Close

Naturalisation and citizenship in Indonesia

Hello everyone,

What are the requirements for acquiring citizenship in Indonesia? For example, length of residence, language requirements, employment etc..

What formalities are involved in the process?

What is the policy on dual-citizenship in Indonesia? Do you have to give up your former nationality?

What are the advantages and benefits of acquiring Indonesian citizenship, in your opinion?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Bhavna

First thing to note is this is considered a sensitive subject in Indonesia and information is very difficult to find.

The basic requirement is 5 years continuous or 10 years on and off but with valid visa the whole time.
Even one day out of the country turns the five years into ten.

The process is easier if you're married to an Indonesian but can be done by those who are not.

I know the whole process but I won't post it here as it would be inappropriate to do so, but I will discuss it by PM with anyone seriously interested.

A note of importance to anyone considering this - To gain Indonesian citizenship you must renounce your citizenship of any other country/countries.

I'm happy to go with the KITAP path for an eternity for my wife and children  however I truly cannot envisage giving up my Australian citizenship.  That may sound a little red necked but both our kids are dual citizens and it remains their decision alone when they turn 18.  Me- I'm staying an Aussie and I know my wife may dream of being a dual citizen but local regulations do not permit it. As for her permanent residency in Australia- that's just a formality and a few bucks for the paperwork. I love Indonesia - but not enough to become one of her citizens. I'm an expat til I pass from this world 😊

The choice is down to the individual and the Indonesian government.
An application might well be rejected for a number of reasons and the process is something you have to give a great deal of thought to as it can change a lot of things, the biggest probably being the loss of your other citizenship.
It really depends on your circumstances.

Who in their right mind would want to become an Indonesian citizen by choice? Well perhaps if you come from a totally repressive regime like NK or Pakistan, perhaps even the Congo.

But otherwise people go there either because of money, love or culture (Bali takes in most of these).

Now if Bali were a country by herself, I'm sure many would.

ssangel :

But otherwise people go there either because of money, love or culture (Bali takes in most of these).

Now if Bali were a country by herself, I'm sure many would.

The rest of Indonesia has everything you mentioned. I know several people who have taken citizenship, mostly now operating businesses and doing very nicely for themselves.

It would generally be a poor idea to seek any kind of residency in a country that is perceived to be hostile to such applications. Even wife and kids would receive welcome in so many countries with greater resources and citizens want to share.

It is true it is kind of a drag in business not having suitable government arrangements to allow independent investors and businessmen, especially not seeking employment (in fact providing employment) to be so inconvenienced. Actually, travel agents handle the hassle easily, but with budget travel, this is not possible.

Being from "Asean countries origin", 30 days visa is granted upon entry- so the hassle is lowest

But Fred, I would deeply appreciate a PM at xxx helpfully listing out what only a person like you would know. Also, your gentle view of Indonesian peculiarities is always a source of amusement and worthy of introspection by all authorities with a "less than humble" view of themselves. Thank you

Moderated by Sarvesh 4 months ago
Reason : Do not post your contact details on the forum for security reasons.
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

I'm pretty sure any honest comments on this particular blog may find the author in hot water with the authorities. As previously commented, the issue is sensitive and information difficult to obtain- does one ask why? I'd prefer not to ask that obvious question which is why I will (and others) choose to keep their current affiliations. For those wishing to obtain citizenship in Australia, the information and guidelines are freely  available on the Government website. Great to hear some have chosen the leap and made a success of their new affirmation. Perhaps a blog of less sensitivity may be the order of the day.

Actually, life can be a terrible affliction if one was to have reservations on persons in our environment. If one sticks by the truth and operates honestly it is unlikely that people on this blog find umbrage with responses.

Actually, the problem is actually individuals within the society are always seeking life solutions or wealth that is a problem. I have spoken softly and without rancour when I have criticisms and find only responses in sympathy, even at senior levels in government.

I guess only religious sensitivities are high. Also because of insensitive remarks made globally against a general religious group, in the majority in Indonesia. So really Indonesia is lovely in all respects of freedom, except commentary on religious matters.

Maybe, what Superadave says reflects only those sensitivities.

It is difficult to live too long in any environment when one believes that we should be suspicious there are people looking to leap on us for the smallest indiscretion.

Those seeking wealth by illegitimate means while being within positions of power especially in government are able to pick on just a mole on your face to say you are in the wrong and deserve to pay money to deserve avoidance of penalties customised to suit your deviation.

For that matter in Singapore (perceived lacking in KKK), there is also corruption, some legislated as well. But for princely sums not imagined in Indonesia. But it is only in business or of big value.

