Living in Two Countries - Pros & Cons

Minuteman

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Jaime C

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You mean a green card holder only needs to be in the US one day a year to maintain the green card? Definitely not my wife's case as she was sent to the secondary room a couple years ago and was given a lecture about being physically present in the US instead of just arriving for 'a couple weeks'. This after she showed bank accounts, history of residency in the US prior to living in Indonesia since 2009, having a sister living in the US, etc. I was in the baggage claim not knowing this was happening (we were separated in the custom's entry since I think permanent residents were not mixed with citizen's row yet at that time). She did not mention to them that we were married, I don't know if that would've made the difference. Long story short she ended up just surrendering her green card to the embassy in Jakarta.
They can lecture you all they want, but if you have been in the US one full day, in the last 365 days, you’re fine. You can stay out up to 2 years, if I recall right, if you have a advance permission for taking care of a sick relative or similar.

I’d never turn in a US Green Card, as they're such a pain to get in the first place.
 

Banana72

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They can lecture you all they want, but if you have been in the US one full day, in the last 365 days, you’re fine. You can stay out up to 2 years, if I recall right, if you have a advance permission for taking care of a sick relative or similar.

I’d never turn in a US Green Card, as they're such a pain to get in the first place.
My wife would've loved to keep her green card too...but intimidated by a couple immigration officers as well as being told 'we put you on record' in that secondary room...she had no choice but to surrender it. She and I don't feel like taking a chance the next time we go to the US together that she might end up in that secondary room again (and possibly have to head back to Indonesia on the same day). Maybe I've watched too many "Border Security" episodes and listened to too many immigration stories...in any case, the lady at the embassy said now that my wife is married to me, reapplying for green card is much easier...although this is something I don't have to think about at least for the next 2-3 years anyway.
 

Chiron

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My wife would've loved to keep her green card too...but intimidated by a couple immigration officers as well as being told 'we put you on record' in that secondary room...she had no choice but to surrender it. She and I don't feel like taking a chance the next time we go to the US together that she might end up in that secondary room again (and possibly have to head back to Indonesia on the same day). Maybe I've watched too many "Border Security" episodes and listened to too many immigration stories...in any case, the lady at the embassy said now that my wife is married to me, reapplying for green card is much easier...although this is something I don't have to think about at least for the next 2-3 years anyway.
We just renewed my wife's green card within the past year, and there was a $450 fee to apply. Also, it took 9 months to get the new one. They did however put an orange colored holographic sticker on the card validating it for an additional 9 months. My wife was still uptight about the whole process, as that ninth month was very close to the time she was traveling to Indonesia. I called a couple times along the way, and they assured me that it was getting processed - then it finally arrived. I have to say that my wife has always been high-strung over visas and immigration, and all the recent news about cracking down on illegal immigration didn't help.

BTW, my wife also ended up in the so-called secondary room about 5-6 years ago. It was due to her older Indonesian passport not having the magnetic strip version. Fortunately that had to be renewed, so now we're good to go for a while.
 

Chiron

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I'm in somewhat of a similar (but a bit different) situation. Fly back to the US once a year for about 2 1/2-3 weeks, usually stay with a friend there. Have a house that I've been renting out for a while. Only assets here I have are liquid assets (no property obviously unless years down the road i inherit our family house). Hoping to be staying in the US closer to 1-2 months in the future. I've always wondered about the tax...if I stay in the US more than 30 days in a year, that means I might be taxed as a US resident rather than and Indonesian resident, is this true? Right now I'm only taxed (in the US) on my stocks capital gain and rental income (in the US).
There's actually something called the "Substantial Presence Test", and it has several criteria. You'll just have to read the web page on the IRS site, and see if it applies to you.

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/substantial-presence-test
 

waarmstrong

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I am guessing thee wife resisted the temptation to slap an INS official.
 

Chiron

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Yes, at some point as a person grows older one won't be able to go back and forth and need to make a decision. We have gone through different ideas, and times. At this point we are looking at Bali, at some point. We are both aware of the shortcomings but it is closer to my wife's family. Other then that we both like what Canada has to offer other then too much rain in the winter, where we are living. Like you it appears to be a work in progress and changes over time.
One of the reasons we're considering an RV, is so that we can choose a different place (or region), when we come back to North America. If it's in the middle of summer, then the northern states or even Canada would be very appealing. If we come during the winter, then South Texas, Arizona, or Florida would be very nice. As for Indonesia, I have one choice and that will be Solo (my wife's hometown). They've got the rainy (i.e. mosquito) season around November- February, which would be nice time for Arizona or South Padre Island.

