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Getting an Indonesian Driving License

Conditions for being issued an Indonesian drivers license

Two types of driving licenses are allowed foreign nationals:  The SIM A (for cars and vans), and the SIM C (for motor bikes).  SIM stands for Surat Izin Mengemudi and simply translates as “driving license.”

According to Indonesian law: UU 22 tahun 2009 pasal 81 dan pasal 83:
The holder of a driving license (SIM) is required to fulfill the following requirements:


ISSUANCE & EXTENTION of a Driving License (PP No. 44/1993 pasal 223 & 224)




Which foreign nationals are eligible for a driving license in Indonesia?


VISA Sosial Budaya or a VISA of Visitation - entitled to a three month driving license (SIM)
NOTE: some foreigners holding this VISA have reported being refused a SIM.  Check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
VISA KITAS – one year for either SIM A or SIM C
VISA KITAP – valid for five years for either SIM A or SIM C
KTP Asing (Kartu Tanda Penduduk Asing- Foreigner’s National ID Card) – valid for five years for either SIM A or  SIM C.  NOTE:  The KTP Asing is a special ID for foreigners and can only be obtained if already holding a KITAP, which is a Permanent Residency VISA.  The KTP Asing is not a VISA, per se. It is a foreigner’s equivalent to the KTP, or National ID Card which is issued all Indonesian citizens 17 years and older.



Sosial Budaya VISA holder- three months
KITAS holder- one year
KITAP holder- five years
KTP Asing- five years

For Embassy or Consulate staff and their families, the license is good for five years.


Special One-Day License  
This is a current offering as applies only to Denpasar, Bali.  Fee is around Rp. 100,000.  Your photo is taken and the license is usually issued the following day.


An International Driving Permit (IDP) can be used to drive in Indonesia if it is accompanied by a valid country license.  There are reports that Indonesian police sometimes don’t accept the IDP as valid, but these instances are very rare.  As a signatory to the international IDP conventions, Indonesia is mandated to accept the IDP.

The IDP is valid for twelve months from date of issuance.  It can be used to rent a motorbike or car in Indonesia.  Remember that the IDP serves to back-up the pre-existing national license on which it is based.  If the national license is valid for a motor bike, then the IDP only applies for driving motor bikes.  The same goes for cars.

International convention states that the bearer of an IDP need register the permit with the police before using it in any foreign country.  From all reports, that rule is ignored in Indonesia.

Due to its one year expiration date, the IDP is not really designed for foreigners who are temporary or permanent residents of Indonesia.  The common practice for long term foreign residents is to get a SIM.  The SIM is the popular choice for foreign residents partly because it is so easy to obtain.

The IDP should be obtained in a traveler’s home country before traveling.  It is generally easier, cheaper, and more convenient to do it at home than abroad. An IDP can  be purchased in Indonesia.  See below for details on how to do this. 

The caveat with this last point is the following:  and IDP as issued in Indonesia will validate driving in Indonesia, but outside of the country one may find it invalid.  Due to Indonesia’s poor driving record and road conditions as compared to international standards, some countries don’t accept an IDP issued in Indonesia.







When the foreign holder of a SIM returns to their native country, they must report to the same SATPAS (Department of Motor Vehicles) where they obtained their license and return it.  If you don’t return the license, this will not hinder you upon departure from the country, but if you ever return and reapply for a new license, the non-return information might be held in computer records and negatively affect your eligibility. 


Where do you go to apply?

The Indonesian Department of Motor Vehicles is an office administered by and located in the greater local police bureau, or POLDA (Polisi Daerah, or Local Police).  The official office is Satuan Pernibitan Administrasi SIM, or known more commonly as SATPAS.

Whether you are an Indonesian resident or staying temporarily, you must report to only the SATPAS in the POLDA office that serves your area of residence.  People you know in the neighborhood will be able to direct you.


The fee structure for foreigners is current as of June 2010:


For a first-time driving license, a fee of Rp. 50,000 can be charged if a driving simulator is used for the driving test.

If a doctor’s certificate is processed on site, this will charged as an extra fee.  Expect to pay Rp. 10,000 to Rp. 25,000.

NOTE:  If the fees requested vary considerably from what is stated here, expect something is amiss.  You should inquire and let the authorities know that you are aware of the fees involved.  As always, remain polite, but be firm about it. 

PROCEDURE :  First Time Application for a Driver’s License (SIM)

General Considerations

SATPAS offices are often only open until noon, so it is best to report early.  8:00 AM is recommended.  The whole process shouldn’t take more than two or three hours.

As compared to most common legal processes a foreigner is likely to experience in Indonesia, obtaining a SIM is one of the simplest and clear cut. 

Always check first with you local SATPAS before applying and confirm that the information presented here pertains to their local procedures and requirements. The following outline is given as step-by-step for ease of understanding, but it is general and may not be specific to the local SATPAS you find yourself dealing with.

For example:  Some SATPAS require that the license fee be paid in a bank before reporting to the Department of Motor Vehicles.  This is reported as true in regards to at least one SATPAS as found in Jakarta.  You might be required to purchase before hand what is in effect a money order or Tanda Pembayaran Permohonan Penbuatan Surat Ikin Mengemudi (Payment Alert for Making a Driving License) from Indonesia’s national bank, Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), or from Bank International Indonesia (BII).

