Moving to and Living in Jakarta for Foreigners: A Guide

Moving to and Living in Jakarta for Foreigners: A Guide

  • InCorp Editorial Team
  • 27 December 2023
  • 6 minute reading time

In the dynamic landscape of global business, Jakarta stands out as a compelling destination for expatriates seeking a change of scenery and a strategic foothold in Southeast Asia’s economic hub. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities that expatriates may encounter when trying to decide to live in Jakarta.

This guide is crafted with a dual purpose: to help you seamlessly integrate into the vibrant cultural fabric of Jakarta while strategically positioning yourself for professional success.

What is it Like Living in Jakarta?

Living in Jakarta offers a unique blend of vibrant culture, bustling city life, and diverse opportunities. From the vibrant street food scene to the rich historical sites, expats can immerse themselves in the dynamic atmosphere of Indonesia’s capital city.

Jakarta is a melting pot of cultures, offering expatriates a chance to experience a unique lifestyle that combines traditional values with modern conveniences. However, navigating through the challenges, such as traffic congestion, and adapting to the tropical climate to fully enjoy the Jakarta experience is essential.

Accommodation or Housing Options for Ex-pats

Finding suitable accommodation is a crucial aspect of relocating to Jakarta. Expatriates have a range of options, from upscale apartments in central business districts to more affordable housing in the outskirts.

Serviced apartments and gated communities are popular choices for their amenities and security. Real estate agencies specializing in expat housing can assist newcomers in navigating the diverse market. Understanding the neighborhoods and considering proximity to workplaces and schools are key factors in making informed decisions about housing in Jakarta.

Cost of Living in Jakarta

Understanding the cost of living is essential for expatriates planning a move to Jakarta. While certain aspects of life, such as local transportation and street food, can be affordable, expats should be prepared for higher costs associated with imported goods and upscale services.

The cost of housing and international schools can significantly impact the overall budget. However, Jakarta offers a variety of lifestyle options, allowing expatriates to tailor their expenses according to personal preferences. A well-researched budget can help expats make informed decisions and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in Jakarta.

Living in Jakarta with the Right Visa

Living in Jakarta

You’ve likely heard of tourist visas, business visas, stay visas, etc., for traveling, working, and living in Jakarta before. However, if you’re like most people, these visa terms can either be overwhelming or confusing.

Below is the list of the common visa types in Jakarta, and be sure to choose the right one.

Short-term Visas

Short-term visas can be further categorized into the following:

1. Free tourist visa

  • Validity: 30 days
  • Extendability: No
  • Can you work? No.

2. Visa on arrival (VoA)

  • Validity: 30 days
  • Extendability: No
  • Can you work? No
  • Certain airports in Indonesia do not issue VoA, so make sure to find out which airport you will be arriving at

3. Single-entry business visa

  • Validity: 60 days
  • Extendability: Yes. Up to four times with 60 days each
  • Can you work? No. Only for attending business events

4. Multiple-entry business visa

  • Validity: 12 months with unlimited entries (each entry allows a maximum of 60-day stay)
  • Extendability: No.
  • Can you work? No. Only for attending business events

Long-term visas

You need a residency permit for long-term working and living in Jakarta as a foreigner. There are several types of long-term stay permits:

1. Working KITAS

  • Validity: 6 – 12 months
  • Sponsorship required
  • Can you work? Yes

2. Investor KITAS

  • For shareholders of PT PMA
  • Validity: 2 years
  • Can you work? Yes

3. Marriage KITAS or Spouse KITAS

  • Must be married to an Indonesian citizen
  • Can you work? Yes, only when you obtain a work permit from an employer
  • Can be upgraded to permanent stay permit known as KITAP after two years of marriage

4. Retirement KITAS

  • Available for seniors over 55 years old
  • Validity: 12 months
  • Extendability: Yes (annually for up to five years, then it can be upgraded to a permanent stay permit known as KITAP)
  • Can you work? No.

How to Start A Business in Jakarta

Business Entity Options for Foreign Investors

Foreigners establishing businesses in Jakarta have several options to choose for their legal structure:

PT PMA (Foreign Company)

A PT PMA is the most company type of legal entity in Jakarta for foreigners, but you have to meet the following criteria to set up one:

  • IDR 10 billion minimum investment for the investment plan
  • IDR 10 billion paid-up capital
  • Foreign ownership varies from 1% to 100% based on the Negative Investment List

PT (Local Company)

You can incorporate a PT company easily in Jakarta with only IDR 51 million of capital. According to the latest changes laid out in  Job Creation Law, the classification of Local PT in Indonesia based on paid-up capital as follows:

  • A micro-enterprise: less than IDR 1 billion
  • A small enterprise: IDR 1 – 5 billion
  • A medium enterprise: IDR 5-10 billion
  • A large enterprise: more than IDR 10 billion

However, the type of ownership for a PT is 100% local ownership.

Representative Office

Opening a representative office in Jakarta is the easiest among all types of legal entities we have just discussed. A foreign parent company establishes a representative office to conduct marketing activities or non-profit generating operations.

Business opportunities in Jakarta

Jakarta is a thriving hub for business and presents a plethora of opportunities for expatriates. The city’s strategic location, diverse economy, and ongoing development projects make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and multinational corporations. Expatriates looking to tap into the Indonesian market should explore technology, finance, and manufacturing sectors.

Networking within the local business community, understanding cultural nuances, and navigating bureaucratic processes are essential steps for success in Jakarta’s dynamic business landscape. With proper research and preparation, expats can capitalize on the numerous business opportunities that Jakarta has to offer.

Where to Live in Jakarta

Several places are recommended when you want to plan to move to Jakarta:

  • Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta
  • Kebayoran Baru, Kuningan, and Sudirman in South Jakarta
  • Golden Triangle and Menteng in Central Jakarta
  • The Chinatown and Tangerang in West Jakarta

However, foreigners are only allowed to lease a property; purchasing a property in Jakarta is not permitted for foreigners. Ways that can help foreigners overcome these restrictions is to buy a property or an apartment in Jakarta through PT PMA establishment.

Start your Business in Jakarta with InCorp Indonesia

As a leading consulting company in Indonesia with 10+ years of experience, InCorp Indonesia can provide guidance and assistance in visa application and company registration. We also provide other services such as business licensing, business process outsourcing, and local partner selection.

Talk to us now to discuss your requirements. Fill in the form below for free consultation.

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.

Are you ready to make your
mark in Indonesia?

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