Mixed Marriages – Indonesians and Expatriates


Mixed Marriages - Indonesians and Expatriates

There are many married couples in Indonesia where either the wife or husband is a foreigner and the spouse is Indonesian. Indonesian government regulations do NOT treat these two circumstances in the same manner. Almost all the regulations that apply to foreign wives of Indonesian men are very different than those that apply to foreign husbands of Indonesian women, few similarities can be found between the two circumstances.

We will attempt to touch on our understanding some of the pertinent regulations that affect the lives of people in these marriages. Be forewarned that there is GREAT leeway in the regulations. Some people find that they can wind their ways through their document needs in Indonesian officialdom with paying few bribes … but most will utilize the Indonesian spouse’s family connections, and/or facilitating payments, to lessen the trials.

The basis for the difference in treatment seems to be related to the issue of working. Foreign wives of Indonesian husbands are assumed by the Indonesian government to be housewives and mothers. Foreign husbands of Indonesian women are assumed to be looking for a job. The Indonesian government treats these two cases very differently. Foreign wives can easily enter Indonesia under an ikut suami status, these women are assumed to be ‘following their husbands’. The vital document for this status is the marriage certificate. Foreign husbands, on the other hand, must obtain a sponsor and work permit before they are issued a visa to reside in Indonesia. They are treated in the same manner as any other foreigner who wants to come to Indonesia to work.

Differences in the strictness of the application of the law also depend on who you are speaking to in a government office, some officers being more accommodating than others, as well as which sub branch government office you are dealing with. To put it simply … regulations are not applied equally for all.

Getting Married in Indonesia

In accordance with Law No. 1 of 1974 concerning marriages in Indonesia Article 2 (1): “a marriage is legitimate if it has been performed according to the laws of the respective religious beliefs of the parties concerned. “All couples who marry in Indonesia must declare a religion. Agnosticism and Atheism are not recognized. The Civil Registry Office (Kantor Catatan Sipil) can record marriages of persons of Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian-Protestant and Christian-Catholic faiths. Marriage partners must have the same religion, otherwise one partner must make a written declaration of change of religion.

The Religious Marriage under Islam is performed by the Office of Religious Affairs (Kantor Urusan Agama) in a ceremony at a mosque, the home, a restaurant, or any other place chosen by the couple and is legal immediately after the ceremony. A Christian, Hindu or Buddhist marriage is usually performed first in a church or temple ceremony.

After the religious ceremony, every non-Islamic marriage must be recorded with the Civil Registry (Kantor Catatan Sipil). Without the registration by the Civil Registry these marriages are not legal. Recording by Civil Registry officials can be performed directly at the religious ceremony for an additional fee.

Persons of non-Islamic faith are required to file with the Civil Registry Office in the Regency where they are staying first a Notice of Intention to Marry as well as a Letter of “No Impediment to Marriage” (Surat Keterangan tentang tidak adanya halangan terhadap perkawinan) obtained from their consular representatives.

For the issue of the Letter of No Impediment to Marriage by your Consular Representative you may need to present for yourself and your fiance(e) your:

  1. certificate of birth,

  2. certificate of your local council stating your nationality, legal address and marital status

  3. Passport(s) valid for more than 6 months for foreign citizens, or KTP (Identity card) for Indonesian citizens, and

  4. Certified Divorce Decrees (absolute/final) and/or Death Certificates regarding the termination of all previous marriages.

Different countries may have different requirements, so contact the Consular Representative of your country in their Jakarta Embassy for details well before the intended date of marriage.

