Updated 10 months ago

Moving to Indonesia may take many months of planning, especially when it comes to obtaining the correct visas and finding the perfect accommodation. However, there are ways to make the move easier, with a little bit of foresight and help from the experts.

Many expats tend to relocate to the sprawling metropolis of Jakarta or remote mining areas for business, or they seek a more laidback way of life on popular islands such as Bali. However, a lot about your move will depend on your lifestyle choices, family commitments, and work requirements.

To streamline the moving process, it often helps to make a to-do list of all the relevant tasks that you need to accomplish before you move to Indonesia. To start with, this list could include the following examples:

  • Visit your doctor to discuss medical requirements.
  • Ensure all passports and visas are in order.
  • Rent or sell your property.
  • Organise insurance.
  • Decide what you wish to ship to Indonesia, and what can be put in storage, sold, or given away.

Hire a removal company

When it comes to shipping your belongings over to Indonesia, a professional and reputable removal company should be able to do most of the hard work for you, making your move as stress-free as possible. Most big companies can handle your delivery in a door-to-door capacity, and many have the facilities to keep your belongings in storage in Indonesia until you have moved into your new accommodation and are ready to receive them. They will also provide packing materials for you, and they should be able to keep you fully informed about updated import and customs regulations.

To find a removal company that meets your needs, you can search reviews and websites on the internet or request advice from contacts in Indonesia or on expat forums. Prices may vary depending on the company or the nature of the services, and you will need to provide details such as the volume and weight that you wish to transport, the desired mode of transport, and both the origin and destination addresses. Most companies will be happy to provide a free quote before you make any decisions, so it's a good idea to get recommendations and then call various specialists to find out what they offer and at what cost.


All shipments undergo a physical inspection by customs at the air terminal or sea-port where they arrive, and a reliable removal company should help to ensure that all necessary paperwork is complete in order to speed up the process. Be aware that air shipments take an average of 5-8 working days to receive clearance after arrival, while a full container load of a sea shipment can take about 10-12 working days.

Foreigners moving to Indonesia will need to submit the following documents in order for the Indonesian customs department to clear their shipments:

  • Your work permit (IMTA), which needs to be valid for at least 12 months, or a copy of your electronic residency permit (ITAS), which must be obtained within 14 days of your arrival
  • Your passport, with valid arrival and residency stamps
  • A copy of your boarding pass
  • The original bill of landing, or airway bill
  • Inventory list

Each family is only allowed one air shipment and one sea shipment, which must arrive within 3 months of their arrival date in Indonesia, or duties and taxes will be applied after this timeframe. All items should have been used for at least one year, and any new or prohibited items will incur duty charges if discovered by customs.


During an international move, there are sometimes unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances that need to be mitigated. It is therefore important to ensure you have suitable insurance to cover your belongings in the event of any accident, mishandling, or other damage that may occur to your goods while in transit. Ensure that your chosen insurance policy also covers the period that your belongings are in storage in Indonesia, and be prepared to purchase an extension or additional insurance to make sure that you are fully protected for as long as need be.

It is also important to prepare a detailed inventory that states the value of all your household items, and it's advisable to value your possessions based on their approximate replacement value at your destination country. You may also wish to take photos of your goods for your own reference, especially if they are very old or valuable.

 Useful links:

FEDEMAC - Federation of European Movers
FIDI - International Federation of International Removers

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