Expats living guide to Indonesia

Expats living guide to Indonesia

Indonesia has a variety of homes that are available for rent or lease by expatriates who are either permanently relocating there or are only in the country for a few years.

On this occasion, arsdesain.com share articles guide for expatriates planning to move to Indonesia.

Here is the content of this article:

  • Education: Fees & Expense
  • Education: Indonesia Education System
  • Education: Student Visa
  • Education: Types of Schools
  • Overview of Indonesia: Indonesian Government & Economy
  • Overview of Indonesia: The People & The Environment
  • Things I can do in Indonesia: Entertainment & Recreation
  • Things I can do in Indonesia: Food and Dining
  • Things I can do in Indonesia: Places of Interest
  • Things I can do in Indonesia: Shopping
  • Things to do in Indonesia: Indonesian Expat Communities & Clubs
  • Where to Stay: Buying property in Indonesia
  • Where to Stay: Indonesian Homes
  • Where to Stay: Renting property in Indonesia
  • Where to Stay: Serviced Apartments
  • Working in Indonesia – KITAS Visa
  • Working in Indonesia: Introduction
  • Working in Indonesia: Job Hunting

Indonesia 01

Education: Fees & Expense

Expatriates with children tend to incur more costs during their stay in Indonesia on account of school and their related expenditures. The cheapest alternative is always to integrate the child in a public or national “plus” school.

However, expatriates who prefer to have their children in an international school in an effort to maintain their cultural or language ties will need to consider the schools fees and miscellaneous expenses that come with it, all of which depends on the school they ultimately choose.

The average cost of a good International school can range anywhere between US$9,000 to US$20,000 a year, not inclusive of miscellaneous costs like uniforms and tuition fees. For instance, the Jakarta International School costs about US$20,000 annually and the tuition fees range anywhere between US$6,900 to US$20,500 in addition, per year.

The British International School costs anywhere from US$8,000 to US$20,000 a year excluding fee such as administration and transportation.

Cheaper international schools would be schools like Sekolah Pelita Harapan, Global Jaya and ACS-STB whose primary grade of 1 to 5 is about US$9,000 per annum.

Related expenditures come in numerous forms, be they application fees, tuition fees, uniforms, examination fees, transportation and others depending on the school. Most of these additional costs are easily circumvented such as transport and tuition but the others are often times mandatory additional costs such as registration fees.

Education: Indonesia Education System

The Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Indonesia handles all issues pertaining to education in the nation. All Indonesians are required to fulfil nine years of compulsory education; six years at elementary and 3 years in junior high school.

Kindergarten is available for children at the age of 2 but it is not required. Its aim is merely to prepare them for primary school. Primary school or Elementary School (Sekolah Dasar or SD in Bahasa) is attended by children 6 to 11 years old.

Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (MI) is the Islamic equivalent to SD and provides an alternative to parents who prefer to have their children focus on syllabuses that are more Arabic and Islamic oriented.

While the constitution states that Indonesians do not need to enter senior high school to gain employment, those that do so can undertake in a SMA school (university-preparatory school) or a SMK (vocational school) which prepares them for professional and higher employment.

Madrasah Aliyah (MA) is the Islamic equivalent of SMA, and Madrasah Aliyah Kejuruan (MAK) the Islamic equivalent of SMK.

Further tertiary education comes in the form of universities, institutes, academies and polytechnics. Tertiary education is also categorised in a public and private type, both of which are supervised by the Ministry of National Education.

Expatriates who enrol their children in the public schools will effectively ensure their children assimilate better into society. They will be able to learn and adapt to Bahasa Indonesia far more proficiently while mingling with the locals.

Education: Student Visa

Before students can apply for a visa to study in Indonesia, they need to ensure that first and foremost all necessary fees have been paid in advance and also hold a letter of registration from the relevant educational institute in Indonesia.

Obtaining a student visa is a three-stage process of which the first step involves acquiring a social/cultural visit visa. The student visa can only be issued once the foreign student is physically in Indonesia.

The social/cultural visit visa is a single-entry visa and is only valid for a maximum of 60 days. Once in Indonesia, the student must apply to the Immigration Head Office to convert their social visit visa into a student visa.

Tourist visas are not convertible and therefore not valid.