For the Notice of Intention to Marry you have to submit some or all of the following documents for both partners to the Civil Registry Office. (Show the original and give them a photocopy – all documents should not be older than three months prior to the wedding):

  1. Certificate of the religious marriage,

  2. Passport for foreign citizens, or KTP (Identity card) for Indonesian citizens,

  3. Certified birth certificate, legalized and translated into Bahasa Indonesia,

  4. Certified divorce decree (absolute) or death certificates regarding the termination of all previous marriages,

  5. Proof that all taxes for the foreigner were paid,

  6. Certificate of the structure of your family

  7. Certificate of birth for all your legal children

  8. Certificate of religion

  9. Certificate of your marital status

  10. Four 4 x 6 cm photos, both partners side by side,

  11. Foreign citizens: ‘Letter of No Impediment to Marriage‘ issued by your Consular Representative,

  12. For Indonesian citizens: never married: a Surat Keterangan Belum Kawin from RT, Kepala Desa or Lurah (district chief); Men aged 18-21 and women aged 16-21:

  13. Parental letter of consent, signed across the meterai/tax stamp Rupiah 6,000.

Before the marriage, you and your fiance(e) also may wish to file with the Civil Registry a prenuptial Property Agreement (Surat Pernyataan Harta) which must be signed before a local Notary Public. This contract is necessary if you wish to hold property separately during the marriage. In the absence of such a document, Indonesian marriage law assumes joint ownership of property. Two witnesses over the age of 18 are required. They must show the originals and present photocopies of their passports if they are foreign citizens or KTP (identity cards) if they are Indonesian citizens. Civil Registry employees can act as witnesses.

The Civil Registry office has a Mandatory Waiting Period of 10 working days from the date of filing. This waiting period may be waived for tourists presenting a guest registration form (Form A). Islamic Marriage Certificates (Buku Nikah) issued by the Office of Religious Affairs (Kantor Urusan Agama) are legally valid in Indonesia and do not require registration with any other agency if you are going to live in Indonesia.

However, if you might move somewhere else in the future, get a marriage certificate issued by the Civil Registry and an officially certified translation right away (see below). All other Marriage Certificates will be issued by the Civil Registry usually on the same or next day. A sworn English translation of the marriage certificate should be obtained for use abroad. It may be necessary for the marriage certificate or translation to be registered by your Consular Agency. Or you may choose to have the sworn translation of the marriage certificate verified or a special translation made by the Consular Agency of your home country or the Consular Agency of your country of residence might prove useful.

Process of legalization of documents:

  1. Legalization of all documents is done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Departemen Luar Negeri), Directorate for Consular Affairs – Legalization Section, Jl. Taman Pejambon 6, Jakarta Pusat

  2. Then these documents have to be translated into Bahasa Indonesia by a certificate translator.

  3. The translations have to be validated by the Ministry of Justice (Departemen Kehakiman), Legalization Section, Jl. Rasuna Said 3, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan and also by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

When you finish all the paperwork detailed above, take it to your government’s embassy in Jakarta where they can validate any necessary documents. In your home country, you can present these wide array of official documents to the local government to get a legal wedding certificate in your home country.

After reading through the extensive bureaucracy involved for foreigners marrying Indonesians … you can see why a lot of them opt to marry overseas instead!

Getting Married Abroad

If you have been married abroad, get a translation of your marriage certificate consularized by the Indonesian Consulate or Embassy abroad. These documents are necessary to register your marriage in Indonesia. In a few cases (usually due to differing religions) the foreign spouse may be asked to convert or the couple must remarry, but in most cases a consularized translation of the marriage certificate is adequate. Especially in cases where the couple already have children and have been married for some time, there are fewer questions about the legality of their marriage.

Indonesian government regulations stipulate that you must return to Indonesia within a year of your marriage and register your marriage with the Civil Registry (Kantor Catatan Sipil). When you register you will obtain a Tanda Bukti Laporan Perkawinan, which makes your marriage legal in Indonesia.

The Kantor Catatan Sipil may ask you for … are you ready … a letter from the foreign spouse’s parents saying they give permission for the marriage, even after the fact! Seems strange … but this request has come up repeatedly. So, if you want to avoid hassles, get a letter from you folks or other senior family member before you start through the bureaucracy at Kantor Catatan Sipil.