There's an RV club called Thousand Trails, which has lifetime premium memberships that people resell through brokers in the aftermarket. They can be bought for a one time cost of about $3K-$4K, and have $50 monthly membership dues. Once you have this, you can go to over 100 different parks and get all the hookups (water, electric, etc.) for no additional charge. You're allowed to stay for 21 days in one place, then need to pick another place for 21 days and so on. It would be an interesting way to see the various places around the country, and have many different experiences. After several months of that, drive back to Houston, lock it up in the garage, Uber to the airport and back to Solo we go.
 

Chiron

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I am guessing thee wife resisted the temptation to slap an INS official.
My very timid, and overtly shy wife has never really gotten over that event. I try to tell her she has a number of rights as a permanent resident, and they're NOT going to put her on a return flight. It's no use. She will not fly back to the US without me ever again. That included one time, where I literally had to fly to Indonesia, stay for a couple days, and come right back with her. She normally goes there for about a month, and waits for me to arrive for my 2-3 week visit. I had a crisis at work to deal with at that time, and told her that I would have to cancel my trip. Needless to say, that did not go well, and ended up with a 96 hour round trip to Solo. Talk about brutal...
 

Jaime C

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One of the reasons we're considering an RV, is so that we can choose a different place (or region), when we come back to North America. If it's in the middle of summer, then the northern states or even Canada would be very appealing. If we come during the winter, then South Texas, Arizona, or Florida would be very nice. As for Indonesia, I have one choice and that will be Solo (my wife's hometown). They've got the rainy (i.e. mosquito) season around November- February, which would be nice time for Arizona or South Padre Island.

There's an RV club called Thousand Trails, which has lifetime premium memberships that people resell through brokers in the aftermarket. They can be bought for a one time cost of about $3K-$4K, and have $50 monthly membership dues. Once you have this, you can go to over 100 different parks and get all the hookups (water, electric, etc.) for no additional charge. You're allowed to stay for 21 days in one place, then need to pick another place for 21 days and so on. It would be an interesting way to see the various places around the country, and have many different experiences. After several months of that, drive back to Houston, lock it up in the garage, Uber to the airport and back to Solo we go.
My oldest daughter works for the company that runs Thousand Trails.

I think some people really enjoy the RV lifestyle. I had a friend who bought a big RV that cost as much as a house at the time, and while they enjoyed it for a year or two, it soon became a bit of a money pit. Where to park it, insurance, repairs and depreciation all became big issues.
 

Daniel50

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One of the reasons we're considering an RV, is so that we can choose a different place (or region), when we come back to North America. If it's in the middle of summer, then the northern states or even Canada would be very appealing. If we come during the winter, then South Texas, Arizona, or Florida would be very nice. As for Indonesia, I have one choice and that will be Solo (my wife's hometown). They've got the rainy (i.e. mosquito) season around November- February, which would be nice time for Arizona or South Padre Island.

There's an RV club called Thousand Trails, which has lifetime premium memberships that people resell through brokers in the aftermarket. They can be bought for a one time cost of about $3K-$4K, and have $50 monthly membership dues. Once you have this, you can go to over 100 different parks and get all the hookups (water, electric, etc.) for no additional charge. You're allowed to stay for 21 days in one place, then need to pick another place for 21 days and so on. It would be an interesting way to see the various places around the country, and have many different experiences. After several months of that, drive back to Houston, lock it up in the garage, Uber to the airport and back to Solo we go.
Well, whatever you guys decide I hope you enjoy. It sounds like your wife is quite focused on Solo for family time, which is understandable, and you are a bit more of an adventurer. Many people have and enjoy the RV lifestyle but for my wife and I\ we would prefer a more stable base and then just travel to some other places. Of course this may also change over time but the main thing is to enjoy. And of course a person can always make changes along the way. I currently may be offered a couple of jobs so I may take one around where we live or move to another province. We will see and then this will put off retirement again. But we are enjoying the journey as much as possible, most days it is fairly easy.
 

steveandpenny

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Sounds like a plan stan...