Students will also need a stay permit, more commonly known as a temporary or limited stay permit. Typically, the Student Administration Office at the respective university or college will be able to assist with this.

If all steps are taken and verified, a Regional Immigration Office will issue the student visa and the temporary stay permit. Both are valid for 12 months and up to only four 12-month extensions can be granted.

Education: Types of Schools


During the colonial era, the Dutch had established an educational system, at first restricted to the Dutch and later available to native Indonesians. The types of schools that are currently in Indonesia reflect that initiative.

As of now, Indonesia has a Public School system that encompasses the compulsory Elementary and Junior High School level, Senior High School and Tertiary Schools. There are also International Schools and Special Schools.

International Schools

There are many international, private and foreign system schools that cater to the expatriate community in Indonesia. These schools offer expatriate children the option of pursuing an education in a system akin to that of their country of origin.

The criteria for admission to these schools differ with each institution such as nationality requirements or language proficiency.

Below is a list of international schools in Indonesia.


ACG International School

Jalan. Warung Jati Barat No. 19(Taman Margasatwa), Ragunan, South Jakarta

Tel. (62-21)780-5636

Fax (62-21) 781-4827

Email acgjkt@acgedu.com

Website www.acgedu.com

Global Jaya International School

Emerald Boulevard Bintaro Jaya Sektor IX Tangerang 15224

Tel. (62-21) 745-7562

Fax (62-21) 745-7561

Email sekolah@globaljaya.com, admission@globaljaya.com

Website www.globaljaya.com

Jakarta Japanese School

Jalan Elang, Bintaro Jaya Sektor 9, Perigi Lama, Tangerang Banten

Phone (62-21) 745-4130

Fax (62-21) 745-4140

Email jakarta@jjs.or.id

Website: http://www.jjs.or.id/


Australian International School

Jalan Kerobokan Raya No. 44, Banjar Taman, Kuta Bali 80361

Tel. (0361) 734 936, 734 937

Fax (0361) 732 209

Email bali@ais-indonesia.com

Website www.ais-indonesia.com

National Plus Schools

In the mid-1990s, the Indonesian Department of Education and Culture began development of a type of private school that came to known as national “plus” schools. These schools are known to offer education that go beyond the national accreditation and requirements of Indonesian law.

National “plus” schools typically offer some subjects taught in English rather than native Indonesian. It may also have some native English speakers as part of the teaching staff as well as offer international curriculum like the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) or the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).

While it may seem similar to International Schools, national “plus” schools are really more for Indonesian students. However, expatriates have the option of enrolling their children in these schools as some of these not only offer international curriculum but utilize English as a means of communication.

These schools are also an excellent alternative to the more expensive international schools if the expatriate’s sponsoring company will not cover education cost.

Enrolment in most Indonesian Schools begins in April of each year for a July admission.

Below is a list of some recommended national “plus” schools in Indonesia.


Sekolah Pelita Harapan (SPH)

SPH TK Pluit

Jalan Taman Pluit Barat I No. 1, Jakarta Utara, Indonesia

Phone (62-21) 6660-3652

Fax (62-21) 669-5341

Email pluit@sph.ac.id

Website www.sph.edu

Springfield International Curriculum School

Taman Permata Buana, West Jakarta 1 & 2 and Jalan Alternatif Cibubur, Raffles Hills, Cimanggis, Depok, South Jakarta

Email pr@springfield.sch.id

Website www.springfield.sch.id


Sekolah Ciputra

Puri Widya Kencana, CitraLand, Surabaya, East Java

Tel. (031) 741-5018

Email info-sc@ciputra-sby.sch.id

Website www.ciputra-sby.sch.id, www.pyp.ciputra-sby.sch.id and www.highschool.ciputra-sby.sch.id


Sekolah Bogor Raya

Perumahan Danau Bogor Raya (Bogor Lakeside), Bogor, West Java 16143

Tel. 0251 8378873

Email admissions@sekolahbogorraya.com

Website www.sekolahbogorraya.com


Penabur International School

Jalan Bahureksa No. 26, Bandung, West Java

Tel. 022-4210787

Fax. 022-4210788

Email: info.pis@bdg-bpkpenabur.or.id or admission.pis@bdg-bpkpenabur.or.id

Website www.bpkpenabur.or.id


Sekolah Nusa Alam

Jalan Pantai, Meninting 83355, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB)

Tel. +62 (0)370 647514 / 647510

Fax +62 (0)370 647514

Email nusaalam@yahoo.com

Website www.nusaalam.com

Public Schools

Public Schools in Indonesia encompass the Elementary to Tertiary level. While expatriates have a choice of attending privatised International Schools or tertiary institutes, there is currently no prohibition on expatriates enrolling their children in a public school as early as 6 years old.

