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Making a Drivers License
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 written theory test (in Bahasa Indonesia) and the practical test.
Search for the 2012 regulation regarding the Issuance of Driver's Licenses. See also SatuLananan.id
July 2016 update - We've were receiving reports that some expats are being told that a KITAP is required to apply for an Indonesian Drivers' license. This is NOT true.
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.
As of April 2017, Licensing offices were telling new applicants that agents are not allowed to assist applicants. This ruling changes over the years back and forth.
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:
Satuan Penerbitan Administrasi SIM (SAT) - PAS Polda Metro Jaya
Jl. Daan Mogot Km. 11
Hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday, 8:00-12:00 on Saturdays
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:
- Original passport
- Photocopies of the identity, entry stamp, and valid visa pages in your passport
- Original valid ITAS (Temporary Stay Permit) card or diplomatic documents
- Photocopy of your ITAS card
- Valid Indonesian driver's license, foreign driver's license, or international driver's license (as applicable)
- Photocopy of your current driver's license (from your home country)
- Doctor's note of good health - "Surat Keterangan Doctor" - This can be issued by the police for an extra fee (Rp 25,000) if you don't have one from your doctor.
You may also be asked for:
- Sponsor letter from your company/sponsor (with meterai)
- Copy of Blue Book / POA
- Copy of your STM
- Personal letter stating your height, weight, body details, mother's and father's names (no meterai needed)
2. Go to the front of the building and purchase 'Tanda Pembayaran Permohonan Pembuatan Surat Ijin Mengemudi' slip from cashier's office on the premises. 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:
- SIM A: new issuance IDR 120,000, renewal: IDR 80,000
- SIM C: new issuance IDR 100,000, renewal: IDR 75,000
- SIM Internasional: new issuance: IDR 250,000, renewal: IDR 225,000
- See 2016 updates on fees
Expedited services - including photographs taken, could be up to Rp 850,000 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 these are the legal prices.
- A – private 4-wheeled passenger or cargo vehicle, with weight allowed not exceeding 3,500 kg (must be at least 17 years old)
- B1 – private passenger or cargo vehicle, with weight allowed exceeding 3,500 kg
- B2 – cargo vehicle, semi trailers and other large rigs, over 1,000 kg
- C – for two-wheel motor vehicles - motorcycles - which are designed for a speed of over 40 km / hour (must be at least 17 years old)
- D – special vehicle for disabled person
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 costs from Rp. 20,000 to Rp. 25,000.
3. Present this proof of payment 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:
- photocopies of your passport
- photocopy of your ITAS card
- photocopy of your valid driver's license
- proof of payment slip
- completed application form
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). Diplomats and KITAP holders can get a 5-year drivers license.
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, or a diplomat, holding a KTP Asing (not hard to get), you will have a five-year SIM A or C issued.
In the written test, 21 out of 30 questions must be answered correctly to pass. In larger license offices the test may be offered every 30 minutes or so throughout the day. The questions for this theoretical (written) test are provided in Bahasa Indonesia; occasionally it's been offered in English, but you can't count on it!
The theoretical test, if failed, can be repeated in two weeks time (a maximum of two times). If the applicant failed the theoretical test, you will have to wait to take the practical test on the the day of the theoretical re-examination. On the re-examination day, if all your paperwork is in order, you do not have to stand in the line again, nor go through the eyesight test or pay fees again, but can go straight to the test-rooms (with all the original paperwork).
According to a recent test taker: "The practical test takes place right behind the building, takes around ten minutes, no stunts or anything out of the ordinary, easy to pass."
According to a post on the Expat Forum, this was what one expat experienced in his driving test:
- Driving for 2 minutes around the test course to warm-up and for the official to observe driving habits.
- Driving in a zig-zag form (weaving in and out) around 10 pylons (each one around 30 centimeters in height, placed around 2 meters apart) for a total distance around 30 meters. This must be done driving forward through the 10 pylons, then driving in reverse through the 10 pylons.
- Parallel parking into a parking space formed by a set of those pylons
- Backing into a parking space formed by a set of those pylons
- Driving half way up a slope/incline, stopping sedan, setting emergency brake, releasing emergency brake and continuing to the top of the slope; then driving half way down the slope, stopping sedan, setting emergency brake, releasing emergency brake and continuing to the bottom.
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
All renewals that pass the expiration date on the license 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.
Extending/renewing your driver's license before it expires is an easy fast process. Go to the Department Motor Vehicles on Jl Daan Mogot in Jakarta or to the East Jakarta office near the East Jakarta mayor's office. For extension of a still valid SIM you just need to pay at the cashier's counter, then go to the Foreigner's counter andpresent SIM and receipt and wait for the new SIM to be given to you. No longer are payments made at bank counters, but only ordinary cashiers counters inside the building.
So, it is most important to keep a very close eye on the expiry date of one's SIM, as validity of the SIM upon extension is crucial. If late, a brandnew SIM must be applied for.
You will be required to take very brief vision/color blindness and blood pressure tests in the building on the edge of the parking lot. The fee is Rp. 35,000 eye test fee. Only those that pass the exams are allowed to proceed to the next step.
After you pass the exam, 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.
You used to be able to renew your license in the renewal offices in malls, but they are no longer allowed to issue license renewals for expats.
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 to assist you.
If you are late on your renewal, there may be a fine.
International Drivers' Licenses
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. You may be required to hold a KITAP to apply fro an international drivers' license from Indonesia.
Procedure For Making a Driver's License in Bali
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;
2. Copy ITAS ;
3. Police Report (Surat Tanda Melapor);
4. Copy of International Driving License;
5. Good health note from doctor (the Police office appointed a small booth next to police office; go figure who runs this booth) and we paid Rp.25,000,-
6. And a driving certificate! (This one I also strongly believe is run by the police office and located just next to the so-called clinic booth). And you must pay Rp.95,000,-
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 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.
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. Read more in this article - How to get a tourist driving license in Bali.
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
Peraturan pemerintah nomor 60 tahun 2016
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
SIM - Driver's License (Surat Ijin Mengemudi)
STNK - Surat Tanda Nomor Kendaraan (official vehicle identification number)
BPKB - Buku Pemilik Kendaraan Bermotor (official vehicle registration book)
PBK - Pajak Kendaraan Bermotor (vehicle licensing tax)
POLRI - Polisi Republik Indonesia - Indonesian national police
Our thanks to the many community members who contributed updates to this information over the years.
Last updated July 26, 2019.