status Keimigrasian dan Kewarganegaraan (Current Issues Regarding Immigration Status and Citizenship) presented by Friement F.S. Aruan, Direktur Izin Tinggal dan Status Keimigrasian, Direktorat Jeneral Imigrasi (Director of Stay Permits and Immigration Status, Directorate General for Immigration). The presentation dealt with the registration of children of mixed marriages with dual citizenship and affidavits (registration is obligatory, affidavit is optional), the fact that they have to claim Indonesian citizenship before their twenty-first birthday, if they want to retain their Indonesian citizenship, and becoming an Indonesian citizen through declaration or naturalization.
Tata Cara Memperoleh, Kehilangan, Pembatalan dan Memperoleh Kembali Kewarganegaraan Republik Bagi Pelaku Perkawinan Campuran dan Anak Berkewarganegaraan Ganda (Obtaining, Losing, Revoking and Regaining Indonesian Citizenship for Persons in Mixed Marriages and Children with Dual Citizenship) by Agus Rianto, Direktur Tata Negara, Direktorat Administrasi Hukum Umum (Director of State Institutions, Directorate of General Legal Administration). The presentation detailed how to obtain Indonesian Citizenship and the required documents.
Kebijakan Administrasi Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil Bagi Perkawinan Campur dan Anak Berkewarganegaraan - Ganda Terbatas (Administration of Population and Civil Registration for Persons in Mixed Marriages and Children with Dual Citizenship) by Ibu Ati Kadarwati, Direktur Pencatatan Sipil, Direktorat Jenderal Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil (Director of Civil Registration, Directorate General for Population and Civil Registration). Ibu Ati's presentation gave information about documents such as Kartu Keluarga (KK), KTP Orang Asing, Surat Keterangan Tempat Tinggal (SKTT) as well as various certificates.
On May 5, 2011 a new immigration law came into force. Here is a copy of the new immigration law UU 6 - Tahun 2011. The implementing regulations for this law were issued on April 16, 2013 as Peraturan Pelaksanaan Nomor 31 Tahun 2013.
Information regarding immigration matters is available in Indonesian at the Immigration Office website Costs of all immigration documents can be found in PP No. 45/2014 - Jenis Dan Tarif Atas Jenis Penerimaan Negara Bukan Pajak Yang Berlaku Pada Kementerian Hukum Dan Hak Asasi Manusia
Under the new immigration law, foreign spouses of Indonesians can apply for an ITAP (permanent residency permit), after having been legally married for two years. Immigration officers should already be aware of the new regulations. However, it is recommended that you take a printed copy of the new immigration law with you when you go to apply (especially Pasal 60 and Pasal 141).
The document requirements for an ITAP application if you are already residing in Indonesia, and sponsored by your Indonesian spouse, are:
This law gives permanent residence only to spouses and children of mixed marriages that are legally valid.
Additional Requested Documents
These are legal requirements. However, from one Immigration Office to the next they may have additional requests. Documents we imagine you could be asked for could include a SKTT, STM, NPWP, etc. The Immigration office is definitively authorized to ask you for any document that you should legally have. The new UU 6/2011 gives the immigration office full power to check that you comply with all existing laws.
A document which will be very certainly requested of those married in Indonesia is an acknowledgement from your embassy that they are aware of your marriage in Indonesia.
You will also be asked to sign a Declaration of Integration document "Pernyataan Integrasi kepada Pemerintah Republik Indonesia" in accordance with Article 60 (2) of the new law. Here is a sample - Surat Pernyataan Integrasi.
There has been an increase in the cost of some immigration documents based on PP No. 45/2014 which came into effect on 3 July 2014. These are the costs for ITAP:
For NO reason should you be asked to pay more than the above. The process should take about 3-4 weeks, assuming all your paperwork is in order. However it can take up to six weeks, so it's best to apply with plenty of time to process before your ITAS expires.
When looking at the visa requirements, pay particular attention in the laws (above) to:
Pasal 54 b. keluarga karena perkawinan campuran;
Pasal 60 (2) Untuk mendapatkan Izin Tinggal Tetap bagi pemohon sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 54 ayat (1) huruf b diberikan setelah usia perkawinannya mencapai 2 (dua) tahun dan menandatangani Pernyataan Integrasi kepada Pemerintah Republik Indonesia.
Pasal 141 b. suami atau istri dari perkawinan yang sah dengan warga negara Indonesia yang usia perkawinannya lebih dari 2 (dua) tahun dan memegang Izin Tinggal terbatas berdasarkan Undang-Undang Nomor 9 Tahun 1992 tentang Keimigrasian dapat langsung diberikan Izin Tinggal Tetap menurut ketentuan Undang-Undang ini;
Pasal 143 Pada saat Undang-Undang ini mulai berlaku, peraturan pelaksanaan dari Undang-Undang Nomor 9 Tahun 1992 tentang Keimigrasian (Lembaran Negara Republik Indonesia Tahun 1992 Nomor 33, Tambahan Lembaran Negara Republik Indonesia Nomor 3474) dinyatakan masih tetap berlaku sepanjang tidak bertentangan atau belum diganti dengan yang baru berdasarkan Undang-Undang ini.