The school year is divided into two semesters. The first semester begins at the start of July and ends in December while the second semester starts in January and concludes in June.

Kindergartens are available at ages 4 to 6 and serve as a bridge to 1st Grade Elementary School at age 6. There are 6 grades totalling 6 years of Elementary School and the child would move to Junior High School at age 12.

Junior High School is another 3 years and the child legally and officially completes the mandatory school term by age 15.

Senior High School is available from age 15 and is another 3 years. By the time the 12th grade has concluded, the child will be 18 years old and applicable for post-secondary education in a tertiary institute, be it private or public university/college.

There are 5 different degrees in higher education namely Diploma 3 (D3), Diploma 4(D4), Strata 1(S1), Strata 2(S2) and Strata 3(S3).

Below are some of the more well-known and established universities in Indonesia.

Institut Teknologi Bandung

Jalan Ganesha 10, Bandung, 40116, Jawa Barat

Tel: +62 (22) 423 1792

Website: http://www.itb.ac.id/

Universitas Indonesia

Universitas Indonesia, Kampus Depok, Depok 16424, Jawa Barat

Tel: +62 (21) 78880139

Website: http://www.ui.ac.id/

Universitas Gadjah Mada

Kampus Bulaksumur, Yogyakarta, 55281, Yogyakarta

Tel: +62 (274) 562 011

Fax: +62 (274) 565 223

Website: http://www.ugm.ac.id/

Special Schools

Expatriate with children that have special needs can enrol them in a separate school called Sekolah Luar Biasa (Extraordinary School) or an inclusive school.

Currently most of the special needs schools are centralised in areas such as Jakarta and Medan. The government has plans to restructure and convert more public schools into inclusive schools to better accommodate children with disabilities that require less attention and care.

Overview of Indonesia: Indonesian Government & Economy

Indonesia is a unitary republic state with a presidential system. The President serves as the head of state, commander-in-chief of the Indonesian National Armed Forces as well as director of domestic governance, policy-making and foreign affairs. The President also appoints a council of ministers who are not required to be elected members of the legislature. The elected President may only serve two consecutive five-year terms.

The People’s Consultative Assembly or MPR is the highest representative body at national level and its main purposes are in supporting and amending the constitution, swearing in the president as well as formalizing the outlines of state policy. It retains the power to impeach the president in the post-Suharto regime. Within the MPR are two sects; the People’s Representative Council or DPR and the Regional Representative Council or DPD. The DPR has had an increased role in national governance since the 1998 reform and its duties involve passing legislation and monitoring the executive branch.

The DPD serves as a form of regional management.
There are several courts of law in Indonesia that handle specific issues. Civil disputes appear before a State Court and appeals are handled by the High Court while The Supreme Court attends to final cessation appeals as well as conduct case reviews. Another court, The Commercial Court handles bankruptcy and insolvency.

Indonesia has 33 provinces and each province has its own political legislature and governor. Each province is segmented into regencies and cities and subdivided further into districts and again into village groupings. Post 2001, the regencies and cities are now the main administrative units that are responsible for providing most of government services while the village level administration handles civil issues pertaining to a village or a neighbourhood.


The Economy

Indonesia has the largest economy in South-East Asia and is a member of the G-20 major economies. It is of a mixed economy where both the private sector and government play substantial roles.  Indonesia’s industry sector boasts the largest growth in the economy with 46.6% of GDP in 2010. It is followed by services at 37.1% and agriculture at 16.5%. The service sector accounts for 48.9% of the total labour force while agriculture follows with 38.3%.