They may also ask for a certified letter from the foreign spouse’s embassy verifying that the marriage certificate is legal … which shouldn’t be any problem if it is notarized. If you have children, you bring them with you to these meetings … more proof that you’re married! Don’t despair, often the officials are happy with just seeing a copy of your foreign marriage certificate, consularized by the Indonesian consulate and that is adequate to register you. But as with everything else – there is an exception to every rule!

It is customary in Indonesia to throw a big reception to which everyone one of the Indonesian partner’s family members, friends and acquaintances is invited. Some couples who have married abroad may opt to have a reception in Indonesia which, in theory, demonstrates the Indonesian spouse’s family’s support of the marriage.

Inter-faith marriages

Indonesian government regulations make it difficult for people of different faiths to marry. If you are married in Indonesia, the official government line is that either the bride or groom must convert. This can be done in the Kantor Urusan Agama in the Religious Affairs Ministry. While for some this is a true conversion, for others this is simply a paperwork formality to enable the couple to marry and ease documentation procedures. As with everything else – you may find yourself the exception, with no one asking anything about your faith when you go to get married or register your marriage.

Indeed, some inter-faith Indonesian couples purposefully get married while they are overseas and return with the marriage a fait accompli … legal documents and all … and that is one way out of one of the Indonesian partners having to convert in order to marry.

Mind you we are simply discussing legalities here. Once you move to Indonesia, one may find that the pressures from the Indonesian spouse’s family and friends may influence the foreign spouse’s previous decision to convert or not to convert to the Indonesian spouse’s religion. Indonesian society tends to be much more religious than western societies. Even if your husband isn’t particularly religious, be prepared for his family to be so. Generally speaking Indonesians find it very difficult to go against their family’s wishes.

There is a support group for foreign women married to Indonesian men who are considering converting to Islam, called Sisters. There is also a support group in Jakarta for expat men (mostly married to Indonesian women) who have converted to Islam Jakarta International Muslim Society Tel (021) 741-8941 Fax (021) 741-8942 E mail: yjimslhl@yahoo.com.

Registration of Indonesians Spouses Living Overseas

Be advised that all Indonesians living overseas must register their presence with the nearest Indonesian consular office. The penalty if you do not do this within two years of your arrival is certain complications in renewal of passports, and could even entail loss of Indonesian citizenship.

For more information on Indonesian citizenship issues.

Expatriate Men Married to Indonesian Women

Visa regulations for foreign husbands of Indonesian women

Foreign husbands of Indonesians are treated just like other foreign men in regards to obtaining a KITAS (limited stay permit). That is, you must have a sponsor and a work permit before the KITAS can be issued. Work permit first, visa second! There is NO special dispensation for foreign men married to Indonesian women to automatically entitle them to limited stay status. The wife may be able to sponsor her children’s KITAS – but not her husband’s.

Unfortunately an Indonesian wife can not sponsor a foreign husband for residency. She can be the sponsor for a social visa which allows you to stay for a maximum of 1-2 months at a time (with 4 renewals – up to 6 months). This visa, however, does NOT allow you to work.

The government’s policy behind this regulation seems to be related to the fact that foreign men are assumed to need a job to support their family in Indonesia. Only foreign ‘experts’ can be issued work permits in Indonesia. The foreign husband’s expert status depends on whether or not he possesses job skills/knowledge that Indonesians don’t have.

Foreign experts must locate an Indonesian sponsor who then applies to the Manpower Ministry for the foreigner to work in their business as an expert. Once the work permit (IKTA – izin kerja tenaga asing) has been issued, this becomes the basis for the application to Immigration for the KITAS. Again, work permit first, visa second!

One of the most basic questions is “Will marriage in Indonesian woman give me permanent residence there?” As one visitor to this site so succinctly stated it … No. You have no more rights than a visiting tourist and will have to leave unless you have a Kitas/business/social budaya or Tourist Visa. Your children will also be considered foreign citizens. Basically you are entitled to nothing and are subjected to excess immigration fees.