Put all together, with the full provisions, this means that:
If you are legally married to an Indonesian spouse for more than 2 years (and have the paperwork to prove it) and that you already hold an ITAS sponsored by your Indonesian spouse pursuant to the old UU 9/1992, you are eligible for an immediate conversion of your ITAS into an ITAP.
As soon as the law was signed/legalized, it came into force, replacing UU 9.
Step 1: Starting the Conversion to ITAP ProcessAfter having filled all the documents listed above you will be able to start the first step: the application to the Kantor Imigrasi.
For your application, you will be first be received by a petugas of the Seksi Statuskim. He/she will tell you if all your documents are complete or if you need additional documents or if you need to have any of the documents legalized or translated. This official's role is to verify if your file is complete. It may take repeated visits to clarify your rights under the new law (to the official) and establish that you have all the necessary documents to end the verification step.
Once all documents are completed you will be directed to the Seksi Wasdakim, for a possible interview. The role of the Seksi Wasdakim in this application process is to verify the reliability of your sponsor, to check if you are not blacklisted and to check your activities in Indonesia. They may interview you and/or your sponsor to know what you are doing, to check if you and your sponsor are financially reliable. They may ask questions about your marriage, kids, etc. They may even make a visit to the address you have given on your application form to confirm that you do actually live there together with your spouse. This should be a relatively easy step. As soon as the head of this section signs all of the forms in your file, your case will proceed to the next desk quickly. Technically, the Seksi Wasdakim cannot do much to delay your application if:
The above are the only three points that could be argued in this section. If, someone in the Seksi Wasdakim asks about how you are going to finance your 5 year stay, you could mention article 61 of the immigration UU 6/2011:
Download the Immigration Law - in Bahasa Indonesia
There has been a lot of BUZZ about the passing of the new immigration law (which replaced the 1992 Immigration Law), and how it affects mixed nationality couples living in Indonesia.
Remember, this Immigration Law is not specifically about mixed couples, which are addressed in 5 or 6 articles only, out of the 140+ in the law! The components highlighted below only cover those legally married to Indonesians or children of mixed marriages.
Some of the highlights of the new law include:
If you don't register your marriage with the Catatan Sipil office in Indonesia, then the marriage is not considered legal in Indonesia.
Step 1: Legalizing your overseas marriage documents
If you were married overseas, you must take a registered copy of your (foreign) marriage certificate to the consular section of the nearest Indonesian consulate or embassy. Ask the consular staff to consularize a translation of the marriage certificate and a copy of the foreign marriage certificate. Often the consular office staff can assist you with the translation, for an additional fee.
Step 2: Registering your marriage in Indonesia
The Indonesian government requires that all marriages conducted abroad be registered in Indonesia at the Kantor Catatan Sipil within one year of the marriage or as soon as possible after the couple moves to Indonesia. If you haven't registered within one year of marriage, the registration can still be completed, but you will need to pay a fine, so the sooner you get it done, the better!
Go to the Catatan Sipil office in the district where the Indonesian spouse has residence (and the documents to prove it). What is required for the registration?
If you had drawn up a prenuptial agreement (it is required/recommended should your Indonesian spouse intend to buy property in Indonesia in the future), remember to get that legalized as well and present it at the Catatan Sipil.
You can opt out of getting an old version of the KTP and get your photo and fingerprints taken for the electronic KTP instead. This is also a good time to make any needed corrections on your Kartu Keluarga. There should be no cost for this.
If you have a mixed faith marriage there may be additional questions and hoops to jump through, and even the possibility of a brief hearing in front of a judge with witnesses to prove that you are in fact living together as husband and wife.
With the passing of the 2011 Immigration Law (Undang Undang 12 tahun 2006 tentang Kewarganegaraan), an Indonesian spouse (husband or wife) can sponsor a foreign spouse for semi-permanent residency (ITAS - one year stay). If you are newly married, the foreign spouse will need to get an ITAS to live in Indonesia.
One of the most basic questions we receive is “Will marriage to an Indonesian give me permanent residence there?” Since the advent of the new marriage law, the answer is "Semi-permanent is possible for legally married couples, that is, those married in Indonesia who are registered at the Kantor Urusan Agama or Catatan Sipil office won't have problems. Those married abroad have to make sure that their foreign marriage has been registered at the consular office at the KBRI, KJRI or KRI, or the Catatan Sipil office in Indonesia and that they have a Surat Tanda Bukti Perkawinan. See Getting Married for more information.
