Surat Tanda Melapor or STM for short, is a letter issued by the Indonesian police. It is proof that a foreigner has been registered with them. In this article we explore the legal standing of this letter, if or when you need one, and how to apply for an STM.
Currently there is no legal requirement at the national level for foreigner registration with the police.
In the past the requirement was that anyone hosting a foreign national, whether privately or a hotel, must register the foreign national with the police. However, since the passing of Undang undang No 6, Tahun 2011 Tentang Keimigrasian (Law No 6, 2001 on Immigration), this is no longer the case. The 2011 law cancels the previous immigration law of 1992 which requires foreigner registration. As such, currently there is no legal requirement at the national level for foreigner registration with the police.
Further, the new law effectively moves the authority to supervise foreigners from the national police to the Directorate General of Immigration.
Even so, over 5 years since that new law has passed, many websites, visa agents and other well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) people still insist on the need to make an STM. As a law abiding expat in Indonesia, this subject is rightly confusing.
When do you need a Surat Tanda Melapor
Our recommendation is not to bother getting one until you have a specific reason to.
As discussed above, there is no national law requiring a foreigner, or those who host foreigners, to report to the police. Still there are cases where one may be needed, or at least where things will be easier if you have one. Our recommendation is not to bother getting one until you have a specific reason to.
One such reason is when you are applying for SKTT and KTP-OA. Many local governments still want to see one in order to process your Civil Registration papers.
Another case may be from confused landlords who want to see an STM before they rent out to you. Rather than wasting time arguing about the finer details of Indonesian law, it may be easier to just go ahead and get the letter.
How to get a Surat Tanda Melapor
Head to your nearest police station. The lowest level station in Indonesia is a Polsek (Polisi Sektor). There is one in every district (kecamatan). You should have one fairly near to you. If you have a larger station, such as a Polres (Polisi Resor), near you, you can go there as well. Still, going to the smaller station is probably easier as they are typically less busy. Also they are easier to navigate.
You should prepare these before hand:
- Surat Permohonan – check out our article on how to write one.
- Photocopy of you passport.
- Photocopy of your KITAS/KITAP if you have one.
- Copy of ID card (KTP) of Indonesian host.
- Copy of Family Card (KK) of Indonesian host.
Ask the nearest officer on where to go to get an Surat Tanda Melapor. There is usually no fee for this. However, some stations may want a modest fee. This is usually around Rp 50,000. This process usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes, and you can wait at the station for it.
Some of the more rural stations may fill out the form by hand.
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