Getting an Indonesian Driving Licence

Understand the procedure for first timeĀ applications for an Indonesian drivingĀ licence (SIM)...

The Office of Motor Vehicles or Satpas offices are usually only open until 12:00; it is best to arrive as early as possible, by 08:00. The process should not take more than two to three hours.

A person should always check first with their local Satpas before applying for a SIM and confirm that the information they have pertains to their local Satpas' procedures and requirements, as local practices always apply in Indonesia.

Documents required

A foreign applicant must submit the following documents:

  • Passport - original and photocopies of the identity page and visa page
  • Permanent Residence Certificate of Registration or Surat Keterangan Pendaftaran Penduduk Tetap (SKPPT) - proof of residence in Indonesia which shows a foreigner's current address as registered with the Catatan Sipil (the local mayor's office or administrative unit)
  • Doctor's certificate
  • Valid driver's licence, either from the home country or an international driving licence - both the original and a photocopy

Procedure

Some Satpas' require that the licence fee is paid into a bank account before reporting to the Office of Motor Vehicles - for example in Jakarta. In this case, a person gets a money order or Tanda Pembayaran Permohonan Penbuatan Surat Ikin Mengemudi (Payment Alert for Making a Driving Licence) from Indonesia's national bank, Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), or from Bank International Indonesia (BII).

If applying for a car (SIM A) or motorbike licence (SIM C), Satpas usually provides a vehicle in which to take the driving test. Prior to application, check on this detail with the local Satpas, as a person may have to provide their own motorbike or car driven by another licenced driver. Local practices always apply.

  • Report to the specific window, or loket. Usually windows are numbered
  • The application form 'Request for a SIM (Surat Permohonan SIM)' must be filled in. It is written in Indonesian. An official will help with translation
  • Do the written test which should be available in English
  • A driving test follows, usually in the police parking lot. A vehicle or motorbike should be provided by the police, unless Satpas states otherwise
  • A police officer enters the application data, takes a person's picture with a digital camera, and scans signature and fingerprints
  • The licence is issued in the office. After processing, the applicant's name is called out so the licence can be collected

Driving licence fees

When applying for a driving licence there are certain fees that have to be paid for new licences and for licence renewals. There are also fees for the driving test and for a doctor's certificate if this is processed on site.

In Indonesia, fees can vary; in a situation where fees vary considerably, ask the authorities to verify the fees. Be polite but firm.

A foreigner may be asked for a "tip, donation, or extra fee". If asked to deposit a free donation in a box, consider doing so as donations are part of customary exchanges in Indonesian culture.

If an individual police officer makes a private request for a fee, this should be considered differently. Remain polite and refuse. Explain that by law a person is only obliged to pay the fees required. Should the officer persist, ask to see a higher official or state that an official letter of complaint will be written. Letters of complaint do carry weight.

The licencing process requires that the applicant deals with many people, each of whom may feel encouraged to ask for a fee if a first fee is paid.