Sponsorship of Visas for Expat Spouse by their Indonesian Spouse
The foreign spouse should obtain a Visa Tinggal Terbatas (Temporary Residence Visa) at the Indonesian Embassy in their home country in order to enter Indonesia. After obtaining a Tanda Masuk (Entry Permit), a foreign national who holds a Temporary Residence Visa must apply to the local immigration office for an Izin Tinggal Terbatas - ITAS (Temporary Residence Permit). It is also possible to enter Indonesia with a Visa Kunjungan (Visit Visa) on arrival and convert this to an ITAS, although the holder of a Visa Kunjungan must be in possession of a ticket for a return or onward flight in order to obtain such a visa.
Though one could apply for a VITAS (sponsored by Indonesian spouse) from an Indonesian embassy abroad, having previously obtained the agreement of the DitJen Imigrasi in Jakarta, the procedure described below may be somewhat easier. It allows you plenty of time (you first enter on a Visit Visa, which can be extended up to 6 months) to convert it to an ITAS. Having almost 6 months to do so, it leaves almost no chances for the immigration officials to extort bribes from you, if you proceed in processing your application. It also offers the advantage of not having to depart from Indonesia to an Indonesian embassy abroad to "pick up" your new semi-permanent resident visa.
Here is the procedure:
Please Note the following:
Our thanks to Atlantis for researching and Marilyn Ardipradja for updating this section's information! For additional details see this thread on the Expat Forum.
Multiple Entry Visit Visa: 12 Months Validity:
With the new Citizenship Law, effective 26 June 2006, the foreign husband can also opt to get a multiple entry visit visa which valid for 12 months under the Indonesian wife's sponsorship. The telex approval will be send to your wife and you can bring the copy to the nominated Indonesian embassy abroad to pick-up the visa.
The expat spouse can also be the sponsor for a social visa which allows her foreign husband to stay for a maximum of 1-2 months at a time (with renewals up to 12 months). This visa, however, does NOT allow you to work.
Prior to obtaining the telex approval for your 12 Months Visit visa, you must first submit the following supporting documents at the Indonesian embassy:
1. Photograph size 4 x 6 cm with red background
At the Indonesian embassy abroad, you will be requested to fill-in Visa Application Form for Visit - Single/Several Journey(s). Choose "Several" instead of ''Single''. At the ''Purpose of Visit to Indonesia'' Section, please do not conflicting between choice number "10-Social'' and number ''15-Family Visit''.
The number 15 is for family member when you have a family in Indonesia and you visit them in Indonesia with their sponsorship. The number 10 is for non-family members, such as, if you have an Indonesian girlfriend, and you want to visit her in Indonesia under her sponsorship.
For online photo taken and finger printing at the Indonesian Immigration office service point, the foreigners should wear a formal outfit and shoes, not allowed to wear short pants, nor T-shirts, nor rubber/plastic sandals.
Please be aware that a person may be denied entry to any Immigration Office if considered to be dressed inappropriately. Men should wear long trousers and shoes, not sandals. Women should wear knee length dresses or skirts or long pants and tops that are not revealing.
Foreign spouses of Indonesians can enter Indonesia on a Visa On Arrival (VOA) visit visa initially, then try to find a sponsoring organization (job) after their arrival. The Visa Kunjungan or Visa Tinggal Terbatas is preferable to a Visa on Arrival (VOA) since the VOA cannot be extended past 60 days; you have to leave Indonesia and re-enter the country on a new 60-day VOA.
You must obtain the Visa Kunjungan or Visa Tinggal Terbatas from an Indonesian embassy overseas before entering Indonesia. Your Indonesian spouse can sponsor the Visa. If the Indonesian spouse sponsors the visa and then the foreign spouse finds employment, he/she will need to leave Indonesia and go to Singapore, for example, to have the new visa (that his new employer obtains) stamped in his passport and reenter under the new sponsorship.
Opening a Company - Foreign Investment Visa
Some foreign men married to Indonesians choose another route - by starting a business which is owned by the wife, her family or friends. The business can then apply for a work permit for the foreign husband as an expert. Of course this depends on your area of expertise. For example, if you are an expert diver, your wife can open a dive shop and hire you to teach diving. If you are a chef, your wife can open a restaurant, etc.
In some fields, such as management consulting, a foreigner can open a
100% foreign owned company. These regulations change often, so check
with a consultant or lawyer to determine whether or not these might be
viable options for your situation.
With the advent of the new citizenship law (Law No. 12 of 2006) the children of mixed marriages have the right to hold dual citizenship until they are 18 years old. At 18, they must choose whether to stay Indonesian citizens or follow the foreign citizenship. They will be then given three more years to decide on which nationality to choose. If they are married before the age of 18, their dual citizenship will be revoked.
Prior to their 22nd birthday, dual nationals are required to pay a Rp 1 million administrative fee to the Immigration Office in order to retain their Indonesian citizenship.
