How to get an Indonesian Driver’s License

Driver's License

Can a foreigner get an Indonesian Driver’s License?

Yes. If they meet the qualifications, foreigners can obtain an Indonesian driver’s license (Surat Ijin Mengemudi, or SIM).

Those in Indonesia on a KITAS or KITAP can apply for a SIM at their region of residence in Indonesia.

If you are on a temporary visa, such as a tourist visa, you can also get a SIM in urban or popular touristic regions in Indonesia. These include Jakarta, Bali, Jogjakarta, Makassar and Manado. This list is expanding as each police department updates its computer software. Hence you should check with your local police station.



Do I need to get an Indonesian Driver’s License?

If you are only visiting, you are able to drive with an International Driving Permit and a driver’s license from your home country. However, you can not drive with only the license from your home country, because Indonesia is not a party to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic.

Furthermore, if you are a resident of Indonesia, i.e. you hold a KITAS or KITAP, then you should get an Indonesian driver’s license. This is because your International Driving Permit is not valid in your country of residence. It is true that your average street cop will probably not be able to make the distinction. However, in case of an accident, you could be in trouble legally and with your insurance company if found driving without a proper license.

Finally, having an Indonesian driver’s license gives you another form of local photo ID, which is useful from time to time.

Requirements for Driver’s Licensing

  1. Original Passport.
  2. Photocopy of passport pages containing identity information, visa, and entry stamp.
  3. Original and copy of KITAS or KITAP card, if applicable.
  4. Original and copy of any valid driver’s license(s) you already have, if applicable.
  5. Medical note, or Surat Keterangan Dokter or Surat Kesehatan, which can be issued at the police station
  6. Original and copy of KTP-OA or SKTT, if applicable.
  7. Photocopy of Surat Tanda Melapor (STM) if you don’t have item 6 above.
  8. Meet the minimum age for the class of license (see below): 17 years old for A and C licenses, 20 years old for B1, and 21 years old for B2.

If you are applying for more than one class of license, then you will need to make separate copies for each license. Each license class is treated as separate applications.

Classes of Indonesian Driver’s License

In Indonesia, the most common classes of driver’s license are

  • A – Four wheel, private passenger car or cargo vehicle with weight under 3500 kg
  • B1 – Private passenger or cargo vehicle with weight over 3500 kg
  • B2 – Heavy vehicles with trailers
  • C – Motorcycles

As a matter of course, foreigners are only able to get SIM A and C categories. While the law states that B1 and B2 licenses are available for foreigners, we are not aware of any foreigners ever receiving such authorization.

Note on SIM C: The government has recently passed a law that splits up the SIM C into three categories depending on the size of the motorcycle engine. However, up to the time of publishing, no police station has reported that they are ready to implement these. As such, SIM C is still issued as one category. We will update this article when this changes.

If driving for commercial purposes, you need a commercial (umum) license. Obtaining commercial licenses is virtually impossible for foreigners due to work permit regulations.

Where to go for the license

The Indonesian police is in charge of issuing driver’s licenses. Therefore, you will need to go to your local mid-level police station. They’re called Polresta (or Poltabes), or Polres, depending whether you live in a large city (kotamadya) or in a regency (kabupaten).

In Jakarta:

Satuan Pelaksana Administrasi SIM (SATPAS) Polda Metro Jaya
Jl. Daan Mogot Km. 12.8, Jakarta Barat 11720

In Denpasar:

Polresta Denpasar
Jl. Gunung Sanghyang No.110, Denpasar Barat 80117

For all other locations, simply search online for “Polres” and the name of your city or regency.

Application process

First of all, you can now pre-register your Indonesian driver’s licence application online. You can do so here: http://sim.korlantas.polri.go.id/

Driver's License
Signs at police station warning against using agents, bribing and corruption.

If you don’t want to register online, when you arrive at the police station, ask to be directed to “bagian pembuatan SIM“. Usually there is also an office nearby to get the medical note (surat kesehatan). The medical check is usually just a quick eye check and blood pressure check. Remember to ask for 2 copies (or more) if you are applying for 2 classes (or more) of licenses.

Then make payment for each SIM application. There is normally a Bank BRI branch right at the station.

If you are at an area with many expats, you may have a special window marked WNA (non-citizen) applications. If not, then just head to the normal SIM application window. Obtain application forms. Again you will need as many forms as you have applications.

