export and import license

Export and Import License in Indonesia: How to Get One?

  • InCorp Editorial Team
  • 1 November 2023
  • 9 minute reading time

Obtaining an Indonesian export and import license is critical for importing goods into the Indonesian market. These licenses are industry-specific and do not permit the importation of goods unrelated to the licensed sector. Once the establishment process is completed and you obtain the permanent business license. You can directly proceed to apply for an import and export license.

Import Licence

Importing involves legally transporting goods or commodities from one country to another, typically as part of trade activities. The import process entails bringing goods into a country from foreign sources, often requiring customs clearance in both the exporting and importing nations.

There are three types of Import Licenses you can apply for:

1. API-U (General Import Licence)

This license is issued to general trading companies importing fully-made products for sale or distribution in Indonesia. It allows for importing finished products or trading goods with third parties. The application process for an API-U typically takes around one month.

2. API-P (Producer Import Licence)

This license is granted to manufacturing companies importing raw materials or supporting goods for their production processes in Indonesia. API-P does not permit importation for sale or distribution; it is solely for use in manufacturing.

3. API-T (Limited Import License)

This license is a limited importer identification number obtained through the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). Goods imported under an API-T enjoy a reduced withholding tax rate of 2.5% compared to the standard 7.5%.

Read more: Steady Economic Growth in Q1, Thanks to Indonesian Exports

Guide for Importing to Indonesia

If you’re planning to import goods into Indonesia, it’s essential to understand the licensing requirements and regulations set by the Indonesian government. This guide will walk you through the necessary steps and licenses to obtain for importing and if desired, manufacturing activities in Indonesia.

1. Business License for Trading

When you decide to operate as a trading company, the first step is to secure a Business License. This license allows you to engage in trading activities, which involve importing finished goods or products for resale within the Indonesian market. Along with the Business License, you will be granted an API-U (General Import License). The API-U is specifically designed for companies that wish to import goods for trading purposes.

2. Expanding into Manufacturing

If you decide to expand your business by adding manufacturing activities to your operations, you must update your Business License to reflect this change. This step is crucial because engaging in manufacturing without the necessary licenses can result in legal issues.

3. Industrial License (IUI) and Industrial Registered License (TDP)

To legally conduct manufacturing activities in Indonesia, you must apply for an Industrial License (IUI) and an Industrial Registered License (TDP). These licenses are essential for transforming your trading company into a manufacturing company. With these licenses in place, you will be eligible for an API-P license, which allows you to import goods exclusively for manufacturing purposes.

4. Dual Licensing Restrictions

It’s essential to be aware of a critical restriction imposed by the Indonesian government. Companies are prohibited from holding both an API-U and an API-P license simultaneously. This means that if you intend to engage in both manufacturing and trading activities, you must establish two separate companies, each holding the respective licenses. 

This setup is necessary to comply with Indonesian regulations and avoid legal complications.

In summary, when importing goods into Indonesia, the process involves obtaining a Business License for trading and an API-U for importing finished goods. Suppose you decide to diversify your operations by adding manufacturing activities. 

In that case, you must update your Business License, apply for an Industrial License (IUI), and obtain an Industrial Registered License (TDP) to acquire the API-P license for manufacturing. It’s crucial to adhere to these regulations to ensure a smooth and legal import process in Indonesia.

How to Secure an Import License in Indonesia

Obtaining an import license in Indonesia used to be a time-consuming endeavor, often taking up to five months. However, there is good news for foreign investors: the implementation of the Online Single Submission (OSS) licensing system, along with the elimination of unnecessary procedures by the Ministry of Trade, has significantly improved the efficiency and reduced the processing time for import licenses.

1. OSS Implementation

The introduction of the OSS system has brought substantial changes to the way foreign investors acquire import licenses. Under this new system, there is no longer a need to secure an API (General Importer Identification Number) and a NIK (Customs Registration) as essential import licenses. Instead, all business entities, including foreign investors, must register through the OSS platform.

2. Business Identity Number (NIB)

Upon successful registration on the OSS platform, each business will be issued a Business Identity Number (NIB), also known as “Nomor Induk Berusaha.” The NIB is a significant development, as it simplifies and streamlines various processes. Notably, the NIB does not expire as long as the company remains in operation. 

This single number replaces the need for multiple documents, such as the Company Registration Certificate, Importer Identification Number (for import licenses), and Customs Registration NIK (Nomor Induk Kepabeanan).

3. Benefits of NIB

The NIB has several advantages for import companies and those engaged in import activities. It eliminates the need to go through the traditional process of acquiring an API and NIK, saving time and resources. However, it’s important to note that while the NIB simplifies the licensing process, importers must still adhere to technical import requirements set by the relevant authorities.

You might want to check: Application for IUI and Expansion Licenses is Now Integrated into OSS System

Export Licence

Indonesian exporters must have Export Licenses (ET) to conduct exporting activities. There  are general provisions of export by 13/M-DAG/PER/3/2012, in which export of goods are grouped as follows:

Exportable Goods 

Individuals need to possess an NPWP (Taxpayer Identification Number) and other documents specified by regulations to export. At the same time, business entities require a SIUP (Trade Business License), TDP (Company Registration), NPWP, and other documents as mandated by regulations.