Any children born after 1 August 2006 are automatically entitled to the indonesian citizenship as per law 12/2006 (Undang-Undang Nomor 12 tahun 2006 Tentang Kewarganegaraan), meaning that no procedure is required. Just go to the Kantor Imigrasi and get your children a passport, showing their birth certificate (and a few other documents - they will give you the list).
Your children will be entitled by Indonesian Law (check with your own country's laws for the foreign citizenship rules) to have dual citizenship until the children reach the age of 18. The children then have three years to choose one of the two citizenships as their citizenship, meaning that the children will “release” one of them. The day after their 21st birthday, if they have not notified the Immigration Directorate or the Indonesian government of their desire to remain an Indonesian citizen, they will lose their Indonesian citizenship and be automatically considered a foreigner.
With dual citizenship your child will hold two passports. One condition of Indonesia's dual citizenship law is that the child must consistently use the same passport leaving and entering Indonesia, choosing either one of them.
You may decide not to deal with the Indonesian citizenship (though I would not advise it, unless if it is to allow you time to process the child's foreign citizenship) and process an ITAS (temporary residency permit for foreigners). By birth, your children are automatically entitled to the Indonesian passport, if you decide to get it. No immigration officer can say otherwise, since this is an automatic right.
For information on an ITAP for children of mixed marriages and ITAP holders, refer to Pasal 54 (1) c and Pasal 60 (3) of the new immigration law.
Don't let any corrupt officials ask you for more money than the correct fee. Your child has rights and there is no way that the government officials can refuse to process their citizenship application. A firm warning that you are ready to complain if anyone gives you difficulties should be enough.
How to proceed:
BE AWARE that you only had up to August 2010 to apply for the dual citizenship. After this date, your children's rights will be void if they are born before August 1st 2006.
Outside Indonesia, contact the KBRI/KJRI of your home country. They will guide you through the process.
If you get the dual citizenship the official way, your kids will have two passports but in their foreign passport they will have an official affaidavit stamped in it from the Indonesian immigration saying that they have dual citizenship. This enables you to avoid having an ITAS for your children and allows them to travel freely without a visa to either of the two countries. Having the affidavit is essential and will prevent a lot of problems!
The affidavit is stamped into the foreign passport and Indonesian passport as a "Keterangan" referring to the citizenship law of 2006. Every child has to be registered, if you want that child to hold the dual citizenships. That affidavit is absolutely necessary. The immigration officer will ask why you don´t have that affidavit in the child's foreign passport, if you don't have it.
Check with your embassy/consular office if your country of origin doesn't allow dual citizenship for children, to try to come up with a solution that works for you!
Relevant Citizenship Laws/Regulations:
Note: in the past many immigration officials at the airport seemingly disregarded the fact that a child returning on an Indonesian passport had no subsequent passport stamps for travel after the previous departure from Indonesia. Since the advent of the recent immigration law changes - more attention is being paid to these discrepancies - leading to questions about second passports and dual citizenship. It will be to your advantage to have all your documents for the dual citizenship and affidavits in perfect order so that your returning children don't have difficulties when they try to re-enter Indonesia.
Visa Information for Foreign Children
Some ways to handle visas if you decide not to proceed with dual nationality: An ITAP (5 year resident visa) can be obtained for the children of a mixed marriage. This ITAP status can be applied for with the Indonesian parent's sponsorship.
An Indonesian mother can sponsor an ITAS for her foreign nationality children. The visa will say "Turut Ibu Kandung" (following birth mother). You must submit a letter of financial support with the ITAS application, stating how much the foreign father is willing to give the mother and child monthly for support.
Children born out of wedlock
If an unmarried Indonesian woman has a baby with an expatriate man and wants the baby to be an Indonesian citizen, this is now possible with the advent of undang undang 12 tahun 2006, Pasal 4 huruf g, which states: "anak yang lahir di luar perkawinan yang sah dari seorang ibu Warga Negara Indonesia". In other words, a child out of wedlock born from an Indonesian mother is granted Indonesian citizenship by the government.
Education concerns for children
Most international schools are now open to Indonesian and foreign nationals. Though the costs are high, the education is highly superior to the Indonesian school system. Foreign children can also attend Indonesian schools, if their parents so choose.
Since foreigners aren't allowed to own homes in Indonesia, if the couple plans to buy a house, it will have to be solely in the name of the Indonesian spouse, and/or his/her family members. It may be impossible to borrow money from a bank to purchase a home as the bank will recognize that ownership of the foreign spouse's half of the home will revert to the Indonesian government in the case of a default on the loan.
Foreigners can purchase high rise apartments or homes in real estate developments. The purchase is based on a contract with the developer saying that title for the apartment stays in the developer's name until such time as the laws are changed so that the ownership of the apartment can be in the foreigner's name. Needless to say, seriously consider whether or not you can trust the developer to honor the contract.