Short-term visas

Foreign husbands of Indonesians can enter Indonesia on a tourist or social/visit visa initially, then try to find a sponsoring organizion (job) after their arrival. The social/visit visa is preferable to a tourist visa since the tourist visa can not be extended past 60 days; you have to leave Indonesia and re-enter the country on a new 60-day tourist visa.

You must obtain the Social Visit Visa from an Indonesian embassy overseas before entering Indonesia. Your wife can sponsor a Social Visit Visa, which is initially good for two months and allows four one-month extensions (at about Rp 400,000 each) in Indonesia without having to leave the country. If the Indonesian wife sponsors the social/visit visa and then the foreign spouse finds employment, he will need to leave Indonesia and go to Singapore, for example, to have the new visa (that his new employers obtains) stamped in his passport and reenter under the new sponsorship.

Sample Letter to request a Kunjungan SOSBUD Visa
Sample Letter to ask for an extension to a SOSBUD Visa
Sample Request and Sponsorship Letter

Opening Company

Some foreign men married to Indonesians choose another route – by starting a business which is owned by the wife, her family or friends. The business can then apply for a work permit for the foreign husband as an expert. Of course this depends on your area of expertise. For example, if you are an expert diver, your wife can open a dive shop and hire you to teach diving. If you are a chef, your wife can open a restaurant, etc.

In some fields, such as management consulting, a foreigner can open a 100%- foreign owned company. These regulations change often, so check with a consultant or lawyer to determine whether or not these might be viable options for your situation.

Change of citizenship for spouse

We have only heard of a few instances where a foreign husband has changed his citizenship to Indonesian. The foreign spouse can apply for citizenship after a 5-year period of residence in Indonesia. If the Indonesian wife is insistent with the authorities, she can help her spouse get his Indonesian passport. The obvious advantage of an Indonesian passport is that it eliminates the need for a work permit. For more information on Indonesian citizenship issues and Indonesian Nationality Act.

Nationality of children

By Indonesian law, the nationality of children follows the nationality of the father. In newspaper articles covering problems in the nationality of children from mixed marriages, the government’s response has been very rigid. All children of foreign men are foreigners (WNA – warga negara asing). It makes no difference where the children were born as to whether or not they have the right to Indonesian citizenship.

The only way that we are aware that these children can be classified as Indonesian citizens is, if the real father’s name (the foreigner) does not appear on the Indonesian birth certificate. If a father is listed, he will most likely have a fictitious Indonesian name. In this case, these children will be Indonesian citizens, but will not have any rights as a foreign citizen. This status would undoubtedly be difficult to reverse at some future date, even through the courts. While this avenue is a very difficult choice, this is the only ‘easy’ way we are aware of for these children to become Indonesian citizens.

Registering the Birth of a Child

Children born out of wedlock

If an unmarried Indonesian woman has a baby with an expatriate father and wants the baby to be an Indonesian citizen, the only way we are aware of is if the mother states the father as “unknown” on the birth certificate. However, without being married to the mother of the baby, the expatriate father will have no legal rights towards the child. And, you will not be able to obtain a foreign passport for the child, as the father of the child is unknown. Some couples choose to do this in order for their children to be Indonesian citizens, so that they don’t have the hassle of yearly KITAS renewals. Be advised that it will result in other legal hassles down the road and that as Indonesian citizens, these children will not be allowed to attend international schools in Indonesia.

Visa implications for children

Just as the foreign father must have a KITAS to reside in Indonesia, his children must also have KITAS. Children of foreign fathers may not possess Indonesian passports, but must have a passport issued by their father’s embassy. We understand that Indonesian wives can sponsor their children’s KITAS.

In the event of a divorce or death of the foreign spouse, these children would still be considered foreign citizens, even if they stay in Indonesia with the Indonesian mother and the foreign father leaves the country.