So try to avoid such worries and concern of the environment in respect of being reported especially within the group called "Expats" though there are many locals. They are not the only ones susceptible to gossip or using exchanges of information with affected parts of government.

So be happy to give true help to aggrieved and sets of affected persons. Anyone can seek to offer details by PM, the way Fred sets us an example. Be free and happy that you are in an environment that attracts you. I guess religion has an emotional impact so discussions should be strictly private.

Supadave :

I'm pretty sure any honest comments on this particular blog may find the author in hot water with the authorities. As previously commented, the issue is sensitive and information difficult to obtain- does one ask why?

The issue stems from colonialism, something that's still strong in this country's collective memory.
Indonesia isn't hostile to naturalisation, just careful.

narilulla :

Also, your gentle view of Indonesian peculiarities is always a source of amusement and worthy of introspection by all authorities with a "less than humble" view of themselves. Thank you

I fell in love with Indonesia pretty quickly. I was used to a place where drugs were a massive problem and you looked out of your window every morning to check your car was still there and intact.
The local potheads would smash windows and steal the stereos for their smoking money - pretty bloody terrible.
I didn't see any graffiti for the first three years I was here and crime in my host area was almost nothing. I recall the local intel copper looking seriously depressed one day on reviewing the crime figures and finding out there had been over 20 crimes in the area that month. He was asking what Indonesia was coming to with so much crime.
I had to explain why I laughed but in my old dump of a place the crimes hit 20 or more 5 minutes after midnight every day.
Jakarta and the surrounding area has a far greater problem but it's nothing when compared to 'home'.
The woman next door to my mum had three kids, no marriages and she knew who two of the fathers were. Now add the wild kids from such people wandering around doing as they liked and you have an environment I didn't much like.
There's hardly any of that rubbish here and I like it that way.

I'd being looking through some serious rose coloured bit of glass if I claimed Indonesia didn't have issues but this place wins by a mile when compared to the UK.

I do not use forums and so I have to ask you the procedure to use PM without email address which is barred> thank you for guidance.

"I had to explain why I laughed but in my old dump of a place the crimes hit 20 or more 5 minutes after midnight every day."

:D really funny, and maybe little unbelievable?

Its true the other communities make bad jokes of the Sikhs from Punjab, that they seem to go crazy on the stroke of midnite. It's a joke unfairly targeted at Sikhs, who had a history of siding with the colonials.

But this one by Fred is really a new one! Not the Sikhs in the UK, right! :P

narilulla :

"I had to explain why I laughed but in my old dump of a place the crimes hit 20 or more 5 minutes after midnight every day."

:D really funny, and maybe little unbelievable?

Neither funny nor unbelievable - sadly.

South Yorkshire police issue crime numbers starting with the date then the number of the reported crime in order.
If you call at 9 in the morning the number will easily be in the hundreds.


rubbish, isn't it?

Hello Fred

For  KITAP also its the same process?? I am working on KITAS from last two years and KITAS will be renew again for 1 yr, I have no intention of marriage anytime soon, so is the same 5 Year rule apply for KITAP ?? I understand once KITAP issued for next 5 yrs we are free from KITAS annual renewal..

chrisandarian :

Hello Fred

For  KITAP also its the same process?? I am working on KITAS from last two years and KITAS will be renew again for 1 yr, I have no intention of marriage anytime soon, so is the same 5 Year rule apply for KITAP ?? I understand once KITAP issued for next 5 yrs we are free from KITAS annual renewal..

That process is entirely separate from naturalisation save the KITAP is a step towards it.
Working and marriage are treated in different ways but as I have never formally worked or held a work permit I'm unaware of the rules covering a KITAP for work.
Luke might possibly be able to assist but that's for another thread.

Not an option for most people if any. Too difficult to qualify. Seems the government do not want long stay foreigners and deliberately make it difficult regardless of the fact that foreigners bring much needed revenue into the country. What are the government afraid of ? Haven't worked that one out yet.

The requirements aren't all that hard to fulfil but you do need to prove you have good reason and are committed for whatever reason.
They don't give citizenship out like candy.

You have to understand the long term history and general political situation here to see the reasons behind all of this.

Even in Australia working visa (referred to as a 457) is a sensitive issue for governments and communities for those non nationals wanting to work in-country. It is also difficult to obtain and many an overseas resident wanting to emigrate has been turned away because of their intended job role. Working at Freeport the immigration matters are dealt with by the local immigrasi office and the companies on site that employ technical advisors for mining roles. Many advisors reside outside of Indonesia. We shouldn't unfairly mark Indonesian nationalism with being obstructive.