Visa Status for Foreign Wives
The Indonesian husband can easily apply for his wife to obtain ITAS (or ITAP if you've been married more than 2 years) for her with the status 'ikut suami', accompanying the husband. The assumption of the Indonesian government has been that these foreign women are housewives, at home raising the children and not in the job market. The foreign wife is allowed to reside in Indonesia under this status, but not allowed to work. The basis for this sponsorship is the marriage certificate. Besides that, you need a letter of sponsorship from your husband, your passport, your husband's ID card and his family card (Kartu Keluarga).
See Registration of Marriages Conducted Abroad
If a foreign wife of an Indonesian is on an ikut suami status and wants to leave Indonesia, she must have a letter stating that her husband has given his permission for her to depart. This letter is needed in order to apply for an exit/reentry permit at the immigration office. This regulation is a formality, but can cause difficulties in the case of a separation, divorce or an attempt to spirit children out of the country.
Sample letter for exit/return entry permit for foreign spouse
For more information, see Getting Married
Employment for Foreign Wives
At this time, a foreign wife of an Indonesian may not work in the formal sector unless she has a work permit, just like all other foreigners. This requires special qualifications and can be complicated unless the wife has skills companies here are desperate for and willing to go through the hassle of all the paperwork which is expensive and time consuming.
See also Applying for an ITAP
Many foreign spouses of Indonesians face difficulties in obtaining a permanent residency permit (ITAP) which will allows them to stay in Indonesia for 5 years at a time and makes it easier to get a work permit. A 2007 regulation from the Law and Human Rights Ministry and the 2003 Law on Manpower provides clear and explicit procedures only for those who are sponsored by companies. Foreigners sponsored by their Indonesian spouses can get an ITAP valid for five years but cannot work in the country unless they obtain a work permit.
Before going to immigration:
Documents you may be asked to provide for an ITAP application:
And possibly ...
There are two forms to fill in from the Immigration office – both of which can obtained at immigration, which includes the folder (pink) to put it in. Forms and folder should be free.
Step 1 – Warung Buncit Immigration office (we use this office as an example)
Take filled in forms to the 2nd floor of Warung Buncit Immigration office (if you are in Jakarta Selatan) and hand in at the appropriate window. They will tell you to come back in one, two or three days to pick up a letter.
Step 2 – Warung Buncit Immigration office
Pick up the letter you were told to come back for and take it to the Kantor Wilayah in Cawang (Kementrian Hukum dan Hak Asasi Manusia DKI Jakarta (Kanwil Hukum & HAM) Jl. MT Haryono No 24, Cawang). The office in Cawang will tell you to buy a folder (different color) to put everything in and then tell you to come back in one, two or three days to pick up a letter.
Step 3 –Direktorat Jendral Imigrasi
Pick up the letter you were told to come back for and take it to the section for Alih Status ITAS ke ITAP at the Dirjen office (Direktorat Jendral Imigrasi Kementrian Hukum & HAM) at Jl Rasuna Said, Kuningan. They will tell you to come back in one, two or three days to pick up a letter to take back to the Cawang office. Get a phone number because this office is always late with its letter for you and it’s just such a hassle to turn up and not be able to get it.
Step 4 – Department Hukuman
After having rung up and checked the letter is actually ready go, go back here and pick it up. Take this letter back to the Cawang office. They will tell you to come back in one, two or three days to pick up another letter.
Step 5 – Cawang Immigration office
Pick up the letter you were told to come back for and take it back to the Warung Buncit Immigration office. They will tell you to pay the fee – Rp 3.5 million for a new non-electronic ITAP or Rp 3.7 million for a new electronic ITAP. They will then tell you when to come back to pick up your ITAP. You will also be told to photocopy certain documents. They will then tell you to come back in a week, possibly less, to pick up your new ITAP.
Step 6 – Warung Buncit Immigration office
When you have picked up your new ITAP you can go to the Exit/Reentry window on the second floor to do a two-year exit/reentry visa (you will also need a sponsorship letter from your Indonesian spouse for this). They will tell you to come back in one, two or three days to pick up your passport.
Step 7 – Warung Buncit Immigration office
Pick up your passport.
**Also at Warung Buncit They may also tell you that now you are entitled to a KTP Orang Asing – this is what all Indonesia citizens must carry around as proof of identity and used in legal documents, etc. You will be directed to the Suku Dinas office in Slipi (ask for the address). This office will give you a letter to take to the Suku Dinas office just off Jl. Radio Dalam (remember at each office you will be asked to come back in one, two or three days to pick up the next letter in the process). The Radio Dalam office will give you a letter to take to your Kelurahan (local sub-district office) who will then claim that no such document exists. Get a contact name at the Radio Dalam office so that when you are sitting in the Kelurahan you can instantly call the Radio Dalam office and let them explain the KTP Orang Asing procedure. The Kelurahan person will then suddenly remember the form in the filing cabinet and get you to fill it in. Just follow the instructions of the Kelurahan person and by one or two weeks you will have your KTP Orang Asing. It’s supposed to be free but you will be asked to pay, at your discretion, a nominal “administration” fee. There should be no cost involved if you do it yourself. If they begin to hassle you, just take your Indonesian spouse and let him/her handle it. It’s not worth the effort to lose control at this office.