Theory Test

Even if you have a valid foreign driver’s license, you still have to do the theory test. It is a computer test, and you only have to choose True or False. The test is in Bahasa Indonesia, however you may bring a translator if you want. You have 30 minutes for 30 question and you have to answer 21 correctly. If you fail the test you can repeat it 7 days after the first failure. Then again in 14 days and 30 days if you fail again.

You can practice here: http://korlantas.polri.go.id/latihan_ujiansim/ujian/login

If you pass the theory test and already hold a valid foreign driver’s license, then you are done. Your brand new SIM can usually be issued to you the same day.



Practical Test

If you do not have already have a valid foreign driver’s license, then you will proceed to take the practical test.

It is probably best to bring your own vehicle, as long as it is fairly small, since you would be more comfortable driving your own. Also, the available vehicles are all manual transmission, so take this into account. Normally the test vehicle for a SIM A is a Daihatsu Xenia or similar.

The practical test for SIM A (4 wheel passenger car) SIM consists of:

  • Driving straight forwards and backwards on a narrow lane of cones.
  • Driving zig-zag forwards and backwards around 9 cones.
  • Backing-up and parking.
  • Parallel parking.
  • Driving up an incline, engaging hand brake, disengaging hand brake then driving off.
  • Driving down an incline, stopping and driving off.

For test sections with cones, you can hit one cone. However, hitting a second cone fails you. Check out this YouTube video to see what is involved:

The practical test for SIM C (motorcycle license) consists of:

  • Riding through a narrow set of cones.
  • Riding zig-zag around a set of cones.
  • Figure eight.
  • Avoidance and reaction test.
  • U-turn test.

This YouTube video shows you what is involved:

As with the theory test, if you fail you can repeat it 7 days after the first failure. Then again in 14 days and 30 days if you fail again.

Indonesian Driver’s License for returning Indonesian citizens

If you are a returning Indonesian citizen, without a valid Indonesian driver’s license, you will have to apply for a new license. Even if you have a valid foreign driver’s license. Unfortunately there is no mechanism for converting a foreign driver’s license for a WNI. Consequently, you can not skip the practical test. This is due to an oversight in the law.

Indonesian Driver’s License Validity and Renewal

The validity of the license depends on your type of visa. KITAS holders will get a 1 year driver’s license. KITAP holders can get a 5 year license. The 5 year license actually expires on your birthday on the 5th year. In other words, unless you apply on your birthday, the license will be valid for less than 5 years.

The 1 month tourist SIM is no longer available in Bali. Rather, visitors on short term visas will also get a 1 year license.

Important: You have to renew the license before it expires. Otherwise, you will have to apply for a new license and go through everything again. To renew you can should go back to the police station where you got your license.

Unfortunately, foreigners are not able to take advantage of the convenient mobile SIM renewal (SIM Keliling).

Fees

Fee for SIM A, B1 and B2 are Rp 120,000 for new issues, and Rp 80,000 for renewals.

Fee for SIM C is Rp 100,000 for new issues, and Rp 75,000 for renewals.

Testing fee Rp 50,000.

Medical note fee about Rp 30,000 (this fee varies by location).

Other Notes

When you go to apply for a SIM, it is likely that there are many “agents” offering their help at the police station for a fee. Often they will offer to bypass some of the testing. Note that this is not recommended, and of course illegal.

Outside of the tourist areas, English will not be spoken at the police station. You can bring a friend to help translate, even for the testing.

As a foreigner in Indonesia you are likely to attract extra attention from traffic police. Be sure to bring your SIM as well as registration (Surat Tanda Nomor Kendaraan – STNK) with you when driving.

If you get a traffic ticket, you can check out our article on How to Deal with a Traffic Ticket in Indonesia (coming soon).

Driving in Indonesia is likely very different than in your home country, so be extra careful. On a motorbike you should always wear a SNI compliant helmet.

Questions/Comments/Discussion

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References

Government Regulation No. 60, 2016 on Fees and Tariffs at the Indonesian National Police (in Bahasa Indonesia) – link

Indonesian National Police Chief Regulation No. 9, 2012 on Driver’s Licensing (in Bahasa Indonesia) – link

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About dafluff 21 Articles

Dafluff is a second generation expat in Indonesia. His parents, being a mixed WNA-WNI couple, moved the entire family to Bali in the early 80s. He was educated in the Indonesian national school system, then obtained engineering degrees in the US and lived in the US and Canada. A relatively recent returnee to Indonesia, he has benefited greatly from the online expat community, and is working hard to return the favor.