The banner headline of the very impressive TV advertising campaign that tries to hook potential investors to take the path to BKPM, the Indonesian National Investment Board. Indonesia is indeed a wonderful and fascinating country, but not without its headaches and bureaucracy.
The most common topic of conversation amongst the expats normally surrounds the availability or existence of the so-called KITAS or temporary stay permit. Lately also the discussion of the phenomenon of the KITAP (the permanent stay or five year permit) arises.
“Does he or she have her KITAS yet?” is a frequent question. It is an obsession bordering on the British obsession with the weather! KITAS is actually an overused generic expression amongst the expat community and is often mixed up with work permit (or IMTA).
Anyway, the interest as to whether somebody can live here in Indonesia and /or work here, and do so in the knowledge that they are doing so perfectly legally, is a national fascination with the foreign workers. However, the existence of the stay and work permits are only part of the requirements for an expat and the purpose of today’s article relates to the much less understood “Police and Civil registrations” and not to either KITAS, KITAP nor IMTA.
It is often not appreciated that all expats in Indonesia require a collection of additional registrations (quite separate from KITAS/KITAP and IMTA) in order to live a legal and carefree existence here. They are laden with abbreviations – SKLD, STM, SIM, SKSPS, KIP, KTP – but whether it is the short version or the long Indonesian name, these are all documents that are needed to live here.
Each expat needs to obtain the following for a full and complete legal stay in Indonesia:
- National Police registration card (SKLD)
- Local Police registration (STM)
- Population registration certificate (SKSKPS)
- Certificate of residence (SKTT)
- Indonesian Identity card (Temporary = KIP. Permanent = KTP)
- Report at Central Registry (Lapor Keberadaan)
- Tax card (NPWP)
- Indonesian Driver’s license (SIM), only if you drive yourself in Indonesia
The need for these is often neglected, forgotten, or just plain ignored, but they are absolutely essential. Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. In fact, there can be very serious consequences for anyone who decides to flaunt the law of this great Republic.
A classic example is the simple SIM, or Indonesia driver’s license. At a recent lunch meeting, I asked the people around the table who drove themselves in Jakarta. Five of the six were drivers. Of these, one had a current SIM, two had expired licenses, one confessed to never bothering to apply and the last person had never heard of a SIM (believing that they could drive on an international license).
Many drivers in Jakarta believe that the lack of a current SIM can be easily dealt with at road side. A small fine should solve the issue. Solved for the price of a couple of beers. However, it is a little known fact that if a driver has an accident, the fact that the license has expired (or worse still, never existed) can completely negate the insurance.
This means that an expat can end up with a seriously damaged vehicle, or embroiled in a nasty or fatal incident, and have no cover for the car, nor support from insurers. That would be an uncomfortable discussion with the President Director the following morning! At best it would be costly. At worst it could be catastrophic.
Moving swiftly along, another little known fact is that the humble SKLD (the National Police Foreigners Registration Card) is a requirement of Immigration. When someone obtains the much sought after KITAS, by law they must obtain a SKLD within 14 days. If not done, he or she is in breach of the KITAS and they can have the stay permit cancelled and be forced to leave the country. Additionally, the sponsor can be held liable for this breach and can be subject to a fine of Rp.55,000,000!
Ignorance of the other civil and police registrations can also lead the guilty party into any number of awkward and expensive problems that can be easily avoided. The list is too long to write here.
The message is loud and clear – if you ignore or neglect the importance of these lesser known regulations, you or your company (or both) are seriously exposing yourselves to danger. Maybe many years ago these problems could be solved by “negotiation”. Nowadays this is simply not the case, or has gotten more difficult.
Make sure that your “ducks are in a row” and obtain through an agent all the paperwork that you need to stay, work and have a peaceful life in Remarkable Indonesia.
If not, wait for that knock on the door…