Couple of thoughts on the RV idea. Frist of all skip the thousand trails thing....its a bit like a time share program. Yeah you can resell it but you will get pennies on the dollar for it. Also most of the parks you can stay at are private RV parks that are for the most part concrete slabs , 10 foot away from another RV. They will have hook-ups , a pool and a expensive store. Forget about that and hit the road . Just use state parks ..Oregon for one has thousands of them and are cheap and beautiful all the time except in the winter.

2 . What kind of RV ? My advice is a 5th wheel and a truck. It's much more reliable and flexiable .All in one RV are a pain in the ass when you want to drive to store or go to a movie. U have to unhook even thing and drive into town, find a place to park the monster , then go back , park , hook up, and level it....or hop in the truck.

3. New or used....I'd go used ...a lot of people but one thinking it's a good idea , using it every weekend for a couple of months, then the next year for a couple of weeks twice a year and by the 4th or 5th year its parked next to the house unused. Unwanted and alot cheaper. Maybe needs a new awning, clean it up, and tires (from sitting) and it's as good as new. Oh yeah check the generator and make sure it's a inverter generator. They are much quieter and uses less fuel.

4. Storage...check costs and security if you are going to store it at a storage place...it can be alot more then you expect.

5. You guys better love each other alot lol cause a month in a RV, that seemed big , is alot smaller then it looks.

That's my 2 cents
 

Chiron

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Sounds like a plan stan...

Couple of thoughts on the RV idea. Frist of all skip the thousand trails thing....its a bit like a time share program. Yeah you can resell it but you will get pennies on the dollar for it. Also most of the parks you can stay at are private RV parks that are for the most part concrete slabs , 10 foot away from another RV. They will have hook-ups , a pool and a expensive store. Forget about that and hit the road . Just use state parks ..Oregon for one has thousands of them and are cheap and beautiful all the time except in the winter.

2 . What kind of RV ? My advice is a 5th wheel and a truck. It's much more reliable and flexiable .All in one RV are a pain in the ass when you want to drive to store or go to a movie. U have to unhook even thing and drive into town, find a place to park the monster , then go back , park , hook up, and level it....or hop in the truck.

3. New or used....I'd go used ...a lot of people but one thinking it's a good idea , using it every weekend for a couple of months, then the next year for a couple of weeks twice a year and by the 4th or 5th year its parked next to the house unused. Unwanted and alot cheaper. Maybe needs a new awning, clean it up, and tires (from sitting) and it's as good as new. Oh yeah check the generator and make sure it's a inverter generator. They are much quieter and uses less fuel.

4. Storage...check costs and security if you are going to store it at a storage place...it can be alot more then you expect.

5. You guys better love each other alot lol cause a month in a RV, that seemed big , is alot smaller then it looks.

That's my 2 cents
1. There's also the National Park pass which is only $80 for life, once hitting 62 (which I have). That's a pretty good deal which I plan to get on my next NP visit.

2. For the RV, we've been thinking about a new Class C 27', or a slightly used Class A 40'. Either way, we'd have a small tow vehicle. I've looked at trailers like the Airstream with a truck, but I'm a total klutz when it comes to pulling something big.

3. New or used? The class C I'm looking at is made-to-order unit out of California (called Lazy Daze). They have very high resale value, and are probably the highest quality units I've ever seen for a decent price. The Class A would definitely be used - maybe a 1-2 year old with low miles. I'd get a diesel pusher, and that would be a pretty good setup for the TT parks.

4. They have some excellent storage facilities in the Houston area. One place I'm looking at is a bit pricey, but the RV is kept in a large temperature controlled massive building with security everywhere. They have a valet service that will check all your fluids, start your vehicle and generator while your gone, and will wash, wax and have it ready once you touch down from Indonesia.

5. Yes, we do like each other's company in close quarters, but the RV setup may put that to the test. When my wife sees these 43 foot diesel pushers with washing machine/dryer, king size bed, marble floors, granite counters, and dishwasher, that seems like it wouldn't be so bad. For me, sleeping to the sound of a river going by, or waking up in the middle of a desert 20 miles from the nearest town in a down-to-earth rig is more my style. My wife also likes some of those deep country adventures, but always wants to get back to tall buildings and malls before long.

