Driving or obtaining your driver's license in Indonesia will require some procedures. Here is how to proceed.
Indonesia has a wide and developed transport network which will allow you to travel anywhere in the country. But if you wish to travel alone or with your family, you will probably want to rent a car. Foreigners wishing to drive in Indonesia have to comply with certain regulations, both regarding driving with their foreign driver's license and obtaining an Indonesian driver's license. It is best to inquire with related authorities before proceeding as some particular documents may be required.
International driver's license
If you intend to make a one year stay in Indonesia and drive a car, you will have to obtain an international driver's license prior to moving. Once you are in the country, you will have to get it approved at the nearest police station to your place of residence. If you are planning to stay in Indonesia for more than a year, you will then have to apply for a local driver's license.
Road traffic regulations
In Indonesia, you will have to drive on the left side of the road. Moreover, you must be more than 18 years old to be eligible to driving. Note that it is strictly prohibited to drink and drive. Otherwise, you risk a fine or even imprisonment.
Wearing front and rear seat belts is also compulsory in all four-wheeled vehicles. If you are driving a motorcycle, wearing the helmet is compulsory both for the rider and the passenger.
Speed is limited at 50 km/h in city centers and at 80 km/h on main roads. On motorways, you are not allowed to exceed 100 km/h. As Indonesia has a very rainy climate, speed limits are reduced during bad weather.
Obtain a local driver's license
Foreigners holding a KITAS or Kitap are eligible to apply for a local driver's license, that is a Surat Izin Mengemudi (SIM). You will then have to undergo theoretical and practical driving tests so as to prove your ability to drive.
To apply for a local driver's license, you can either visit the related authorities in person or request your employer to hire an agent in this regard. The latter will be responsible for filling the documents and depositing it at the related authorities’ office on your behalf, but this can be quite expensive. In fact, fees of some 500,000 to 700,000 Indonesian rupiahs will apply.
However, you will have to provide the agent with passport size pictures of you as well as with your fingerprints for administrative purposes.
Good to know:
If you intend to take care of related formalities personally, avoid going there on Friday as most of the staff are likely to take a long lunch break to attend Friday prayer sessions.
If you live in Bekasi, Jakarta, Tangerang or Depok, you can apply for your local driver's license at the Motor Vehicles Department, that is the Satuan Penerbitan Administrasi SIM (SATPAS), located in PAS Polda Metro Jaya, Jl Daan Mogot km. 11.
Documents to be produced are:
- your original passport
- your original and valid KITAS card (Temporary Resident Permit) along with a photocopy
- your original and valid driver's license along with a photocopy
- photocopies of your passport's first three pages as well as of your Indonesian visa
- a medical certificate
- official fees
- your vehicle's documents if you already have one.
Other documents could also be requested. These are the following:
- a stamped letter from your company or sponsor
- a copy of your Blue Book/POA
- a copy of your STM
- a copy of your SKPPT (Surat Keterangan Pendaftaran Penduduk Tetap)
- a handwritten letter stating your height, weight, physical details and your parents' names.
The Tanda Pembayaran Permohonan Pembuatan Surat Ijin Mengemudi serves as acknowledgment of the official fee for obtaining your local driving license in Indonesia. You can purchase it at the Motor Vehicles Department, at the International Bank of Indonesia or at the Bank Rakyat Indonesia.
Types of driver's licenses
There are different types of driver's licenses in Indonesia according to various types of vehicles:
- The A category is especially designed for more than 17 years old drivers for either a leisure or a private vehicle with a maximum of 3,500 kg authorized weight.
- Category B1 is restricted to Indonesian nationals for passenger or transport vehicles with a more than 3,500 kg authorized weight.
- Category B2 which is also restricted to Indonesian nationals driving transport, semi-trailer and large platform vehicles with a weight greater than 1,000 kg.
- Class C is restricted to more than 17 years old motorcycle riders.
- Category D applies disabled persons driving special vehicles.
Good to know:
Procedures regarding the application of an Indonesian driver's license may vary from one SAPTAS to another. Note that you also have to inquire personally on the required documents and fees applied before proceeding.