Thanks to Ala of C-4 for this information on applying for a Kitap.
The foreign wife or husband of an Indonesian citizen has to stay for five full uninterrupted years on an ITAS or ITAP as (one of) the prerequisites to apply for Indonesian citizenship. The old UU 62/1958 gave a lot of facilities to foreign females married to Indonesian citizens. This was counter to the Indonesian constitution since all Indoensian citizens should be treated the same and there is no reason to discriminate against female Indonesians married to foreign men by making it harder for their foreign husband to reside and become an Indoensain citizen. Tthe new citizenship law has leveled the requirements. Any applicant for citizenship must be here for at least 5 years uninterrupted (or a total of 10 interrupted years of residency).
Expat wives of Indonesian men may consider changing their nationality for a variety of reasons including: to avoid ownership problems with their jointly owned property, to avoid inheritance problems upon the death of their spouse, to enable them to work without a work permit, to build their own business without the hassles of work permits and visas each year, or to help their husband's career. Often, it is a combination of various factors, along with the fact that their children are Indonesian citizens and decreasing ties in their home country due to a long residence in Indonesia.
Some foreign wives who have changed their citizenship to Indonesian may be able to arrange it so that they keep their foreign passports, yet be advised that according to Indonesian regulations this is illegal. Some countries allow you to give up your citizenship once in your life and still get it back again in the future, so check with your embassy to see what rules would apply and what the legal implications of giving up your citizenship would be.
Consider carefully the choice to change your citizenship. You may want to preserve your children's rights to foreign citizenship for the day they want to go to your home country for university education. Foreign student tuition isn't cheap! For more information see 2006 Indonesian Nationality Act - 2006 Citizenship law in English.
You can pick up the flier with info on how to become an Indonesian citizen (WNI) at your local KanWil office. Also ask for the forms that have the Surat Permohonan, etc. You will also need to provide the following:
The processing time obviously varies a lot but you can expect it to take a while. No need to use an agent, just do it yourself.
Reference: Pasal 19 Undang Undang Nomor 12 tahun 2006 Tentang Kewarganegaraan RI:
(1) Warga negara asing yang kawin secara sah dengan Warga Negara Indonesia dapat memperoleh Kewarganegaraan Republik Indonesia dengan menyampaikan pernyataan menjadi warga negara di hadapan Pejabat.
Nationality of Children
As stated above, the Indonesian government regulations now allows dual citizenship of children born to an Indonesian man or woman and a foreign spouse.
If your child is born overseas, you must first obtain a birth certificate from the country of birth. Take this to the consular office at the Indonesian consulate or embassy and apply for an Indonesian birth certificate. The consulate will make an Indonesian translation of the foreign birth certificate and consularize the translation. This translation becomes the child's legal birth certificate for paperwork matters in Indonesia. Be sure that a copy of the foreign birth certificate is consularized by the Indonesian consular office as well. Once the birth certificate is in hand, you can choose to apply for the Indonesian citizenship.
Be certain to discuss the legal status of your child very thoroughly with the consular officials in your home country or your embassy in Jakarta before making decisions on dual citizenship and visas ... to determine if there will be any complications with prevailing laws in the home country of the foreign spouse.
Visa implications for children
Children born to Indonesian fathers or mothers do not need visas to enter or reside in Indonesia, if they hold Indonesian citizenship as per Undang Undang 12 tahun 2006.
In some cases, foreign mothers of these Indonesian children have been asked to provide proof of their husband's permission to take the children out of the country, if he is not traveling with them. This problem seems to arise when the last name of the foreign mother and the Indonesian children are different. If you are worried about being asked, be sure to carry a letter from your husband and show it to the immigration officials when departing Indonesia.
Education Concerns for Children
As the children of Indonesian men married to foreign women are, in most cases, Indonesian citizens, all the children and the foreign wife need to be listed on the husband's Kartu Keluarga (family card). The Indonesian husband is considered to be the Kepala Keluarga. If your husband is still on his parent's Kartu Keluarga, you need to arrange for a separate Kartu Keluarga for your family unit after your marriage. The document is obtained through your local RT/RW/Lurah and is the basic document on which all other documents are based - KTP, passport, etc. Be sure to have your children added to your husband's Kartu Keluarga after birth.
Historically, foreign wives of Indonesian men were listed on the husband's Kartu Keluarga once they had an ITAS ... but their documentation (visa number) appeared under the heading Kewarganegaraan. It has two columns W.N.R.I./Keturunan and Orang Asing.