Supadave, why not?  " We shouldn't unfairly mark Indonesian nationalism with being obstructive." Obstructive is obstructive regardless of reason. This is just one example of many. Been there done that and its obstructive. Would it be so hard to delete the option? Of course it would because the option has to be there to show there is no obstruction. However, making a successful application is impossible. You can make it all look above board but I am sure there are many would be applicants for this and other visa types other than tourist visa, business visa, etc that will tell you from first hand experience don't waste your time and money. Sorry but I am a well qualified professional engineer who tried for years and was constantly refused. I gave up in the end. Tell the truth for a change and be damned

Big McC :

Obstructive is obstructive regardless of reason.

However, making a successful application is impossible.

Tell the truth for a change and be damned

I'm a tad confused but you seem to be talking about citizenship applications.
If you are, you're incorrect as I know it can be done and has been done by people I know personally so I know I'm 100% accurate on this issue.

The process is deliberately hard but not obstructive as such, it's just they want to make sure the people they allow the privilege of citizenship to are going to be good citizens. They accept applications from anyone that meets a pretty simple set of requirements but those people have to prove they have good reasons to apply and are willing to work for the prize. No one rips up applications, hides them in a drawer for 5 years, deliberately loses them or attacks you with vicious dogs when you walk into the offices to make an application.
There are limitations but all are perfectly fair and reasonable.

Big McC :

What are the government afraid of ? Haven't worked that one out yet.

Read up on Indonesia's history as a Dutch (and British) colony and the independence struggle, then take a peek at post 1945 politics along with the issues of today. You might also like to review UUD 1945 and proklamasi.

A few hours of reading will give you a pretty fair idea of what's what.

My point is that in any application (not just this issue of citizenship) being refused or failing the criteria doesn't make the process obstructive. Many of us- there are numerous blogs and questions here on this site as examples- are often confused by the regulations here in Indonesia, but once understood are able to be applied. I can honestly say I haven't been the focus of obstruction as an expat-  rather the opposite here in Surabaya. Finally, there's nothing wrong with nationalism- I'm Australian and proud of it and do scream at the TV when watching the cricket and football playing the U.K., NZ or South Africa. We are all one eyed when our flag is raised 😊. Happy Pancisila Day!!

A brief history of Indonesia written by Tim Hannigan (Tuttle Publishing 2015) is an excellent story that provides a review of Indonesia from the 5th Century to modern times including the post 1945 era. I won't spoil it by telling you the ending but I can say it's great reading for any expat.

Dear Big McC,

A bi8t hard to explain "Obstructive is obstructive regardless of reason" in Bahasa la

It is abstract and remote from the majority of Indonesian lives.

Talk by way of food or survival, and it will get through. Right now those are major concerns
for them. Attracting investments is the goal. Tolerating bule (who attract their ladies) permanent applications is not a goal at all.

Have to live with it and enjoy everything else  :D

Happy here, not planning to surrender my passport anytime soon but who knows in the me to 5 years what will happen.

Happy to start a process of something more concrete here when I feel the time is right which makes no sense after 10 years residing in Jakarta.

Luke how to get Kitap for  someone who is single , working as financial advisor on Kitas , next year i will complete my 3 yrs in Indonesia...Is it possible to apply and get KITAP...

No. I don't believe it is. You company you work for should be able to provide more details.
I have not heard of this happening mainly because you are asking to live here as single forienger and the visa you need has to come from a sponsor. But I could be wrong, I often am. The agents your company uses to get you kitas can tell you what you need to know.

and I also think my point is being missed. Yes, I agree, nationalism is a good thing. I also think that there has to be very good reasons why Indonesia adopts the current policy. But.... If something is black then call it black. Dont deny by calling it something else and providing reasons for not calling it black. The world sees it as black so just take ownership and accept the fact.

Big McC :

and I also think my point is being missed. Yes, I agree, nationalism is a good thing. I also think that there has to be very good reasons why Indonesia adopts the current policy. But.... If something is black then call it black. Dont deny by calling it something else and providing reasons for not calling it black. The world sees it as black so just take ownership and accept the fact.

That is incorrect as there is no obstruction.
The basic rules are very clear:

5 years continuous living in Indonesia or 10 years on and off but holding valid visas all the time
No criminal record where the punishment could be 1 year or more in prison
Mentally and physically reasonable
A level of Indonesian leaving you able to conduct a fairly complex conversation and knowing set pieces.

It's easier for those married to an Indonesian but not impossible for those who are not but their applications take longer for a variety of reasons.

At no point is the process obstructed by anyone but you have to meet the requirements.
If you want to call those obstructive, you have to say the same for pretty much every other country in the world as they all have requirements to meet.