With extensive natural resources such as crude oil, natural gas, tin, copper and gold,  Indonesia exports and imports actively to several countries. Its main export markets since 2009 are Japan, Singapore, the United States and China.
Its major imports are machinery, chemicals, fuels and foodstuffs and its largest suppliers of imports are Singapore, China and Japan.

Overview of Indonesia: The People & The Environment

Indonesia has a population of 237.6 million according to the 2010 national consensus with a high population growth of 1.9%. There are 300 native ethnicities in Indonesia and 742 different languages and dialects. Only six religions are officially recognized by the Indonesia government; Islam, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Protestantism.

Despite not being a Muslim state, Islam is the largest and most practiced religion in the nation.
Indonesia’s cultural identity is hugely influenced by Indian, Arabic, Chinese and European cultures. Indian or Hindu culture traditionally has had the most influence on Indonesian architecture and arts and it is visible in the traditional Javanese and Balinese dances such as the wayang kulit or shadow puppet performance. However, Chinese, Arabian and European influences have also been significant.

Indonesians speak Indonesian which is considered a form of Malay, also known as a prestige dialect of Malay. It is taught in schools and is the native language of every Indonesian regardless of ethnicity.

Indonesia 02

The Environment

Indonesia has a tropical climate with a mixture of Asian and Australasian fauna and flora species. The climate in Indonesia varies little from day to day. There is occasional rainfall and predictable dry season of June to October and a rainy season during November to March. The nation’s relative humidity ranges between 70 to 90%.

Foreigners who have yet to be acclimated to the heat and humidity during most months should avoid thick clothes and instead dress simply.


Getting Around

All transport modes play a role in Indonesia’s transport system. Road transport is the predominant form with systems like buses, taxis and personal vehicles meant for domestic and professional travel while the railway system has four unconnected networks in Java and Sumatra meant for the transportation of bulk commodities as well as long-distance passenger travel.
Sea transport is utilized for domestic and foreign trade as well as economic integration.

Air transport is integral as it allows the populace to travel from one major city to another in Indonesia quickly. It also opens the doors for domestic and economic travel between tourists and professionals.

Things I can do in Indonesia: Entertainment & Recreation

Indonesia is a juxtaposition of thriving metropolises and vast stretch of natural environments. Amidst sprawling cities like Jakarta and Surabaya, Indonesia is home to about 150 volcanoes and about 17,508 islands.

There is a good mix of natural elements in this burgeoning nation and it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to do in Indonesia.

And some of these recreational activities come in the form of boating, scuba diving, surfing, volcano trekking, island hopping and jungle trekking.

There are eight regions where surfing takes place in; Sumatra, Java, East Bali, West Bali, Mentawai, Lombok, Sumbawa and East Indonesia. Indonesia has numerous beaches as it is the largest archipelago in the world, and the most famous of those beaches is Bingin Beach.

Volcano trekking, on the other hand, is an extreme and exotic sport adrenaline junkies can indulge in. The Semeru mountain in Java, which is the largest volcano in the state offers daredevils a chance to take a step into one of the most wild and untamed environments of nature.

Scuba diving off the coasts of Indonesia in places like Bali is sure to delight the most enthusiastic diver. Sharks, tunas, mantas and many other beautiful creatures populate the seas.

Boating in Indonesia is one way to take in most of the nation’s exotic locales, while island hopping and jungle trekking are also favourite recreational past times for expatriates and foreigners.

Recreational activities aside, Indonesia’s bustling cities promote a wide range of entertainment, after-hours and otherwise for expatriates. Within the cities, there are numerous malls that come with cinemas that screen not only local films but also the latest from Hollywood. Expatriates need to make sure the film is in English or at least have English-subtitles though as some tend to be dubbed in Bahasa Indonesia for the convenience of locals that may not understand English well.

Art enthusiasts can always check out the traditional Indonesian performances such as the wayang kulit (shadow puppet play), Gamelan music in addition to Western ballets and plays.

Indonesia has also been touted as having the best clubbing scene in Asia with Blok M, a district in South Jakarta being very popular among expatriates. Clubs such as X-Lounge to Stadium, expatriates have a wide range of upscale to underground clubs to patronize.

