Moving to Bali July 2021

Mike & Dot

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Hello we are new to this forum so be kind :)
We are looking to arrive somewhere around July next year so have a bit of time on our side.
We are all UK citizens. We are 6 years from retirement age 55

What we know so far, although we could be wrong hence being on this forum fact finding.
Any guidance would be appreciated or if anyone could put us in touch with people who can give us correct advice and provide a good service.
We want to bring our personal used belongings (Items of sentiment and items that can't be easily obtained locally) to Bali and to do so we believe we will need a working kitas.
Saying that neither of us will be working in Bali, the working kitas will just be a means to get our cargo over.
If I'm sponsored with 1 working kitas, we believe my partner will then be able to be sponsored by me on a family kitas or can the same company sponsor my wife on a family kitas?
We have a child who will be attending one of the international schools for which he will need a student visa.

Q1 If we are sponsored by a company in Bali for the purpose of the cargo, must we be working in the trade the company trades in?

Q2 My hobby is to make things with wood and many other materials, (this is one of the things that drew us to Bali)
Its purely a hobby and I can never let go of my creations nor would I ever sell them. The question is that i have lots of hand tools/power tools and this collection has been personally obtained over many years. I would not be using my tools for any making a living. Would i have to be sponsored by a company in a trade where my tools would be required or would any company with any trade be ok for sponsorship?

Q3 After the first year assuming that I'm coming to the end of my working kitas and my wife's coming to the end of the duration of the family kitas, will both of us be able to go onto a sponsored family kitas ongoing, or would one of us have to stay on a working kitas?

Q4 Has anybody shipped a container into Bali on a working Kitas, who can share their experience?

Q5 Is a student Kitas easy to arrange or is it best to have an agent arrange this?

I hope this makes sense to anyone reading it. We would much appreciate some valued guidance as I believe the timings of visas and cargo are quite critical.

Thank you in advance.
 

Will_M

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Hi and welcome. I’m a relative newbie and I’m sure there’s others on this forum with many years experience living in Indonesia that could possible help you more...

I can’t really answer your questions because I don’t particularly understand them.

1. Why do you need a KITAS ? At 55 you are eligible to apply for a retirement visa. Working and permission to work is not something just given out, it’s a relatively long application process and the sponsoring company having to prove why they need you.

2. As long as they were not shipped commercially I wouldn’t think this is a problem. As far as I know this has little to do with (K)ITAS. I’ve never shipped anything to Indonesia for myself. But regularly fill commercial containers to T. Priok and Belawan from UK.

3. A KITAS is renewed yearly. My company uses an agent. I just go to the immigration office once a year for fingerprints and a photo. If I stopped this I would lose the right to stay in Indonesia. There’s no real “switching” between visas. Unless you came to work, and then married a local and/or retired here.

4. I ship plenty of containers but use company name and company NPWP so can’t really help.

5. If you qualify for working visa (KITAS) I’m sure that any children would also qualify for a visa and they’re dependent on you.
 

snpark

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Yes the obvious question would be why? Have you been to Indonesia before? Bali?
Have you looked at where to live?
Sorry to ask but the fact you have made up your mind but are asking basic questions here seems strange

Especially the most important and basic one which is the whole legality of how you are all going to stay here

The visa situation is a big issue. As has been said getting work permits, residence visa etc for you and all your dependants is not easy or cheap.

You need to be sponsored by a company and employed legally only in certain categories and positions. This costs thousands of dollars both for you and the company who is supposed to be employing you for the full year. And they do check your place of work and residence to see if it's real etc.

Retirement visa is another thing / costs etc.

So you are all westerners? Have lived overseas before? Bali is not just an idyllic island like the magazine's want you to believe.

Sorry to sound negative but either you missed out giving us the full info or you are rushing into what could be a huge costly mistake

Even with a year to go
 

snpark

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Hi and welcome. I’m a relative newbie and I’m sure there’s others on this forum with many years experience living in Indonesia that could possible help you more...

I can’t really answer your questions because I don’t particularly understand them.

1. Why do you need a KITAS ? At 55 you are eligible to apply for a retirement visa.

He is 6 from 55. Means 49 ?
 

Will_M

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I read that wrongly, before coffee. You are correct.

I read that as “We are 6 years from retirement, age 55.”
 

Puspawarna

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Welcome to the forum! Mike & Dot! Don't mind our occasionally irascible attitudes. Many of us have seen it all (and answered the same questions many times) - at one end of the spectrum there are starry-eyed goofballs who think "Eat Pray Love" represents what Bali is all about but really haven't the faintest idea what a move to Indonesia really means, and at the other end are people with practical reasons for moving to Indonesia (usually family and/or job) whose eyes and minds are wide open and who are highly adaptable and able to deal with the inevitable complications and surprises of moving to Indonesia.