The document SKSKP (Certificate Listing Family Members) is issued by Catatan Sipil for foreign wives on an ITAS (not yet an ITAP) by some offices, in place of putting the foreign wife on the husband's Kartu Keluarga. There seems to be some confusion on the proper paperwork with various offices.
A foreigner with a temporary stay permit would get a foreigner or visitors identity card (KIP) and a certificate listing family members (SKSKP). And a foreigner with a permanent stay permit will receive an identity card for foreigners (KTP WNA) and card listing family members (KK).
Persist in requesting the appropriate document as this is an important document for your family.
Legally, only Indonesians and the foreign spouse on an ITAP (permanent resident) can be listed on the same KK as the Indonesian husband. This is the regulation. Previously a foreign wife could get added to the KK once they had been issued an ITAS.
Many Catatan Sipil don't enforce it as long as the head of the family is not a foreigner. Many times a foreign wife and/or foreign children have been listed with no problem, though they should not actually be. Civil servants just don't know the law. However, if a foreigner has an ITAP (5 year permanent residncy) he/she can be listed on a KK. No real solution for KK inclusion is offered to foeigners on a simple ITAS.
Recently issued Kartu Keluarga are laminated, so that you cannot make corrections/additions by yourself. In order to get a person added to the card, you have to have a Head of Household who must show his ijasah (school diploma) and then you MUST show proof of birth and relationship to the listed Kepala Keluarga (head of household). The new version is not mandatory, however, and you do not have to switch over to it if you do not want to.
Since foreigners aren't yet allowed to own homes in Indonesia, if the couple plans to buy a house, it will have to be solely in the name of the husband, and/or his family members. You can put the title for your home or other property in the names of your children. If they are minors, the parents or other family members can be appointed as guardians until they come of age.
It may be impossible to borrow money from a bank to purchase a home as the bank will recognize that ownership of the wife's half of the home will revert to the Indonesian government in the case of a default on the loan. The only exception to this is if the foreign spouse has signed a prenuptial agreement (pisah harta) stating that she is not entitled to the Indonesian spouse's property upon his/her death or a divorce. In this case a couple can receive a housing loan.
Visa status for unmarried couples
An Indonesian husband will not be able to sponsor a limited stay permit (ITAS) for his foreign fiancé until they are legally married. If they wish to live in Indonesia prior to being married, the Indonesian husband-to-be should apply for a Visa Kunjungan for his foreign wife-to-be. Once the marriage is legal, he can then apply for an ITAS without the foreign wife having to leave the country. If she enters on a Visa on Arrival, she must leave Indonesia after the ITAS has been approved to have the new visa stamped in her passport in an Indonesian embassy abroad. So, beware of the possible future travel implications of entering Indonesia on a Visa on Arrival - if your intention is to reside in Indonesia.
In the case of a divorce
The legal rulings regarding divorce in mixed marriages are somewhat contradictory. It is not easy to find out exactly what applies. Some points in the law are clear: The property owned prior to the marriage remains the property of the person concerned. Any inheritance received by the husband or wife during the marriage is not shared, but remains the property of the person concerned. Any income earned by either person during the marriage is shared. In case of divorce the mother is generally given custody of young children, however this is not clear-cut and the decision is made on a case-by-case basis.
For more information on divorce
It is highly recommended, and very wise, for wives of Indonesian husbands to coax their husbands into writing a will. If the couple doesn't have a will, and the Indonesian husband passes away, the wife will have to go to court to get her status recognized/legalized. As she is only given one year to sell any property owned by her husband, time is of the essence. Should her husband's family challenge her right to inheritance and she does not have a will, she may lose out to his family. Even though the marriage law states clearly that a wife shall inherit from her husband, the law interprets matters differently when the wife is a foreigner.Far more interesting is the inheritance law which differentiates between Muslims and non-Muslims whereas there is no difference according to Christian law. The marriage procedure (Civil/Muslim) has an effect on other legal matters that follow later on, including inheritance.
NPWP for Working and Non-Working Foreign Spouses
If you are not employed and not receiving any income in Indonesia you would not have to register with the tax office and get an NPWP. If you do receive income in Indonesia you would have to register with the tax office and have a personal tax number (NPWP).
If your Indonesian spouse has an NPWP you can share the same number with her/him and declare your taxes together. The Indonesian personal taxation system is based on worldwide income and includes salary, dividend and interest income, rental income and capital gains from sale of property, both onshore and offshore.
You can apply for your own NPWP if you are working. If you have had an NPWP in the past, but never received an NPWP card, just ask for a card to be printed out.
Health Insurance - BPJS
Learn more about applying for the Registration in the National Health System
All family members listed on the Karta Keluarga can get insurance. If you are an expat spouse that is NOT listed on the Kartua Keluarga, you will have to apply separately. Adult children not listed on the Karta Keluarga can apply separately with your ITAS/ITAP.