Yet, wherever they go in Jakarta, expatriates need to keep in mind that a dress code is strictly enforced in the city. No shorts or slippers are allowed in Jakarta and during the month of Ramadan, all nightlife places end at midnight while some operations close for the entire month.

Things I can do in Indonesia: Food and Dining

Indonesia is ethnically rich. It is a melting point of numerous ethnicities, not only from parts of Asia but from Europe, Oceania and the US. Food as such, reflects this amalgam of cultures in Indonesia and it helps to break the expatriate into their new country of residence by providing them with what they’re familiar with while offering them traditional alternatives at the same time.

The general diet in Indonesia is rice, also known as nasi in Bahasa. The most popular food here is nasi goreng or ‘fried rice’. Seafood is also a regular feature on menus in restaurants in Indonesia.
Indonesians have a preference for spice in their food and local delicacies like nasi ayam penyet (Flat Chicken Rice) are hugely popular for its spiciness among Asians outside of Indonesia.

There are also many Western restaurants and fast food outlets like Macdonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut. Some popular dining places among expatriates are Black Cat Jazz and Supper Club (Cajun/Creole cuisine), Emilie (a French restaurant), Maroush Restaurant (Middle Eastern, Lebanese, Moroccan and Turkish cuisine fusion) and Rustique Grill & Wine (European cuisine). These restaurants and more are located in and around Jakarta.

In Bali, beach restaurants are quite popular. Expatriates in the Kuta region can enjoy affordable food at the Bianca Restaurant & Bar, Kopi Pot, Queen’s Tandoor and Un’s Restaurant at Kuta Beach.
At Legian Beach, Bali, expatriates can patronize places such as Mama’s German Restaurant, Ryoshi and Zanzibar.

Things I can do in Indonesia: Places of Interest

Indonesia has many tourist hotspots, from its white sandy beaches to jungles to ancient shrines and deep caves, there is a little something for everyone and expatriates settling into the country should take the time to visit some of these places. As Indonesia had been occupied in the past by Indians, Javanese, the Dutch and even the Japanese at different points in history, it is a rich and vibrant collective of antiquity for the region.

In Bali, a thousand year old holy sanctuary known as Besakih or Mount Holy resides. It is considered the most holy and biggest temple of all the Balinese temples. Goa Gajah is another place and it is a large cave temple which is believed to have been built as a monastery in the 11th century.

In Jakarta, expatriates can tour Taman Mini. It is basically a truncated version of 26 provinces (the remaining province miniatures are being built) complete with culture items unique to each province for the convenience and education of Indonesia to the expatriates and foreigners.

The Ragunan Zoo is about 30 minutes taxi ride from Jakarta city and it boasts an impressive display of animals such as the endangered orang-utan as well as Indonesia’s native species, the Komodo Dragon.

A vast country, Indonesia has many more places of interest and as a new resident of this nation, expatriates have a lot of time and opportunity to explore at their leisure one of the prime jewels of Asia.

Things I can do in Indonesia: Shopping

Expatriates new to Indonesia and Asia in general will find shopping to be a slightly different thing here. Goods are noticeably cheaper and the entire populace encourages haggling as part of the process. In fact, other than luxury items from boutiques owned by brands such as Versace, Gucci, Armani and others of that like, it is advised to barter at the local shops to get the most out of the shopping experience.

One method is to quote a counter-offer of 40% of the price and work toward a 50%:60% ratio between the consumer and the seller. The trick is to start slow and allow the shopkeeper to bring up the price to about a third of half of the original quoted price.

There are a lot of traditional crafts and handiwork to be found in Indonesia. From hand-woven Batik items such as shirts and scarves to intricate carvings and sand sculptures, expatriates will find a wealth of Indonesian local products everywhere.

Bali is the best place to go for local arts and crafts goods while the bigger cities such as Jakarta and Yogyakarta are more commonly associated with mainstream and luxury brands. Lombok and Surabaya are popular for hand-woven cloths and traditional textiles.

Most expatriates find Bali to be the pinnacle of shopping as it not only promotes a large variety of goods but the quality is also usually very good.

Goods can be found in a variety of shopping malls or pasars, or market in English. Pasars tend to offer a lot of goods that can be cheaply purchased if haggled properly. Malls like Glodok Plaza in Chinatown are more known for their electronic goods and prices in places like this are more or less set in stone.