Most folks fall somewhere in between those two extremes, but the reality is that without one of these three things: (1) Indonesian family members; (2) a job offer from a reputable firm able to manage the financial and bureaucratic costs of hiring a foreigner, or (3) eligibility for a retirement visa, it's damn near impossible to legally move to Indonesia for an extended period.

Some foreigners manage to live in Indonesia by relying on short-term visitor visas (if you read old posts here and elsewhere you will see many references to a "Sosbud" which is short-hand for a social-cultural visa that I believe has now been subsumed into other short-term visitor visas, but I'm not up to date on all that stuff anymore.)

It is, or at least has been, possible to stay in Indonesia for an indefinite period of time by stringing together a series of visas that are not supposed to be re-re-re-renewed. But that's for individuals who don't mind a little risk and it doesn't really work for a whole family, especially since any reputable school for your child will require that you show proper long-term visa paperwork in order to enroll them.

So I gotta say, it doesn't look particularly realistic for you to just pick up and move your family to Bali. You can't just say "I want a work visa" and apply for and get one - it doesn't work that way. A company has to sponsor you; it is expensive for them and there are a lot of requirements that have to be met, so they won't do it unless they are hiring you because they really need the qualifications you bring.

If your dream of moving to Bali is based on clear-eyed expectations and not some vague belief that it will be a cool place to live, the best advice I can give you is to wait until you are old enough for the retirement visa. Meanwhile, throw yourself into learning the Indonesian language (and hey, if you've got 6 years maybe some Balinese as well), make an extended visit and travel around the island a bit, and find an agent you can trust who will handle the paperwork for you when the time comes.

"Wait six years" is probably not the advice you were looking for, and maybe there is another way. But be careful of sleazeball agents. I don't know if they are still around, but a few years ago an American firm that had not done due diligence about running a project in Indonesia wanted to hire me, but realized they didn't have the legal right to do so. They hooked up with an agent in Bali that was willing to be my employer so I could get a "legal" work permit - for a cut of my pay, of course. While the inexperienced American firm was thrilled to find such a solution, the whole thing stunk to high heaven and I refused to do it (I was already legally living in Indonesia at the time on a spousal visa). Beware of too-good-to-be-true offers from agents like that. They'll take your money but not be able to rescue you if the immigration authorities decide to blacklist you.
 

snpark

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Plus you will need a stack of money saved, Bali is not a cheap place to live let alone settle down to "retire"
And yes education is shockingly expensive in Indonesia, in Jakarta one of the supposedly better schools is $30,000 per year per kid ++++++
Ok maybe Bali might be half that, but that is just the basic fees
 

Mike & Dot

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Hello again and thank you for all you super quick responses.

Just to give you a bit of background of why we're making this move.

I am 49 this year so will need a solution to for the visa's until i hit 55.
The reason for retiring now is to get away from the life we have in the UK. The UK is not the place it used to be in the last century. living in london is a bit of a fast moving machine that we feel we're caught up in and need to get off.
Retiring for us is not about picking up a remote control and watching TV all day but doing all the things we wanted to do but never seem to have the time. Travel hobbies, new hobbies and experiences.

We have been to Bali many time over the years and have a home we use for holidays when we can.
The move to Bali has been in the planning for some time now, we just need to iron out some of the points we have left.

The home we use for holidays will become our permanent residence its on a 30 year lease.
Spending so much time in Bali over the years we can compare London and Bali quite well. The stress of living and working in London is high. We feel totally relaxed when in Bali.
This isn't a decision based on a film or documentary we've seen on Bali but years of visiting.
As we normally visit on a VOA these questions have never come up until now.

We understand the cost involved with the visa's and sponsorship and are happy to pay them.

During the last few years we have visited all the international school's more than once. We are happy with what we found and the fees involved. To be honest the fees are the same as what we're paying in london.

We have friends that live in Bali. Some are Indonesian, some expat's married to Indonesians and some are like us expat from around the world.
We would be happy to do the 60-30-30-30-30 social cultural visa cycle like most of our friends do, but would be happier if there is a better solution like the family Kitas where we renew it once a year till i hit retirement age.

My wife is an optician with her own practice in london. Although it's not our intention to work in Bali, if she had an opportunity to work in her field legally she would love it. She is very passionate about helping people with their eye care. Whether there is a need for her skills as a westerner or helping out a charity even in that field would be nice to know.

