Getting a driving licence in Indonesia

A step-by-step process

Getting a driving licence in Indonesia

Foreigners holding a KITAS or a KITAP visas are allowed to obtain an Indonesian driver's license - SIM (Surat Izin Mengemudi) anywhere in the country.

Tourists, sosbud visa holders and business visa holders can be issued a SIM valid for 1 or 3 months anywhere where the Driving school is equipped with correct software - Bali, Jogja, Jakarta, Manado, Makassar, etc. You must be at least 17 years old and pass a practical and theoretical test to obtain a driver’s licence in Indonesia.

Similar to the residency visas, an agent can be used to complete the paperwork and it is also common for your employer (if applicable) to contribute to paying the agent for their services. Nonetheless, similar to the visa applications, the process is relatively simple and efficient and can be completed personally.

The best time to apply for a driver's license is as early in the morning as possible, Monday to Thursday and for obvious reasons the offices are busier at the beginning of the month compared to the middle or end. The worst times to go are on Fridays just before noon, when all the employees take a longer lunch break to go to Friday prayer at the mosque, and also just before closing on any day.

Obtaining a Driving licence in Jakarta

1. Go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which is responsible for issuing driver's licenses for residents of Jakarta, Tangerang, Depok and Bekasi:

Satuan Penerbitan Administrasi SIM (SAT) - PAS Polda Metro Jaya
Jl. Daan Mogot Km. 11
Jakarta Barat

Its hours are: 08:00 to 16:00 Monday to Friday and 08:00-12:00 on Saturdays

Please note that if you submit your application before 12:00, it will be processed and completed that day. If you submit your application between the hours of 12:00 and 13:00, your application will be processed for your collection the following day. However, the office stops accepting new applications after 13:00 but continues to process applications submitted earlier that day until 16:00.

You will need to provide:

  • Original passport
  • Original valid KITAS (Temporary Stay Permit) card
  • Valid Indonesian driver's license, foreign driver's license, or international driver's license (as applicable)
  • Photocopies of the identity, entry stamp, and valid visa pages in your passport
  • Photocopy of your KITAS card
  • Photocopy of your current driver's license (from your home country)
  • Doctor's note of good health

You may also be asked for:

  • Sponsor letter from your company/sponsor (with stamp)
  • Copy of Blue Book / POA
  • Copy of your STM - an STM (Surat Tanda Melapor) is a Police certificate which indicates where a foreigner, whether resident or tourist, is residing and for how long for. This means that the foreigners shelter (hotel/wife/friend) must report the foreigners residence within 24 hours.
  • Copy of your SKLD - an SKLD (Surat Keterangan Lapor Diri) is applicable for any KITAS or KITAP visa holder. It is a report to the police of your arrival and must be made within 30 days of arrival.
  • Copy of your SKTT - an SKTT (Surat Keterangan Tempat Tinggal) is a certificate of your place of residence and it must be obtained from the Sub-district Office (Kantor Kelurahan) in your area. This certificate is needed when applying for the SKLD, above, at the police department.
  • Personal letter stating your height, weight, body details, mother's and father's names (no stamp needed)

2. Go to the front of the building and purchase a 'Tanda Pembayaran Permohonan Pembuatan Surat Ijin Mengemudi' slip from from one of two banks on the premises, Bank Rakyat Indonesia or Bank International Indonesia. This slip represents the payment of the official fee.

The cost of the issuing of driving licenses are as follows:

SIM A: new issuance IDR 120.000, renewal: IDR 80.000
SIM C: new issuance IDR 100.000, renewal: IDR 75.000
SIM International: new issuance: IDR 250.000, renewal: IDR 225.000

These are the legal fees that are valid all over Indonesia in any Kantor Polisi that is allowed to issue a driving license. The officials may try to get more money out of you, but stick to your guns as these are the legal prices.

3. Present the bank slip at the adjoining booth and you will receive a copy of the application form (Surat Permohonan SIM).

4. Complete the SIM form, which is only available in Bahasa Indonesia, and proceed to the foreigners window, (Loket Orang Asing). You will be required to give:

  • photocopies of your passport
  • photocopy of your KITAS card
  • photocopy of your valid driver's license
  • bank slip
  • completed application form

5. At another window, your picture will be taken as well as your fingerprints and you will be asked to sign a slip of paper, from which your signature is then scanned. There is a cardboard “donation” box next to the window where you are expected to put in roughly IDR5,000 - 10,000. The attendant may even ask you to give a donation (the equivalent of a forced tip).

6. You will then have to wait in the waiting area. The wait is usually between 30 to 45 minutes long. When your name is called, you can pick up your licence from window 26 or 28, depending on the category licence you are obtaining. Again, you will be expected to give a “donation” of roughly IDR3,000 which is equivalent to US$0.30.

License Classes

A – private passenger or cargo vehicle, with weight allowed not exceeding 3,500 kg (must be at least 17 years old)
B1 – private passenger or cargo vehicle, with weight allowed exceeding 3,500 kg
B2 – cargo vehicle, semi trailers and other large rigs, over 1.000 kg
C – motorcycles (must be at least 17 years old)
D – special vehicle for disabled person

Additional fees can include a IDR 50,000 fee if a license is a new issuance and the driving pupil has used the help of a simulator. For both a first issuance or a renewal, a medical certificate from the police doctor is mandatory and is usually charged anything from IDR 20,000 to IDR 25,000.

Foreigners are issued driver's licenses valid for one year from the date of issuance and are only allowed to obtain Class A licenses (private vehicle) and Class C licenses (motorcycles).

Although it is fairly easy to obtain a driver's license, it may be somewhat difficult to adjust to the driving conditions that exist in most major Indonesian cities. Streets are very congested, traffic rules are ignored and roads are often in less than desirable condition - all of which results in a very stressful situation.

Because of this most foreigners elect to employ a driver. Even if you do have a driver, it is wise to have an Indonesian driver's license for those occasions when your driver is off or an emergency occurs after your driver has gone home for the day.

If you are on a sosbud visa or any short term visa kunjungan, you may be entitled to have a 3 month SIM issued under your name. Please note that not all POLDA will issue it - we've only heard of people successfully getting this license in Bali. If you are a KITAS holder you will have a one year SIM A or C issued.

If you are a KITAP holder, holding a KTP Asing (not hard to get), you will have a five years SIM A or C issued.

International drivers' licenses

International drivers licenses, called SIM International in Indonesia, have varying validity periods: one, five and 10 years. It is recommended to get the longer versions, as though they cost more, you will avoid the hassle of the renewal process. Legitimate international drivers license issuers require a valid national license as the basis of the international license. Make sure you always carry both cards when driving to show proof of national/international licenses.

Renewing your driver's license

Extending/renewing your driver's license is a fast and easy process. First, you must go to the Department Motor Vehicles on Jl Daan Mogot in Jakarta. Consequently you must take a very brief eye test in the building on the edge of the parking lot then you go into the main building with your expired driver's licence and other ID (best to bring Passport or KIMS and a photocopy of both). If you have all of the necessary documents, you will be finished in roughly 30 - 60 minutes. The total cost for renewal is Rp. 20,000 and the eye test is fee.

A special note for motorcyclists

There is a regulation in Indonesia that requires all people riding motorcycles to wear an Indonesian National Standard (SNI) helmet. If you are caught without one, the official fine is Rp 250,000.

Further reading

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