Plaza Indonesia in Jakarta is one of the more popular malls and it is filled with shops and boutiques from well-known brands such as Versace. Plaza Senayan in the Jakarta Business District has a Sogo and Metro departmental store as well as a few cinemas.

Indonesia is a large country with a plethora of options when it comes to shopping. The expatriate will be able to easily purchase a number of household goods and personal effects without incurring much cost.

It is therefore advisable to go with a friend who is aware of the Indonesian shopping scene if the expatriate is newly arrived in the country.

Things to do in Indonesia: Indonesian Expat Communities & Clubs

Relocating to a foreign country can be a daunting process. Not only are family and loved ones left behind, but also a familiar way of life. Therefore, it is important for the expatriate to seek out like-minded people in his new country of residence and form new friends and communities to help assimilate into the Indonesian way of life.
Below is a list of some of these communities & clubs.


Jakarta Players
A non-profit community theatre organization that is open to children, teens and adults of all nationalities.
Contact: Sharon Sobotka jakarta.players@yahoo.com

Nordic Club Jakarta
Membership is open to Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, Danish and Finnish women or men and their spouses. The club is for the Nordic people to socialize at monthly coffee meetings and other gatherings, assist newcomers to Indonesia as well as volunteer for charity work in Jakarta.
Website: www.nordicclubjakarta.org


Solo Expatriates Association
Membership is open all men, women and children of all nationalities living in the Solo area of Bali.
Tel: (0271) 712-344
Fax: (0271) 741-824
Email: Michael Micklem, Vice Secretary, michael@armadaorient.com, armadaor@indosat.net.id


Surabaya Wine Society
Open to men and women of all nationalities
Website: www.surabaya-wine-society.com
For more information on communities & clubs in Indonesia, head to this website: http://www.expat.or.id/orgs/community.html

Where to Stay: Buying property in Indonesia

While the Indonesian government has plans to allow foreigners to directly buy apartments or commercial property around the third quarter of 2010, currently as of June 2011, foreigners/expatriates in Indonesia still have no legal way to purchase property or land wholly.

Foreigners are able to own condominiums, just not the land upon which it stands. It is therefore easier for foreigners to purchase apartments and such in high-rise buildings that come with a strata title.

They may ‘own’ property through an Indonesian friend where the Indonesian is the legal owner while the foreigner is the ‘rightful owner’. While attractive, this is advised against by lawyers as there is no legal way for the foreigner to fight his case in the event the other party reneges on the contract.

However, if the foreigner is set on attaining property this way, there are 2 types of legal avenues he can take advantage of; the above mentioned method of owning property through a trusted Indonesian friend or through a Convertible Lease Agreement.

Convertible Lease Agreement is somewhat similar to the first method, although this process requires official paperwork and an appointed party, which is an Indonesian representative to whom the land will be legally owned by. The agreement states that if and when the prevailing laws and regulations allow the Lessee to become legal owner of the apartment/strata title unit, both the Lessor and Lessee will be obligated to sign a Deed of Sale and Purchase whereby the title shall be transferred to the foreigner owner.  In the meantime, the legal owner will acknowledge that the rightful owner, who in this case is the foreigner, will have the right to do as he wishes with the land, so long as it falls within the
government guidelines.

However, it is in the best interest of the foreigner to insist that Hak Pakai (which is rights to facilities but not ownership) is in their respective names. A developer with the Hak Bangunan will be able to provide this and foreigners need to ensure this is met to prevent any potential default on the deal from the appointed party’s side.
If the expatriate is married to an Indonesian, these methods are then a lot safer.

Where to Stay: Indonesian Homes

Indonesia has a variety of homes that are available for rent or lease by expatriates who are either permanently relocating there or are only in the country for a few years.

Indonesia’s main cities like Jakarta and even Bali have a variety of housing types. There are serviced apartments/temporary housing that foreigners who are just getting into the country can live in while they wait for their companies to secure a more permanent accommodation.

Foreigners are able to procure leasehold apartments, flats, estates (suburban dwellings) and townhouses.
Foreigners are advised to take into consideration several things while choosing a home and a location.