Is Expat.com a government sponsored web site? In any case I give up. I think you will find other countries much more welcoming to foreigners and easier to qualify for residence visa's  eg Malaysia. It is where I settled in the end and brought a lot of foreign currency into the country which was good for their economy. You asked for opinions and I gave you mine based on my personal experience. You have every right to your own opinion. Lets just say we disagree on this point

No, Expat.com is nothing to do with any government. It is a privately owned business based in the Indian ocean with a dozen or so staff and several "experts" or volunteer members in various countries, ordinary people like you and I, but who have been around for quite a long time and who are trusted by the owner of the site to help out with monitoring and giving their own opinion on matters. They have the last word.

All countries have different visa rules and different kinds of visas.  I think Indonesia is more interesting as a place to live because the cost of living is much lower than in Malaysia, people are very nice, and the country is far more interesting. I think the visa process may be a little complicated, but well worth it once it is done.  The visa process in Malaysia perhaps is more simple, I personally don't think so, and a lot of money is needed if you opt for the MM2H in Malaysia.

abdulkhalil :

No, Expat.com is nothing to do with any government. It is a privately owned business based in the Indian ocean with a dozen or so staff .

True.

abdulkhalil :

several "experts" or volunteer members in various countries, ordinary people like you and I, but who have been around for quite a long time and who are trusted by the owner of the site to help out with monitoring and giving their own opinion on matters. They have the last word..

True (ish)

The expert title means we have some rights and powers that ordinary members such as removing posts that don't conform to the site's rules and even banning members but these should only be used in cases where the rules are broken, NEVER to remove posts that disagree with an 'expert' for only that reason.
Apart from being unreasonable to do so, the 'powers' would be removed pretty quickly as they have been in the past, one a couple of weeks ago.
We volunteer because the forum has proven very useful to us over the years and we want to give a little something back.

We don't have the last word on a lot.

abdulkhalil :

I think Indonesia is more interesting as a place to live because the cost of living is much lower than in Malaysia, people are very nice, and the country is far more interesting. I think the visa process may be a little complicated, but well worth it once it is done.  The visa process in Malaysia perhaps is more simple, I personally don't think so, and a lot of money is needed if you opt for the MM2H in Malaysia.

The visa rules in Indonesia are very complex, mostly for the reasons I've mentioned above but it is cheap and it's a very nice country to live in. I've been here a long time now and I can't think of a place I'd rather live.
Malaysia is also a very nice place but their rules are more expensive (as is life there) and the rules are pretty strict as well. I have no idea if they're obstructive in any way because I've only ever had tourist visas there but my extended holidays were pretty great and I found out a lot about the country and its people.
Nice place but it will cost you a lot more to move there and I understand citizenship is hard work.
This thread (Malaysia version) is also on that section so posters can take a look and get a comparison.

Singapore would drive me mad  after a week and I just can't get a grip on Thai food so those two are both out for me.

When it boils down, I don't believe Indonesia is obstructive at all but it has strict rules as do most countries. The paperwork is a killer by anyone's standards but I suppose it depends on how much you want something.
Imagine if they gave citizenship out like free gifts in boxes of cornflakes - What a mess.

Fred pm me about the citizenship/long term visa information.

I dont agree brother, indo is becoming one of the top democratic countries in Asia, naturalization is a part of the basic human right. I cant see this issue is sensitive. Anyone can go to the nearest ham office and enquire simply. Cheers !!

Without too much detail...

Some aspects of this are very sensitive, those being a direct result of the old colonial days and more modern political issues.
You're probably aware of the more 'interesting' views held by vocal minorities regarding nationalism.
Yes, you can pop to the local Hukum HAM but info is still generally kept to the minimum until you prove yourself.
Even the start limits the number of possible application, that being a minimum of 5 years of full time living in this country or 10 years on and off but with valid visas to cover the whole time. One day away in 5 years means the clock goes to 10 years and it restarts if your KITAS/KITAP runs out for any reason.
Other limits include any criminal record you might have in Indonesia and a lot of other factors.
They go deep in order to make sure applicants are genuine and deserve the honour (yes, honour) they grant.

As far as I know, plans for settling down permanently in Indonesia personally I myself wouldn't be a consideration since in this country lots cheating practices. Thank you.

Horses for courses.

Some people will want to go the full monty whilst it doesn't suit others.

Sorry folks, it's just frankly saying based on personal experiences, indonesia, nothing but cheats and *** in it.

Moderated by Bhavna 3 months ago
Reason : Please don't use foul words
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct
New topic

Expatriate health insurance in Indonesia

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Indonesia

Moving to Indonesia

Find tips from professionals about moving to Indonesia

Travel insurance in Indonesia

Enjoy stress-free travel to Indonesia