Expat WNI moving back to Indonesia and needing to ship personal effects?

LeslieKnope

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NOTE: This is a re-post from what I typed up for another forum, and the info was up-to-date as of the time of original writing, January 2012.

I thought i'd share my experiences shipping my stuff back to Indonesia after living in the US for 6 years as a student. There are things i wish i had done differently, so i hope somebody would find something useful in here, and if anything, learn from my mistakes.

To gauge how relevant this post might be to your circumstances, i should say here that we shipped LCL (less than a container's load), and did most things DIY-style so no door-to-door delivery service.

I. SHIPPING YOUR STUFF

Packing - Leave original packaging behind, as they may incur import taxes. Make a relatively thorough packing list without being overly exhaustive. Categorize as much as you can, as this will help when your stuff is inspected at the customs office here.

Preparing paperwork - If you have stayed in your current country of residence for quite a while on a non-tourist visa, chances are the embassy or consulate general can provide you with a "Surat Keterangan Pindahan." With this letter customs should not be levying taxes on your stuff. Inquire with the nearest diplomatic office as to what is needed to obtain this letter. In my case, as a former student i was required to submit a certificate of degree completion. The diplomatic office will also endorse your packing list. Learn from my mistake - i booked my flight out of the country without leaving much time to deal with this paperwork. Depending on graduation requirements, how fast you act upon finishing, holidays, etc. schools can take quite some time to issue this certificate (mine took about 10 days since it coincided with Thanksgiving holiday), and diplomatic offices may also take a while in preparing this letter. I'd suggest leaving at the minimum 4 weeks between your last day of school and your departure date. I finally mailed in my documents to the consulate general AFTER i had arrived in Jakarta, but it involved lots of costly courier mailing, and risking losing important documents en route. Thankfully nothing bad happened.

Shipping - My husband (a WNA) and i did not bring any big item like furniture, etc. so we had way less than a container's worth of stuff. So we decided to go LCL route, and to save more on costs, we decided to handle as many things as possible. So no door-to-door services for us. We shipped with the company IQGlobal. All payments, paperwork, etc. are handled online, which we liked. We had in total almost 2 cubic meter of stuff, which cost a tad less than $300 to ship. Once all administrative matters are settled, we loaded our stuff on the back of a pickup truck and drove it to their warehouse to be dropped off. Don't forget to bring all papers since the warehouse people might ask to see them. If i'm not mistaken we paid an extra $50 to have our boxes palletized so they won't be separated from one another.
 

LeslieKnope

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II. RECEIVING & CLAIMING YOUR STUFF

This part is what we had to do once our stuff arrived in Indonesia.

NOTE: There may be CLIENT COORDINATORS at the customs office who can help you navigate their maze of paperwork trail – see next post.

Stuff arrival - The vessel carrying our stuff arrived on time in Jakarta. As i was our own consignee, i was then contacted by the local leg of the shipping company, in this case a local forwarder called PT Benison. From these people you would need to process a piece of paper called Delivery Order (DO). There are charges associated with handling your stuff locally, and these will need to be paid before your DO can be released. In our case it cost about Rp 3.800.000. These are all legit charges and the company must be able to provide receipt/invoice for everything they charge you. Be mindful that these local charges (there are more below) will amount to more than what you paid to ship your stuff. While you are at the forwarder's office, be sure to order a printout of the original Bill of Lading (BL), which will be needed by customs (see below). If they can't provide you with one, ask them to certify a copy and also issue a letter on their stationery to explain why.

Customs clearance, part I - Now that you have your DO, original BL, Surat Keterangan Pindahan, endorsed packing list, and Certificate of Degree Completion (or i assume its equivalent if you weren't a student), you'll need to get customs clearance before you can pick up your stuff. The process starts with a Pemberitahuan Impor Barang Khusus (PIBK). At home, prepare a cover leter addressed to (Kepada Yth.) Kepala Kantor Bea Cukai where you would be processing this clearance. Click https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...Mw9IepRBA/edit for a sample of the letter. Print and sign two copies of this letter. Bring your passport along, and make three sets of photocopies of all papers. Once you are at the customs office, buy a PIBK form. Unlike Kantor Imigrasi, there's no designated form-selling window and we bought the form at a peddler outside the office for Rp 3.000. This form is carbon-copied and the customs office at Tanjung Priok required that it is filled in using a typewriter. The Koperasi downstairs has one that you can use for Rp 1.000 per sheet. Put all your papers in a folder, and head to the front desk and hand the folder over. One copy of the cover letter will then be stamped with today's date and returned to you, and it serves as your tanda terima or receipt of documents. If you submit these before 11:30 or so, there is a chance you might be able to proceed to the next step on the same day. Head out to lunch and come back at around 1:30 PM or so, and go to the Pabean window on the 2nd floor to inquire about the status of your paperwork. In our case, the guy in charge of signing the PIBK was in a meeting so we decided to come back the next day.