Otherwise, the following procedure can be expected.  Note that you will be directed as to each step by one or more police officers.  Many times this entails reporting to a specific window, or Loket as known in Indonesia. Usually Lokets are numbered, and you may be told to “go to Loket No. 2”, for instance.  Just go with the flow as directed by police personnel.  

NOTE:  The procedure that follows applies both to the SIM A and SIM C.   If applying for a motor bike license (SIM C), or car (SIM A), you will most likely be provided one or the other vehicles by SATPAS in order to take the driving test.  Prior to application, do check on this detail with your local SATPAS, though, as there might be a possibility that you must bring along your own motor bike or car as driven by another licensed driver.  Local practices always apply!


As with any legal process as takes places in a bureaucratic setting in Indonesia, you may be asked for a “tip, donation, or extra fee.”  If asked to make a free donation as deposited in a box, you might consider doing so, especially if you have been treated respectfully.  Donations are part and parcel to customary exchanges given Indonesian cultural practices.

But if an individual police officer makes a private request for cash to be given him or her directly, this should be considered corruption money or a bribe.  Simply remain polite and refuse.  Explain that by law you are only obliged to pay the nominal fees as stated in the fee section above.  Usually this will quiet the officer.  If not, you can demand to see a higher official or state that you will write an official letter of complaint.  Official written complaints carry clout and are something most officers will try to avoid having filed against them!

You can always choose to pay the bribe, but given the licensing process requires you deal with several personnel, they may be encouraged to ask for money as well.  You can loss your standing and respect by paying any bribes at all.  In short- one bribe leads to another!


According to Indonesian law:

When applying, a foreign applicant must submit the following documents:



NOTE: part of this procedure requires a written driving test!  As no handbooks are available, there really is no good way to prepare for it, but it is short and designed more to test reading skills than anything else.  It is available in Indonesian and English, but not in other languages. Just apply common sense as knowledge of specific laws is not really required. By all accounts it is extraordinarily rare anyone ever fails this test.


This is an extremely easy process:

Procedure for Getting an International Driving License

If you already have an Indonesian SIM and wish to obtain an International Driving License, check-out the following as detailed by the Australian Embassy web page:
In Jakarta, an International Driving license can be obtained at IKATAN:
IKATAN MOTOR INDONESIA (IMI, or Indonesian Motor Club)
Stadion Tenis Senayan, Jakarta Selatan
T: +62 21 573 1102.

General requirements to apply for an International License at IMI are:


An International Driving License can be obtained at:
Pelayanan Samsat (Vehicle Tax Service) Building
BPKB section
Jl. Cok. Agung Tresna no.14
Renon, Denpasar

Report to Loket: Service Window for Foreigners

Opened: Monday through Thursday and Saturday, 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM
                Friday, 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Closed: Sunday and public holidays.
T: Foreign License Service 



As is common to any Indonesian legal process that involves foreigners, an agent can be hired to help expedite getting a driving license.  In fact, if you are employed as a foreigner worker, your employer made provide you with such an agent.  Most likely this would be helpful, especially if the employer does this routinely and pays for the service fee! 
Private services known as Biro Jasa (Service Bureau) are a common source for such agents.  If you do decide to personally hire an agent, you will only need to give them the required documents and appear at the Department of Motor Vehicles only to provide a signature, have a photo taken as well as fingerprints.  Though the law requires a driving and written test, it is reported by some that sometimes the use of an agent bypasses these steps.  Never assume that this will be the case, though!  But if it is the case, assume your fee will be exorbitant as part of it is undoubtedly going into the hands of the police who in return will “overlook” the testing part of the requirements.
Expect to pay at least double what you would otherwise pay if applying by yourself, and possibly more.  Many foreigners don’t bother considering the use of a hired agent as obtaining a driving license is relatively quick and simple.

As mentioned, the most trusted information is available at your local regional police office.  These offices are numerous and very easily found.  Make sure, though, that you ask for those police offices that issue a SIM, as there are many levels of national police!  It is the POLISI DAERAH (or POLDA) or local police that you want to contact. In Bali they use the term POLTABES.  It is confusing, but the locals will help you most immediately if you simply ask, “Where do I apply for a SIM?”

Some Department of Motor Vehicles Offices:


Jl. Gunung Sanghyang 110
Denpasar, Bali
Cell phone:  +6281337617172

NOTE: Calling is really not very helpful unless you speak the language very well over the phone.  It might be difficult to believe, but is not uncommon for phone calls to go unanswered by the police! Whether requesting information or applying for a license, it is best to show up in person during business hours. And the earlier the better!

International Driving Permit

As mentioned above, you can apply at the following for an International Driving Permit:

IKATAN MOTOR INDONESIA (IMI, or Indonesian Motor Club)
Stadion Tenis Senayan, Jakarta Selatan
T:  021-573-1102.

Pelayanan Samsat (Vehicle Tax Service) Building
BPKB section
Jl. Cok. Agung Tresna no.14
Renon, Denpasar
T: Foreign License Service 

There is an online application for an IDP for those seeking to get a SIM while in Indonesia.  It is in Bahasa Indonesia, and you might need to use an internet utility for translation.