If your spouse is sponsoring your KITAS/KITAP, you have a 60 day window after your spouse's death to report and process the change of sponsorship through immigration.
Another family member in the Indonesian spouse's family can sponsorhip your visa. The KITAS / KITAP and MERP will all need to be renewed under the new sponsorship.
Help with Paperwork
Foreign wives of Indonesians may find that it is relatively easy to make their own visa applications together with their husband. Be patient and understanding and develop a good rapport with the various officials that you deal with. Remember, you will need their help EVERY YEAR of your residence in Indonesia to extend your visa. Foreign husbands of Indonesians women may find it easier to use an agent.
If you choose to use one of the hundreds of agents who operate in Jakarta, beware. Some are unscrupulous and will charge you 10 times the actual fee for their services. They may also obtain incorrect or incomplete documentation which will cause many headaches and difficulties at a later date.
Ask friends for recommendations, compare prices and be sure of exactly what paperwork the agent will complete for the fee. There are agents listed in the classified section of major newspapers. Don't accept the first one you talk to, tell them you are looking at the services of several agents and already have other offers that you want to compare their offer to. You will be surprised at how the price drops down.
Children from mixed marriages holding foreign citizenship are eligible for residency in Indonesia (ITAS or ITAP). There is no age limit - providing that their Indonesian parent is still alive as he/she has to sponsor them initially. Once they have the ITAP, it will not be revoked if the Indonesian parent dies, but they would have to have another Indonesian sponsor in that case.
Visa Tinggal Terbatas (Temporary Residence Visa) is the permit for entering Indonesia for a person who is planning to reside here. It is issued by an Indonesian Embassy/Consulate in another country and has to be used within 90 days of being issued. On arrival a Tanda Masuk (Entry Permit) is given and the person has to apply for ITAS within 30 days at the Immigration Office. ITAS is the Limited Stay Permit issued by the Immigration Office after arriving in Indonesia and submitting all required documents. It is valid for 1 year. Your children may have to get ITAS first then convert to ITAP but they should be eligible to get the ITAS immediately.
Your Indonesian spouse and children would need to actually be in Indonesia to get the ITAP. Only the visa can be obtained at the overseas Indonesian embassy.
The ITAP will no longer be valid if the holder leaves Indonesia for longer than 1 year. So theoretically mixed parentage children holding an ITAS/ITAP could live overseas most of the time and just come to Indonesia at least once a year to maintain the ITAP. There is no age limit to apply, just that the Indonesian parent needs to be alive.
The process could take 2 to 4 weeks. Regarding costs, Tanda Masuk is free of charge, but there is a cost for ITAP.
Our adult WNA children can choose to live and work in Indonesia. There is no age limit. Your adult child would need to enter Indonesia on a Visa Tinggal Terbatas. After getting an Entry Stamp (Tanda Masuk), he must apply to the local Immigration Office for Izin Tinggal Tetap (ITAP).
Although an adult child from a mixed marriagge (who doesn't have an Indonesian passport) can get an ITAP as the son/daughter of an Indonesian father/mother, he/she will need to get a work permit sponsored by the company if he/she works formally for a company. With the ITAP he/she can work without a work permit in the informal sector or be self-employed.
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In summation, you will find enormous flexibility in the implementation of regulations in Indonesia. Almost everything can be 'worked out', depending on who you know -- or what kind of connections the Indonesian spouse's family has within the bureaucracy. What works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa. It's best to educate yourself thoroughly as to the legal implications of the various steps you take in your quest to establish legal residence in Indonesia.
As one of our readers said it “The laws are stretched left and right beyond belief by Indonesian leaders, enabling multi-billion dollar thieves to get away with it with no punishment in sight. So, a little stretching here and there for personal use and for the sake of one's family, especially when it does not harm anyone, is in my mind okay.”
Groups for Indonesian women with expat husbands:
Portraits of Our Kids - share your kid's pics with the community!
Citizenship Law - Undang-Undang Kewarganegaraan Republic Indonesia No. 12 Tahun 2006 Tentang Kewarganegaraan (Bahasa Indonesia)
Peraturan Menteri tentang Tata Cara Pendaftaran Untuk Memperoleh Kewarganegaraan RI [Download PDF 867 KB]
Peraturan Menteri tentang Tata Cara Menyampaikan Pernyataan untuk Menjadi Warga Negara Indonesia [Download PDF 421 KB]
Bilingual & Multilingual Children's Association - practical guide to raising multilingual children. Expert advice and real world wisdom with parent discussions, tips and articles on kids growing up with multiple languages.
Other interesting websites:
Javanese Wedding Traditions - expat experiences
Addresses of Catatan Sipil Offices in Jakarta (Civil Registry)
Our thanks to Olivier Rula, Marilyn Ardipradja, and other community members for all their help in updating much of this information.
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