In a nut shell home and school are done. We just need the correct advice on the best solution for visa's / visa agents who are good at what they do. Plus the best way we can bring our personal belonging without falling into pit hole's at customs with taxes etc.
I have seen and read plenty of horror stories of people not understanding the rules of immigration visa's etc hence why i'm on this forum seeking out help from people like you with the wealth knowledge and experience.
Every country has its own way of doing things, the key is understanding them.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of our journey.

Many thanks
 

snpark

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Much better. Thanks. And much easier for you also

Visa situation can be 1 year Multi entry business visa. Must leave once every 60 days min. Valid a year.
Or a 6 month social visa where you go to Immi every 30 days to check in

Or pay a company to employ you as a director. Get a proper kitas tax card bank accounts etc so at least you are legal for a year and actually have those cards. Then if you ever get stopped you can just pretend you are renewing them etc etc.
Better to be here legally as it were at least once

Then you will not have problems getting credit card, car finance etc the first year

Just a thought
 

cestpasmyjob

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Q1 If we are sponsored by a company in Bali for the purpose of the cargo, must we be working in the trade the company trades in?

You need to be working for the company. No such thing as being sponsored for the cargo. So they pay you a salary, you pay tax, you go to office 40 hours a week. Immigration/ tax/ manpower will check. They will make life hell for anyone buying or selling 'work kitas of convenience'. And their systems are good enough to catch you

Q2 My hobby is to make things with wood and many other materials, (this is one of the things that drew us to Bali)
Its purely a hobby and I can never let go of my creations nor would I ever sell them. The question is that i have lots of hand tools/power tools and this collection has been personally obtained over many years. I would not be using my tools for any making a living. Would i have to be sponsored by a company in a trade where my tools would be required or would any company with any trade be ok for sponsorship?

Any is OK. When I moved to Jakarta to work for an airline, there was no issue with our piano/ books/ other hobby items

Q3 After the first year assuming that I'm coming to the end of my working kitas and my wife's coming to the end of the duration of the family kitas, will both of us be able to go onto a sponsored family kitas ongoing, or would one of us have to stay on a working kitas?

You need to stay on a working KITAS (so still working)

Q4 Has anybody shipped a container into Bali on a working Kitas, who can share their experience?

To Jakarta. It was painless and efficient. International moving firms do it all the time

Q5 Is a student Kitas easy to arrange or is it best to have an agent arrange this?

Best for the school to arrange.

Your wife will not be able to work, or volunteer as an optician. She could (say) raise money for glasses for poor kids, but not do the inspections themselves

Your best bet is the rolling susbud. Of course, this means you can only bring stuff in except as personal baggage. If you got lucky, maybe after moving here you hear of someone legally moving from the UK (married to an Indonesian) and trust each other enough for them to ship your stuff along with their personal effects
 

Bad_azz

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There may be another way by setting up a business, assuming you have the funds & having the business sponsor visas.
Maybe your wife could setup an optician business?
I am not sure she would be permitted to practice as 'medical' jobs tend to be on the prohibited list.
Just throwing it into the mix as a consideration- likely a messy & expensive consideration, but still a possibility.
 

Puspawarna

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In a nut shell home and school are done. We just need the correct advice on the best solution for visa's / visa agents who are good at what they do.
If school is "done," then you have found out what visa will be acceptable to the school you have chosen and verified that you'll be able to present this visa to the school. Maybe I'm not reading your comments correctly, but AFAICT your posts suggest this is not yet the case.

There is a lot of recent history with regard to private schools in Indonesia that cater to foreign families and/or offer an international-style curriculum. It's not that schools don't want to provide a decent education without imposing idiotic bureaucratic restrictions on families, but a few years ago there was a huge push, motivated by nationalism and what-have-you, to make it extremely difficult for "international" schools to exist.

In fact, schools were prohibited from using the word "international" in their names. The well known and internationally highly respected Jakarta International School (JIS) had to change its name to Jakarta Intercultural School (still JIS!) for example. There may still be some schools in Indonesia with "international" in their names - there were last time I checked - but if so, this only shows that the schools in question are either paying someone off in order to flout the rules, or are incompetent/indifferent and simply too insignificant to have been caught yet. Either way, not necessarily where you want to enroll your kid if you care about their education.

More important than the name change requirements, which are a PITA but otherwise not necessarily significant, schools have been terrorized about the need to have PERFECT documentation on hand for all foreign students, in case immigration officials decide to stop by and review all the files. My son attended JIS for 6 years in the middle of all the turmoil/changes, and I witnessed first-hand how it affected bureaucratic requirements. The school went from an easy-going attitude toward enrollment to a frantic insistence that our son's up-to-date visa information be on hand without delay. The people didn't change, but the operating environment sure did.