Customs clearance, part II - We came back the next day at 10:30 and went straight to the Pabean window on the 2nd floor. Your papers should be ready to progress, in which case they will hand you your folder and send you to the Loket Manifes to get a "Tutup PU". I'm not exactly clear what this means, but it seems that it's where your case gets an official file number. Once you have done this, return to the Pabean window and hand back your documents. After you wait about two hours or so (go grab lunch in the mean time), your PIBK should be done and you will be assigned an inspector so customs can take a look at your stuff. In Tanjung Priok there are six officers in charge of inspecting personal effects, and their phone numbers are listed at the Pabean window. Call up your designated inspector and arrange for a time to have a physical inspection of your shipped goods. Once this is done, call up the warehouse where your stuff is located (this information should have been provided to you by the local forwarding office in the Notice of Arrival letter), and ask them to prepare your stuff to be inspected at the bahandle area at the agreed upon time. If you are lucky, your inspector might be available right then and there, in which case you can go straight to the warehouse on the same day.

Physical Inspection, or cek fisik - At the agreed upon time for cek fisik, bring a digital camera just in case and a roll of packing tape (lakban), go pick up your inspector at the customs office and head over together to the warehouse. Your stuff should be waiting for you there. (I must say it felt soooo good to see all our stuff in pristine condition; i was worried that they might've been torn open and missing all sorts of things). The inspector will then ask the warehouse laborers to open each box and make sure that there are no prohibited or restricted items in your boxes, and the box contents are what you said they are on your endorsed packing list. I must add here that we made our packing list months after the fact and had to recall from memory what it was that we shipped, so we failed to list quite a few things. I'm glad that our inspector didn't make a fuss about these unlisted items. Also, in our case our inspector had forgotten to bring a digital camera, so we took pictures of each open box using the camera on my phone. Make sure that each open box is once again taped up properly after inspection, if anything for your peace of mind.

Customs clearance, part III - After inspection, head back to the customs office. We waited about half an hour while the final clearance paper (called SPPB - Surat Perintah Pengeluaran Barang or Release Order) is processed. A printout of the inspection photos is actually required, but in our case the customs people were willing to process our SPPB without these photos but they did ask that i print them out and drop them off when i come back to pick up our stuff from the warehouse. Once you have your SPPB in hand, you are essentially done with customs. Notice that we paid Rp 0,- throughout the clearance process aside from parking, making photocopies and typewriter rental. No tipping the clerks, inspectors, etc.

Picking up your stuff, part I - You are now ready to make the final arrangement to pick up your things. There will be warehouse-related charges to settle first (i.e. storage rental, mechanical services like forklift, loading/unloading, etc. Once again all charges must be accompanied with official invoice or receipt). For this stage we paid Rp 2.700.000, but at the time our stuff had been sitting in storage for 90 days. Yes, we're sort of lucky our stuff hadn't been put up for auction. If you don't have access to a vehicle that's big enough for your stuff, ask the warehouse people if they can arrange to rent you a box car or truck. For comparison, through our warehouse foreman we rented a box car to drop off our stuff from Tanjung Priok, Jakarta to Ciledug, Tangerang for Rp 500.000.

Picking up your stuff, part II - Once all warehouse-related charges are settled and you have arranged a vehicle to bring your stuff home, head on over to the warehouse and bring all invoices, receipts, and all previously obtained letters. Bring between Rp 50.000 and Rp 100.000 in bills of five and ten thousands for tipping (see below). Also, bring another adult to accompany the box car driver in the car. There's still a bit of paper pushing to do before you can take your stuff home, called "fiat". This process is a bit nebulous to me, and i must admit we asked our foreman to do the running around for us and sent him on his way with a wad of five and ten thousand bills, with me as the consignee tagging along behind him to show the officials my KTP when needed. The process involved pushing our papers through a series of desks to have them stamped. After about half an hour of going through various desks, we are finally done with papers. We then proceeded to load our stuff onto the back of the rented box car, and off we went, gloriously reunited with all our belongings.

SCAM WARNING - When our stuff was sitting in storage while we waited for our Surat Keterangan Pindahan, I received a dubious phone call from a man who offered to process the release of our goods without papers for about Rp. 6.000.000. THESE OFFERS ARE MORE OFTEN THAN NOT AN ATTEMPT TO CHEAT YOU OF YOUR MONEY. Always check first with your forwarder or warehouse people if said person and/or phone number is a legitimate associate of the company, because forwarders *do* have agents that might be able to help you deal with customs.