Cities like Jakarta are extremely busy and as roads may get congested during peak periods, it would be best to seek out accommodation that is close to the work place or school if moving in with children.

While independent brokers come with a wealth of on the ground knowledge and information on properties in Indonesia, they are hired by landlords whom pay them a commission upon leasing off a property. Thus, expatriates and their respective companies need to be mindful as massive fluctuation in prices may vary from broker to broker.

Those seeking housing in Jakarta can peruse the Jakarta’s Shopper’s Guide. It is a collection of independent housing brokers that have been recommended by expatriates.

Colliers International is another alternative while seeking for corporate housing services. Their goal is to expressly serve the needs of the expatriates and their sponsoring companies and is committed to finding the best deal possible.  Colliers International will take an entire inventory of the property such as repairs and upgrades according to the needs of the expatriate and his company.

Where to Stay: Renting property in Indonesia

Serviced apartments are an excellent temporary residence for the foreigner who is only in the country for a short time or the expatriate waiting for their household goods to be cleared from customs and for KITAS to be issued. Most of Indonesia’s serviced apartments have a wide mix of facilities that cater to the young and/or working professional. Gymnasiums, swimming pools, badminton courts, squash courts, spas, barbeque pits, parking lots and much more are readily available.

By choosing a serviced apartment situated near the workplace, such as in Jakarta, Surabaya and even Bali, expatriates will not only have amenities like shopping malls, shops, diners, markets and more, but a good chance of familiarising themselves to the neighbourhood.

Serviced apartments are a frugal investment as they cost less than a condominium apartment or a hotel room for extended stay but possess all the necessities and atmosphere one would expect from a home.
Renting property in Indonesia is as simple as finding a good real estate agent or independent broker. While the laws prevent foreigners and expats from owning homes outright, but there are many places like serviced apartments, condos and even houses that are for available for rent.

Expatriates need to approach these agents and brokers with the same trepidation as they would if buying a home. Always ensure that the brokers and agents are recommended by other expatriates who have been in the country longer.
Expatriates could potentially alleviate any issues by approaching Colliers International prior to entering Indonesia as they are a company that is reputable and trustworthy.

Where to Stay: Serviced Apartments

Indonesia has some of the most affordable serviced apartments in the world that are not only well designed but also well furnished. These apartments are found in every major city and are a favourite short-term or long-term dwelling for foreigners new to the country.

Below is a short list of some of the more popular serviced apartments in 3 of the more common cities.


Somerset Grand Citra
Jalan Prof Dr Satrio Kav 1, Jakarta, Indonesia
Ascott Jakarta, The Golden Triangle
Jalan Kebon Kacang Raya 2, Jakarta, Indonesia

Somerset Berlian
Jalan Permata Berlian V, Jakarta, Indonesia
Jakarta Premier Cozmo OAK
Jalan Lingkar Mega Kuningan Blok E.4.2, No. 1, Jakarta, Indonesia


Graha Residen Serviced Apartments
Jalan Darmo Harapan 1 Surabaya, Surabaya City, Indonesia

Ts Suites
Jalan Hayam Wuruk No 6 Surabaya, Surabaya City, Indonesia

Somerset Surabaya
Jalan Raya Kupang Indah, Surabaya, 60189


Astana Kunti Suite Apartment & Villa Bali
39 Dewi Saraswati Street Seminyak Bali, Indonesia

The Seri Suites Bali
Banjar Umalas Kauh Jalan Umalas 1 42 Kerobokan Kelod Kuta Utara Bali, Indonesia

Beach Melati Apartments & Coffee Shop Bali
Jalan Padma Utara 10 Legian Bali, Indonesia

Grand Balisani Suites Seminyak
Jalan Batubelig Beach Seminyak Kuta Bali, Indonesia

Working in Indonesia – KITAS Visa

KITAS is given to the expatriate who is being employed as an ‘Expert’ worker for a company (company must be an Indonesian company or registered in Indonesia) and is considered to be a limited stay visa. If the expatriate is joining an Indonesian spouse in the country, that spouse can sponsor the expatriate and KITAS merely becomes the first step to full citizenship. In terms of a company, only foreign companies that are investing a large amount of money in the country can apply for KITAS.

