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8 Tips to Simplify the Work Permit / KITAS Process

Ever since the Indonesian government decided to automate the manpower and immigration systems, we often hear a lot of expatriates complain about the “tough” regulatory requirements, requiring them for instance to have a minimum of 5 years of work experience prior to applying for a local work permit. Many expats assume incorrectly that the government implemented these regulations recently in an effort to make the work permit / KITAS process harder. They think that the Indonesian government is trying to reduce the number of expatriates in Indonesia through tougher regulations.

Well, to be fair to the Indonesian government, these “tough” regulations were actually put in place many years ago, but the government had difficulty enforcing the rules since the work permit application process was processed manually. Just a few years ago many agents in the market were able to circumvent official regulations and deliver work permits and KITAS’ for clients who weren’t able to meet the official requirements. We’ve seen many cases among expats for instance where individuals are registered with the government with job titles that don’t correspond to their real responsibilities but were chosen simply to expedite their work permit application process. Most expatriate employees and their employers were fine with this arrangement, and were happy as long as they received the permits they required.

Today, as a result of automation, the Indonesian government is able to enforce the regulations it has put in place in the past and agents cannot dodge regulations or provide false information without facing serious consequences both for themselves and for their clients. Therefore, it’s important that expats applying for work permits protect themselves by taking steps to understand how the process really works. With this in mind, we’ve prepared a list of tips we think would be very helpful for expatriates going through the KITAS / work permit process:

  1. Use agents or consultants who understand the official government regulations extremely well and can provide assurances that they will not use any unscrupulous methods to acquire your KITAS / work permit.  
  2. Prepare the key documents by yourself or make sure the Company sponsoring you is doing it. Do not leave this to the agents. Whenever an agent is submitting a document on your behalf, make sure you read it and understand what it means. The manpower department now insists that a PIC from the sponsor company is involved in the process (there will be a call from the ministry to this person). The idea is to make sure that sponsoring companies know what they are signing up for.
  3. Insist on signatures from the company PIC (not the agent) on the application. This will ensure that you can review the application before it is submitted into the system by the agent, and will also help ensure that the Company sponsoring you understands the application well.
  4. Make sure the designation and duration sought in the application are suited to the position of the expatriate
  5. Make sure the data is inputted correctly by your agent. Many a times we see mistakes in the minor details (wrong addresses, wrong positions, etc.) which can come back to haunt you when you try to extend your KITAS.
  6. Make sure all official documents which need to be submitted (e.g. Domicile letter, TDP, Wajib Lapor, BPJS, etc) are updated in order to avoid delays.
  7. Make sure your agent provides you with the original versions of the following documents: RPTKA , IMTA (work Permit), ITAS (this is e-KITAS now), Police, and Civil registrations. Most of these documents are required when you need to get an EPO (Exit permit) or a KITAS extension.
  8. Please remember always that since this is a newly automated system there are often some technical glitches at times and so you should plan well in advance. Be ready for an overall time frame of 4-6 weeks for the ITAS to be ready.

We hope you find these tips helpful as you go through the work permit application process yourself. If you require any additional help, or would like to ask us any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us, call us at +62 21 5700 451, or e-mail me at!