I hope this helps, and if anything is unclear questions are always welcome.
 

LeslieKnope

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CLIENT COORDINATORS at the Customs Office

So I learned after the fact that there are designated officers at the customs office whose sole purpose is to help you navigate your paperwork trail, at least at the Kantor Induk in Tanjung Priok Jakarta. So at the entrance, simply inquire where the "Client Coordinators" are. This post is my long explanation of how i found out.


The forwarder's office gave a cell phone number of an official at the customs office who they said has helped their personal effect shipments in the past. So before i came in, i gave this guy a ring. He told me to go ahead and stop by with my papers, and he'd take a look at them and help me figure out what was missing. So i did, two days later, and was pleased to find that he was expecting me!! ("Oh, you must be Ms. so-and-so who called the other day!"). He later told me i was missing a cover letter and instead of telling me to come back the next day, invited me to use one of the computers at the office. So i typed one out and then emailed it to him to be printed out (the computer i worked at was not hooked up to a printer). When i returned home at the end of the day, i found an email reply from him asking me how my clearance process went after i left his desk. I was very happy to see that he actually followed up on me; an approach so personal is something i have never experienced in my entire dealings with government offices before.

Later i received another email from the guy, and i quote directly:

Per hari ini, sudah 4 hari semenjak PIBK ibu ajukan, sekiranya ada hambatan dalam proses customs clearance misalnya dalam hal pemeriksaan fisik atau penelitian dokumen atau masalah lamanya waktu pemeriksaan, Ibu bisa informasikan kepada kami. Dari pengalaman kami, banyak kiriman barang2 personal effect dari WNI yang bekerja atau mahasiswa yang..., mereka sendiri kurang begitu memahami proses customs clearance. Dan hal tersebut diperparah dengan keengganan mereka untuk datang dan meminta informasi secara langsung kepada kami.
Dalam kurun waktu 4 tahun belakangan ini, kami berusaha membangun komunikasi positif antara kami dan stake holders kami...dan salah satu diantaranya adalah para WNI yang bekerja maupun mahasiswa di luar negeri yang bermaksud kembali ke Indonesia. Dalam beberapa kasus sudah kami pelajari bahwa timbulnya permasalahan di pelabuhan adalah karena kurangnya komunikasi yang positif antara kedua belah pihak...untuk itulah kami menyediakan Client Coordinator sebagai "penyambung lidah" antara pihak stake holder dengan pihak Customs.
So...intinya adalah, kami sangat menghargai usaha Ibu yang menyempatkan diri datang langsung untuk mengurus customs clearance...
ok deh, have a nice day,
Roughly translated:

As of today, it has been 4 days since you submitted your PIBK. Should you experience any obstacle in your clearance process, e.g. during physical inspection, scrutiny of your documents, or the time it takes for inspection, kindly inform us. From our past experiences, many alien WNI who study or work abroad send their personal effects home but don't quite understand the process involved in clearing customs, and this is later exacerbated by their hesitance to take care of clearance by themselves.

In the last 4 years, we have made an effort to build positive communication with our stake holders, including the aforementioned alien student and worker WNI's who are returning to Indonesia. We have seen from a few cases that problems at the port typically arise from lack of communication between [us and our stake holders]. That is why we now provide "Client Coordinators", to help the two parties liaise more smoothly.

So, bottom line, we really appreciate that you made the time to come to our office yourself to take care of your customs clearance.

OK, have a nice day...

And he signed his email with his job title, "Client Coordinator", which was how I learned that it's actually a thing. :D
 

fastpitch17

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Good information for someone. Is it all still up to date?
 

Jamu

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@LeslieKnope, many thanks for the information, very helpful and cool that you did it yourself without the usual shakedown. My WNI wife and I are planning the move later this year and will probably use an agent door to door to save time and headache, but it's reassuring to know that the returning WNI process for your stuff went smoothly.
 

Ali

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Unfortunately I would have to rely on others to pitch in with their experiences to see if it's still applicable. :-/

Hi LeslieKnope, In january 2016, I used your info! The shipping company for custom clearance and delivery asked me 18 millions rupiah without Duty, taxes...

I have printed your post and followed every point. I've finished the process in 3 half-days in Tanjok Priok and costed me for 9 millions for everything, custom clearance, duty, taxes, delivery...

Don't print the sample, they give it now at Customs. Make at least 6 photocopy of all your documents, buy 6000 IDR materai you will need it.

Ali
 

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