Restricted Goods 

Institutions or business entities dealing with restricted goods must hold an ET (Registered Exporter), SPE (Export Permit), LS (Surveyor’s Report), COO (Certificate of Origin), and other documents as specified by regulations. In most cases, an ET necessitates an SPE during the actual export process. Certain goods, such as coffee, rubber, ironwood, cattle or buffalo, fertilizer, gold, silver, and mineral products, can only be exported after obtaining an SPE.

Below is the list of export-related specific document requirements:

  • Inspection Report:
    The Export Verification and Monitoring Team of Swallow Nest conducted an inspection report.
  • Quota Certificate:
    This certificate provides information about the exporter’s identity, HSCode, the quantity of goods, and export contracts.
  • Statement Letter  (for  Urea  Fertilizer):
    A letter from the exporter stating that the government does not subsidize the exported urea fertilizer.

How to Obtain an Export License in Indonesia 

Obtaining an export license in Indonesia is crucial for businesses aiming to expand beyond the country’s borders. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

1. Understand the Regulations 

Begin by familiarizing yourself with Indonesia’s export regulations. These regulations can change, so staying updated on the latest requirements and restrictions is essential.

2. Choose Your Export Category 

Determine the category of goods you intend to export. Different products may require distinct export licenses, so accurately identifying your class is essential.

3. Business Registration

Ensure your business is legally registered in Indonesia. A valid business entity, such as a PT (Perseroan Terbatas), is a prerequisite for obtaining an export license.

4. Tax Identification Number (NPWP)

Obtain your company’s Tax Identification Number (Nomor Pokok Wajib Pajak or NPWP). This is a fundamental requirement for engaging in any business activities in Indonesia.

5. Apply for an Export License

Submit an application for an export license to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Trade in Indonesia. Ensure your application includes essential documents such as your business license, NPWP, and other required permits.

6. Comply with Documentation Requirements

Ensure all necessary documentation, including a packing list, invoice, and certificate of origin, is complete and accurate. These documents are crucial for customs clearance.

7. Pay the Required Fees

Be prepared to cover the necessary fees associated with the export license application. Costs may vary depending on the type of goods and the destination country.

8. Review and Approval

Your application will undergo a review process, during which authorities will verify the accuracy of your documentation and your compliance with regulations. Once approved, you will receive your export license.

9. Export Declaration (PEB)

After obtaining your export license, you must submit an Export Declaration (Pemberitahuan Ekspor Barang or PEB) to customs authorities. This declaration provides details about the shipment and its destination.

10. Customs Clearance

Your goods will undergo customs clearance, including inspection and assessment for duties and taxes. Ensure that your shipment complies with customs regulations to avoid delays or penalties.

11. Shipping and Monitoring

Once customs clearance is complete, you can proceed with shipping your products. Keep a close eye on your shipment’s progress and ensure it reaches its destination without issues.

12. Record Keeping

Maintain meticulous records of all your export activities, including licenses, permits, and transaction details. These records will be essential for future compliance audits.

Obtaining an export license in Indonesia may involve a complex process, but with proper preparation and adherence to regulations, your business can successfully access international markets and expand its reach. Always consult with relevant authorities or seek legal counsel to ensure you meet all requirements and comply with current regulations.

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Apply for an Export License with InCorp Indonesia

InCorp, one of Indonesia’s leading consulting companies, is ready to assist clients who want to obtain an Import and export license for their business purposes in Indonesia. Contact Us for more information.

Pandu Biasramadhan

Senior Consulting Manager at InCorp Indonesia

An expert for more than 10 years, Pandu Biasramadhan, has an extensive background in providing top-quality and comprehensive business solutions for enterprises in Indonesia and managing regional partnership channels across Southeast Asia.

Get in touch with us.

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Disclaimer: The information is provided by PT. Cekindo Business International (“InCorp Indonesia/ we”) for general purpose only and we make no representations or warranties of any kind.

We do not act as an authorized government or non-government provider for official documents and services, which is issued by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia or its appointed officials.

We do not promote any official government document or services of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, including but not limited to, business identifiers, health and welfare assistance programs and benefits, unclaimed tax rebate, electronic travel visa and authorization, passports in this website.

Frequent Asked Questions

There are two main types, namely, primary business licenses and non-primary business licenses. The primary ones commonly apply to various industries, such as general and industrial business licenses. Additional non-primary ones are included, depending on the operations of your business. Examples of non-primary business licenses are operational and commercial licenses.

Yes, you must apply for it to be able to issue work permits for your foreign employees. This permanent business license is also a prerequisite for the applications for other business licenses and import licenses.

There are three things business owners need to consider before setting up a business in Indonesia: the type of business entity, capital requirements, and regulations.

Indonesian regulations separate local companies from foreign companies. Generally, foreign-owned companies (PT PMA) have more limitations than their local counterparts (Local PT). However, to pursue more foreign direct investment in the country, the government has taken several bold initiatives to increase the ease of doing business and provide numerous attractive incentives for foreign investors.