Education concerns for children

If the father of a child is foreign, the child is able to attend an international school in Indonesia. Though the costs are high, the education is highly superior to the Indonesian school system. Foreign children can also attend Indonesian schools, if their parents so choose.

Home ownership

Since foreigners aren’t allowed to own homes in Indonesia, if the couple plans to buy a house, it will have to be solely in the name of the wife, and/or her family members. It may be impossible to borrow money from a bank to purchase a home as the bank will recognize that ownership of the husband. s half of the home will revert to the Indonesian government in the case of a default on the loan.

There have been newspaper articles detailing announcements made by the government that foreigners may now purchase apartments. In fact, to this day, there are no regulations which clearly allow foreign ownership of apartments, though rumors abound that these regulations are forthcoming. Currently, the only way a purchase of an apartment can be arranged is if you have a contract with the developer saying that title for the apartment stays in the developer’s name until such time as the laws are changed so that the ownership of the apartment can be in the foreigner’s name. Needless to say, seriously consider whether or not you can trust the developer to honor the contract.

Expatriate Women Married to Indonesian Men

Visa status for foreign wives

If the wife is the foreign spouse, the legal situation is totally different. Her Indonesian husband can easily apply for a KITAS for her with the status ‘ikut suami’ , accompanying the husband. The assumption of the Indonesian government seems to be that these foreign women are housewives, at home raising the children and not in the job market. The foreign wife is allowed to reside in Indonesia under this status, but not allowed to work. The basis for this sponsorship is the marriage certificate. Besides that, you need a letter of sponsorship from your husband, your passport, your husband. s ID card and his family card (kartu keluarga).

If you were married overseas, as most foreign wives of Indonesians are, you must take a registered copy of your marriage certificate to the consular section of the nearest Indonesian consulate or embassy. Ask the consular staff to consularize a translation of the marriage certificate and a copy of the foreign marriage certificate.

It is important to have a marriage conducted abroad registered in Indonesia at the Kantor Catatan Sipil within one year of the marriage or as soon as possible after the couple moves to Indonesia. Otherwise the marriage is not considered legal.

If a foreign wife of an Indonesian is on an ikut suami status and wants to leave Indonesia, she must have a letter stating that her husband has given his permission for her to depart. This letter is needed in order to apply for an exit/reentry permit at the immigration office. This regulation is a formality, but can cause difficulties in the case of a separation, divorce or an attempt to spirit children out of the country.

Employment for foreign wives

A foreign wife of an Indonesian may not work in the formal sector unless she has a work permit, just like all other foreigners. This requires special qualifications and can be complicated unless the wife has skills companies here are desperate for and willing to go through the hassle of all the paperwork which is expensive and time consuming.

Change of citizenship for foreign wife

Foreign wives of Indonesian husbands may become Indonesian citizens after one year of marriage. If they choose to do so, they must give up their previous citizenship. If they do not choose to change their citizenship after the one-year period, the normal regulations regarding obtaining Indonesian nationality by way of naturalization would apply (5 years residence, etc.).

Some foreign wives who have changed their citizenship to Indonesian may be able to arrange it so that they keep their foreign passports, yet be advised that according to Indonesian regulations this is illegal. Some countries allow you to give up your citizenship once in your life and still get it back again in the future, so check with your embassy to see what rules would apply and what the legal implications of giving up your citizenship would be.

Consider carefully the choice to change your citizenship. You may want to preserve your children’s rights to foreign citizenship for the day they want to go to your home country for university education. Foreign student tuition isn’t cheap! For more information on Indonesian citizenship issues and Indonesian Nationality Act

Nationality of children

As stated above, Indonesian government regulations stipulate that the citizenship of a child follows the father’s citizenship. When an Indonesian man marries a foreign woman their children are considered to be Indonesian citizens (WNI, warga negara Indonesia) by the Indonesian government.