Now, JIS was in some ways a special case (a story I'm not even going to begin to go into), but their visa concerns were/are the same as everyone's. Throughout the entire country, quality "international" schools tend to be high profile and thus particularly subject to scrutiny from immigration officials. If a school is reputable and able to provide the kind of education a foreign child will presumably need in order to pursue higher education/a career in their home country after leaving mom and dad's nest, they are going to need to pay attention to visa requirements.

Anyway, that's been my experience. I left Indonesia (after 17 years of residence starting in 1993) in 2018 so might not have the latest information. I'd be delighted to learn that my information is out of date and that things have gotten sane again. But unless you can verify that everything I say is a thing of the past, you'd be crazy not to confront these issues and resolve them to your satisfaction before you move to Bali. (Assuming you prize education for your kid, of course. Your values may be different and that's okay, as long as you are paving the way for you child to have the options s/he wants as they become an adult.)
 
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harryopal

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(As I was writing the copy below, apparently Ms BA was thinking along similar lines.)


With the erratic spikes of Covid and Indonesia's uncertain future in relation to all the associated problems I don't think one can be confident in making decision even though July next year seems some way off. I suspect that economic pressures across the globe will lead countries to open up and then find further outbreaks followed by tighter restrictions. Very difficult to predict.

But despite that a thought occurs which may have little merit and soon to be shot down by those with experience relative to this notion. If you have an established business and presumably registered, might it be possible for the "company" to employ you both to open a branch in Bali? I imagine this would require employment of locals along with the complexities of doing this according to local requirements That you are presently covering expensive private schooling in the UK suggest that you may have adequate funds for start up costs. This would offer then, I presume, the possibility of legitimate business visa status.

Another consideration might be to keep your children in the British educational system with distance learning using the internet or correspondence and then employing a local teacher to guide them through the process. This may be far less costly than fees for private schooling.

Many challenging issues for you to work through whichever way you go. Good luck.
 

R Cameron

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happier if there is a better solution like the family Kitas where we renew it once a year till i hit retirement age.
There is no "Family Kitas" unless a family member is an Indonesian citizen or a family member has a work Kitas.

There are a few different options to get a kitas, which also provides a visa for a spouse and children (up to 17yo?). You could get a job, start a company, represent a foreign company, or study at a university. The university is likely the easiest route, possibly the cheapest as well. Representing a foreign company is likely second.

Getting a job will mean a large (PT) company will need to go through the expensive process of hiring you as a foreigner, which could be as a Director, in which case you would need to spend some regular time in the office, but wouldn't necessarily need to have many real responsibilities. Some areas of work are extremely limited or completely disallowed for foreigners, you could check about optometry, and another option with that is she may be able to get a job and visa doing optometry with a local non-profit (yayasan).

Starting a company is another way to get a Kitas. It needs to be a PT PMA structure and there are limited categories of business permitted. This is a bad option unless you genuinely want to start a large business in Bali (which is a minefield topic of its own). You could potentially find an existing PT PMA in good standing, and purchase a share large enough to get a shareholder visa (1 billion rupiah?), you would also need to be a director, but would not need any significant responsibilities.

There are two kinds of representative offices in Indonesia that provide a Kitas. One, the KPPA, is generally used by large foreign corporations that want to start operations in Indonesia and is considered a stepping stone to a PT PMA. The second, KP3A, is an office representing a foreign company for the purposes of producing trade between Indonesia and that foreign company. If you are connected with a company in the UK that is sourcing products from Bali, you could represent them in an official capacity for the purpose of buying and quality control.

Finally, there is the university option. I don't know many specifics, but I've seen foreigners do it for many years. Of course you must pay tuition, which will be at a much higher rate than locals pay because the university will also be responsible to organize and sponsor your visa. Of course you previous university experience and topics of personal interest would guide what you study.

As for shipping your belongings, I don't know the specifics, but there is a duty-free period for a few months after getting a kitas (all kinds? I don't know). There is no doubt some exceptions and fine print to get familiar with first, but generally you can fill a shipping container with all your personal belongings (including tools) and have it delivered without paying customs, which otherwise would be many thousands of dollars/euros.
 
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Helpful Herbert

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Are you looking to work in Bali (if so in what business?)? If not, but your wife would like to, you could try approaching an NGO and ask if she could "work" for them in an area related to eye health (for example), but that you would cover all costs involved and make a contribution to their NGO as well. Otherwise, without work or local family members I think you're looking at the short term visas until you reach 55. It might not help you get your child into the school though, desperate as I'm sure they are for students at the moment.
 

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