Right now, the vote for an RV is mostly coming from me, and not so much the wife. She seems to like it, since I'm so gung-ho on the concept - so time will tell. We're still looking at several other ideas, like condos or renting in Texas as well. At one point we were looking at the MM2H program in Malaysia, as kind of a radical alternative. The key issue we're concerned with overall, are income taxes. If Indonesia started enforcing their tax laws on retirees, we would get hit pretty hard. I've actually built all the Indonesian tax calculations into excel, and it's not a pretty picture. By policy, Malaysia doesn't look at your worldwide income for their taxes. The other thing that Malaysia may be better for is healthcare - which has been a nagging concern from what I've seen over the years in Solo. Several of my wife's well-off relatives have often gone to either Singapore or Penang to get treatment - and suggested the same for me if I ever lived in Indonesia. The one thing I can say about Malaysia, is the plane trip is much shorter from Penang-Solo, than Houston-Solo.
 

Edward

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At one point we were looking at the MM2H program in Malaysia, as kind of a radical alternative. The key issue we're concerned with overall, are income taxes. If Indonesia started enforcing their tax laws on retirees, we would get hit pretty hard. I've actually built all the Indonesian tax calculations into excel, and it's not a pretty picture. By policy, Malaysia doesn't look at your worldwide income for their taxes.
This is very interesting. Does it mean that Malaysia does not have double tax agreements with any other countries?
 

Chiron

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This is very interesting. Does it mean that Malaysia does not have double tax agreements with any other countries?
I'm not sure about all their tax laws, but for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa, they don't look at income from any sources outside Malaysia.
 

Daniel50

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I'm not sure about all their tax laws, but for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa, they don't look at income from any sources outside Malaysia.
That is true but a general belief is many? tend to judge/look down on Indonesians.
 

yantiharun1

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We are in the two house mode at present, excepts its 10 months in the US & 2 in Indonesia, as we have a child yet to finish high school. When our daughter moves on to college, we may do 6 & 6, or get rid of the Stateside digs and make the Jakarta house our permanent home base. Since we have a lot of family in the USA, if its plan B, we would still probably spend a couple of months vacationing ie free loading, in the States. The biggest drawbacks, are similar -- the grueling trips back and forth coupled with the visa hassles. Health is the monkey wrench.
Hello,
I am considering to travel back and forth between US and Indonesia, maybe 4 to 5 months in the US and back to Jakarta for the rest of the year.
I have a few questions: How long can you stay out of Indonesia being a Kitas (retirement) holder?

If I choose to stay out of Indonesia a few months in one year, should I keep the Kitas and renew it every year or should I convert to 5yr. Kitap instead? ( I am an ex WNI if that makes any difference at all). What are the pros and cons?

I always thought that both Kitas and Merp are good for one year and expired on the same date. Am I correct?

Can anyone share any useful info? I would really appreciate if someone can provide some advise or guidance. Thank you in advance!
 

harryopal

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One major potential difficulty is the ongoing Covid problem. Closed yesterday to open next month only to have another cluster and close again. Then the possibility of an outbreak at either end which may see you arriving somewhere and having to immediately quarantine for 14 days.
 

waarmstrong

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Hello,
I am considering to travel back and forth between US and Indonesia, maybe 4 to 5 months in the US and back to Jakarta for the rest of the year.
I have a few questions: How long can you stay out of Indonesia being a Kitas (retirement) holder?

If I choose to stay out of Indonesia a few months in one year, should I keep the Kitas and renew it every year or should I convert to 5yr. Kitap instead? ( I am an ex WNI if that makes any difference at all). What are the pros and cons?

I always thought that both Kitas and Merp are good for one year and expired on the same date. Am I correct?

Can anyone share any useful info? I would really appreciate if someone can provide some advise or guidance. Thank you in advance!
Since we have been based in the USA since 2014, I have no KITAS, but usually get a 60 tourist visa for our annual visits. Before 2014, I had a retirement KITAS renewed yearly w/o a Merp. Sorry I cannot answer your questions. Hopefully, Indonesian based expats will chime in.
 

yantiharun1

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Since we have been based in the USA since 2014, I have no KITAS, but usually get a 60 tourist visa for our annual visits. Before 2014, I had a retirement KITAS renewed yearly w/o a Merp. Sorry I cannot answer your questions. Hopefully, Indonesian based expats will chime in.
Thanks for your response
 

yantiharun1

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One major potential difficulty is the ongoing Covid problem. Closed yesterday to open next month only to have another cluster and close again. Then the possibility of an outbreak at either end which may see you arriving somewhere and having to immediately quarantine for 14 days.
Thanks Harryopal, I am just planning for the situation to be open and safe again to travel.
 

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