Regardless of the intention of applying for KITAS, it is a necessary step to take before the expatriate can legally lease a home in the country. Until such time that KITAS is approved, the expatriate will have to live in temporary dwellings. His household goods will also be held by customs until KITAS has been finalised and approved. The process should take about 30 days.

Below are the items required for the application.
The sponsoring company is required to prepare and produce these documents:

  • Copy of the company’s act
  • Copy of the company’s locality letter
  • Copy of the company’s tax number (NPWP)
  • Copy of the company’s business license letter (SIUP)
  • Organisation structure
  • Copy of the employee contract (for companies employing foreigner)
  • Copy of the director’s identity card
  • Copy of the report to the labour department adapted by UU no. 17, 1981
  • Copy of the KTP of an Indonesian work colleague
  • 20 company letter heads, signed by the company director, and sealed with the company stamp

Personal documents the foreign applicant will need to produce:

  • Copy of the foreigner’s passport
  • Curriculum Vitae and references
  • Passport sized photographs with red backgrounds (4 x 6 = 21 pcs, 3 x 4 = 8 pcs, 2 x 3 = 6 pcs)

Additional documentation if moving with family:

  • Copy of the wife’s and children’s passport
  • Copy of the marriage certificate
  • Copy of the children’s birth certificates
  • Passport sized photographs (4 x 6 = 12 pcs, 3 x 4 = 4 pcs, 2 x 3 = 4 pcs)
  • Copy of the family register

Working in Indonesia: Introduction

Indonesia is a nation with a booming economy and fast developing industries in trade, agriculture, education, information technology, manufacturing, services and media. While the government’s policies dissuade a company from hiring an expatriate for a job an Indonesia can do, there are still several options available for those who wish to work in the country so long as they meet certain requirements.

Government policy states for a foreigner to work in the country, they must be an ‘expert’ in their field. This simply means an individual is expected to have 5 to 10 or more years of relevant experience in his or her field, therefore precluding fresh university graduates from working in the country.

However, with Indonesia’s continued trading with English speaking countries like the United States and Singapore, English is being taught as a secondary and important subject. As such, native speakers from the US, UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand that teach English and have official qualifications from credible institutions are automatically considered an expert in the field of teaching English regardless of experience and are able to obtain jobs in the education sector quite easily.


Applying for Visas & Work Permits

For a company to hire an expatriate it is required by law to obtain permission from the government and if the application is approved, the expatriate is then issued a work permit. Once the work permit is approved, the company can then apply for a semi-resident visa for the person.

For more information on how to obtain a Visa in Indonesia, please proceed to http://www.learn4good.com/travel/indonesia_visa.htm#doc

Common careers for expatriates in Indonesia
Most expatriates are either relocated by their respective companies to Indonesia as part of overseas placement and the overseeing of businesses in the region or are investors that have offices in Indonesia. There are also a number of career diplomats assigned to the foreign embassies in the country.

Most expatriates come to Indonesia as teachers or English language speakers/trainers.
Others participate as Aid workers in international organizations or come as Missionaries.

Working in Indonesia: Job Hunting

Looking for jobs on the internet in Indonesia is difficult as Indonesia is not an information-based society. Therefore the best way to go about seeking a job is to send out resumes to as many people as possible. Expatriates need to unlearn tricks familiar to an information-based society and focus instead of rudimentary methods of obtaining interviews; via networking and word of mouth.

Expatriates also have the option of joining an expatriate business association and are encouraged to attend as many functions as possible in order to hand out personal name cards and network with the local populace in the professional sectors.

While the information may not be as easily available in Indonesia, the internet can still assist and expatriates can post their resumes on several job forum sites on the internet. They can also contact a Jakarta Executive Search or Recruiting firm throughout Asia for potential openings. While there is no firm in Jakarta or Indonesia as a whole that deals specifically with expatriates for Indonesian companies, it may be possible to obtain a position from another company from Singapore or Hong Kong that are looking for new hires for their offices in Indonesia.

Last but not least, it is crucial for expatriates to familiarize themselves with Bahasa Indonesia as it is the nation’s native and 1st language and it used in all manner of life there, be it personal or professional. An expatriate that speaks the language has a slightly better chance of being hired or short listed for a position than one who does not.

Source: rumah.com









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