If your child is born overseas, you must first obtain a birth certificate from the country of birth. Take this to the consular office at the Indonesian consulate or embassy and apply for an Indonesian birth certificate. The consulate will make an Indonesian translation of the foreign birth certificate and consularize the translation. This translation becomes the child’s legal birth certificate for paperwork matters in Indonesia. Be sure that a copy of the foreign birth certificate is consularized by the Indonesian consular office as well. If the consular office is in short supply of passports, they may only issue a travel document for you to take the child to Indonesia, with the passport being issued after your arrival in Indonesia.

Despite Indonesian law, some parents (foreign wife/Indonesian husband) choose to have the children follow the citizenship of the mother. This, of course, depends on the laws of the mother’s country. The United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and many other countries entitle children to hold citizenship, no matter where they are born, as long as one parent holds nationality. If you choose foreign nationality for your children, they will have to hold limited stay permits (KITAS), just like their mother. If you decide to apply for a foreign passport, be advised that you maybe asked questions at immigration about why the children don’t follow the Indonesian father’s nationality. Your reasons can be explained and you can be on your way!

While Indonesian law does not allow dual citizenship (two passports), there does seem to be some very unofficial turning of the heads when young children of a foreign mother and Indonesian father seem to have somewhat unexplainable travel stamps in their passport (as in you leave Indonesia, but never seem to go anywhere). Officially, dual citizenship is illegal in Indonesia, so consider and plan for the implications of these regulations whenever you travel with your children to or from Indonesia.

Visa implications for children

Children born to Indonesian fathers do not need visas to enter or reside in Indonesia. They are full Indonesian citizens. However, they may need a visa to enter their mother. s home country if they travel on an Indonesian passport. Be certain to discuss the legal status of your child very thoroughly with the consular officials in your home country or at the mother’s embassy in Jakarta. Issuing a foreign visa in the child’s Indonesian passport maybe seen to invalidate the child’s foreign citizenship.

In some cases, foreign mother’s of these Indonesian children have been asked to provide proof of their husband’s permission to take the children out of the country, if he is not traveling with them. This problem seems to arise when the last name of the foreign mother and the Indonesian children are different. If you are worried about being asked, be sure to carry a letter from your husband and show it to the immigration officials whiny depart Indonesia.

Education Concerns for Children

Because the children of these marriages follow the father’s citizenship, they are Indonesian citizens, and therefore in the past have not been allowed to attend international schools in Indonesia (this was a government regulation, not the school’s). The only exception to this rule was when the mother had a work permit or the parents were divorced. In these instances, the children could attend an international school, through the mother’s sponsorship. If the mother’s status is ikut suami and she is sponsored by her husband, the children must attend Indonesian schools or be home schooled. There are no restrictions for children of foreign nationality to attend Indonesian schools, when both parents are foreigners.

Since the above was written, the regulations have loosened a bit … and now the “Indonesian children” of expat women and Indonesian men have been able to attend some international schools (not all). Following is the story of one successful attempt:

The person I contacted at the Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan ministry said that I needed a letter from my embassy, requesting that my child be admitted to an international school. The person I knew at the embassy then called P&K and clarified matters, so in the end I did not need that letter after all.

I wrote a letter to P&K detailing our choice of school, included my daughter’s date of birth and passport details, and husband’s KTP particulars. I had to sign the letter on a Rp. 6,000 meterai (tax stamp).

The man I spoke with at P&K, Pak Yunus, promised the embassy contact 3 working days and the letter permission for attending an international school would be ready. I did not have to pay for the letter, and Pak Yunus was courteous, and even sought my advice on the education system differences in Indonesia and Singapore.”

The address to contact is:
Dir-Gen Pedidikan Dasar Dan Menegah
Jalan Jend. Sudirman
Gedung E Lantai 5
UP Bagian Tata Laksana
Tel: 572-5610
Pak Yunus 572-5612

Home ownership

Since foreigners aren’t yet allowed to own homes in Indonesia, if the couple plans to buy a house, it will have to be solely in the name of the husband, and/or his family members. You can put the title for your home or other property in the names of your children. If they are minors, the parents or other family members can be appointed as guardians until they come of age.

