What you can and cant do..and advice.

Bank accounts

Foreigners may open accounts legally if they hold a KITAS or KITAP immigration document.
An account is easy enough to open, but the banks will ask for originals of various documents including KITAS/KITAP and your local ID card SKTT/KTP.
Check with the bank as the requested documents have a habit of changing from branch to branch.
Please be aware, opening an account without the proper documentation has been dome in the past but that's mostly stopped as government rules are being enforced.
I've heard of foreigners opening accounts without the documents required by law, but that leaves the account holder in danger of losing their cash if the account is noticed by the powers that be.

Your ATM card is usually instant, but does have restrictions. It can be used with an ATM and for instore purcheses, but you can't use it for telephone or internet transactions.
BNI have a debit card with the 16 digit number available, that taking around a week to make.

Many debit cards don't have international logos so only work in Indonesia but my new BCA card now does, thus it can be used for international, telephone, and internet transactions. These cards are now instant and produced by an ATM like machine in main branches. You have to ask for a card with the logo as the machine will make several types, one just having the Flazz logo, but not the Mastercard version I have.
The security guys operate the machine for you so it's extremely easy to get a new card.

I've had very little trouble because I'm a foreigner but one lady at one BNI branch asks me for my passport for every transaction. She doesn't need it, but she still asks every time.
You'd think she'd remember after a couple of times, but she never does.
If it happens, just smile and show some ID as it's much easier than the argument.

The most popular bank here seems to be BCA, a very good bank with a lot of branches and a lot of ATMs, but those tend to have long queues at busy times. I generally advise using them at quiet times, and a bit of forward thinking allows that.
They also have very good online banking that works very well from the internet or mobile phone app.
I've used both systems without the slightest problem.

BNI is another very good bank, but they have fewer branches and fewer ATMs, but generally shorter queues.
Mandiri is another big player, but I've only used them to pay my daughter's school fees so I can't comment on them as a bank, but their staff are clearly very professional.

More later

Clothes and shoe shopping in Indonesia

The larger cities all have western style shops so clothes and shoes are easy  to find for all but the largest of expats; the small towns present a problem, but one that is easy solved with a little knowledge.
Tailors and dressmakers are all over the place, varying wildly in quality and this is one of those occasions where size doesn't matter.
I've used many small tailors for made to measure shirts and been very pleased with the excellent results, but been equally disappointed with at least one larger posh looking place.
These guys will make anything in any size, meaning even a town with nothing as far as larger western sizes goes has everything you want.
The best way to find the good ones is simply ask a few people and they'll point you the right way.
Average waiting time for shirts has been just a few days, so pretty quick. With smaller shops, you can buy the material from the tailor/dressmaker or buy outside and ask them to make it up, but larger places will only work with material they sell.
Suits, dresses, skirts, trousers, anything you want in available in any size, and you'll be amazed at the very cheap prices in the smaller places. The very posh ones tend to charge very posh prices, but the quality at the best ones is pretty much Savile Row.

Shoes for most westerners are available in the cites, sandals are everywhere, but those of us with very large or wide feet can have a problem. My feet are unusually wide and I have serious issues finding shoes (I did in the UK as well), but some of the open back shoes will fit. Eleven years in and I still haven't found a pair of laced shoes that fit me.
Large and wide fitting trainers are easier to find if you live in a city or larger towns.


If this is of possible interest in your future, do one thing now.
Keep copies of all documents relation to immigration and the police. That means scans of KITAS/KITAP, police reports, driving licences, work permits, and everything else.
Never throw away an old passport or anything else, regardless of how useless it seems when out of date.
You'll be asked for copies of immigration documents and could be asked for any other documents from over the years. I keep them all filed in appropriate folders so I can prove my whole history should anyone ask. The final interviews are long and hard, but folders full of originals with a second folder to give to the panel section make things easier as they can see everything they need.

This is a sensitive subject here but it is possible.
The basics are:

You need to have been legally resident on a KITAS or KITAP for 5 years continuously or ten years on and off (but still have a valid immigration document for the whole period).

No criminal record that was punished by a year or more in prison. (Any criminal record hurts your case.)

There is no Indonesian language test as such but the whole process is in Indonesian (Written and oral) so you need to have reasonable skills.

Being married to an Indonesian is not essential but makes life easier.

If you fit the above, PM me for details.


You'll find Indonesian officials require a lot of paperwork of all sorts to produce pretty much any sort of document, sometimes even asking for very old stuff as has happened to me on several occasions.

1 - Keep every bit of paperwork you ever get from anyone.
2 - Copy any paperwork you're given to pass on to any other office, even if you don't need it.
3 - Scan everything and keep copies on several disks to back them up. I also keep a copy of everything on my phone so I have it with me at all times - That can be handy from time to time, especially as you can bluetooth them to an official's computer and he can print them out.
4 - Keep at least one set of all the main documents in a folder and take them to every meeting where you think you might be asked for anything.
5 - Scan your passport and all immigration stamps and any permits (KITAS KITAP and so on).
5 - Keep copies of all police reports and scan them. These will only be needed in unusual times but I had that late last year and they were very handy.
6 -  Make colour copies of the required documents. You don't have too but they tend to be well received and that can help in difficult situations.

New topic soon

I wish to keep this thread as clean as possible so, if you notice an error, want to add something, or feel something could use more detail, I would prefer you to send it by PM rather than post on the thread.

I will add posts and edit posts as thoughts come into my head or I see them in threads.

I hope this thread helps you and saves you much of the messing around so many new expats have to endure.

Welcome to beautiful Indonesia.


Thanks for all the info you provide, may I just add a little bit.
pre-paid cards can be used for Transjakarta bus, toll-road, parking, shopping at major convenience store (Alfamart & Indomaret mostly), pay gas (Pertamina) and commuter line (greater jakarta railway network).  Just look for the logo. I prefer e-money by Mandiri as it has the biggest network currently, may change in the future. you can buy e-money cards in Indomaret.

As for train (commuter line) make sure you have at least Rp.11000 in the card as currently that is the max fare for the longest ride. If you never use the card for train, you need to activate it by tap it on the red box usually near the loket, or just ask someone in the loket to activate it for you. The gov't is planning to add more stations as part of the network so expect this minimum deposit to go up. The current network goes up to Cikarang on the east (planned until Cikampek), Bogor on the south, Rangkasbitung on the west (planned until Serang).

useful link:
Transjakarta Network Map

Commuter Line Network Map    (keep scrolling down),
Peta Rute (Route Map), Jadwal Perjalanan (Schedule), Info Tarif Perjalanan (Fare info) --> sorry, I'm yet to find the english version

Does this page need to be updated?  I would think much has changed in two or three years.

Thank you a lot for sharing this helpful information. I have just moved to Indonesia and I am trying to get on well with things in here.

JamieConway88 :

Thank you a lot for sharing this helpful information. I have just moved to Indonesia and I am trying to get on well with things in here.

The thread is in need of updating, something I'll do when time allows, but most is still valid.
I do have one problem now as I no longer have any dealing with immigration, thus my knowledge is rapidly getting out of date in that and some other expat related matters such as driving licences.

EDIT 12 April 2018

I'm in the process of updating the thread at the moment but immigration rules are becoming a mystery to me as I have little contact with that department any more.
I've removed some posts and will probably replace them with edited versions including links to local immigration sites (English versions).

Wow Fred, Thanks for this motherload of fine info here for us. Even though I remember most of it, because of the 7 year gap im sure things has changed drastically.

Im looking forward to making a living there and networking more with expats there live when I get the chance to go this year.

I would like to learn more about the entrepreneur side of expat communities there.


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