It may be impossible to borrow money from a bank to purchase a home as the bank will recognize that ownership of the wife’s half of the home will revert to the Indonesian government in the case of a default on the loan. The only exception to this is if the foreign wife has signed a prenuptial agreement (pisah harta) stating that she is not entitled to her husband’s property upon his death or a divorce. In this case a couple can receive a housing loan.

Visa status for unmarried couples

An Indonesian husband will not be able to sponsor a limited stay permit (KITAS) for his foreign fiancé until they are legally married. If they wish to live in Indonesia prior to being married, the husband-to-be should apply for a social/visit visa for his wife-to-be. Once the marriage is legal, he can then apply for a KITAS without the foreign wife having to leave the country. If she enters on a tourist visa, she must leave Indonesia after the KITAS has been approved to have the new visa stamped in her passport in an Indonesian embassy abroad. So, beware of the possible future travel implications of entering Indonesia on a tourist visa — if your intention is to reside in Indonesia.

In the case of a divorce

The legal rulings regarding divorce in mixed marriages are somewhat contradictory. It is not easy to find out exactly what applies. Some points in the law are clear: The property owned prior to the marriage remain the property of the person concerned. Any inheritance received by the husband or wife during the marriage is not shared, but remains the property of the person concerned. Any income earned by either person during the marriage is shared. In case of divorce the mother is generally given custody of young children, however this is not clear-cut and the decision is made on a case-by-case basis.


It is highly recommended, and very wise, for wives of Indonesian husbands to coax their husbands into writing a will. If the couple doesn’t have a will, and the Indonesian husband passes away, the wife will have to go to court to get her status recognized/legalized. As she is only given one year to sell any property owned by her husband, time is of the essence. Should her husband’s family challenge her right to inheritance and she does not have a will, she may lose out to his family. Even though the marriage law states clearly that a wife shall inherit from her husband, the law interprets matters differently when the wife is a foreigner.

Help with Paperwork

Foreign wives of Indonesians may find that it relatively easy to make their own visa applications together with their husband. Be patient and understanding and develop a good rapport with the various officials that you deal with. Remember, you will need their help EVERY YEAR of your residence in Indonesia to extend your visa. Foreign husbands of Indonesians women may find it easier to use an agent.

If you choose to use one of the hundreds of agents who operate in Jakarta, beware. Some are unscrupulous and will charge you 10 times the actual fee for their services. They may also obtain incorrect or incomplete documentation which will cause many headaches and difficulties at a later date.

Ask friends for recommendations, compare prices and be sure of exactly what paperwork the agent will complete for the fee. There are agents listed in the classified section of major newspapers. Don. t accept the first one you talk to, tell them you are looking at the services of several agents and already have other offers that you want to compare their offer to. You will be surprised at how the price drops down.

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In summation, you will find enormous flexibility in the implementation of regulations in Indonesia. Almost everything can be ‘worked out’, depending on who you know — or what kind of connections the Indonesian spouse’s family has within the bureaucracy. What works for you may not work for someone else and visa versa. It’s best to educate yourself thoroughly as to the legal implications of the various steps you take in your quest to establish legal residence in Indonesia.

As one of our readers said it “The laws are stretched left and right beyond belief by Indonesian leaders, enabling multi-billion dollar thieves to get away with it with no punishment in sight. So, a little stretching here and there for personal use and for the sake of one’s family, especially when it does not harm anyone, is in my mind okay.”


Indonesian Citizenship Information sources:
http://www.asiamaya.com – Bahasa Indonesia, partly in English). contains several Indonesian regulations and more
http://www.asiamaya.com/Konsultasi%20hukum/perkawinan/perk_campuran.htm- Opinions on citizenship

Information on the Nationality Act:

source : http://www.expat.or.id