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How to apply for an Indonesia student visa

If you’re excited to further your education and broaden your cultural horizons by studying abroad in Indonesia, you’ll need to gain a student visa.

Indonesian student visas are made up of three official documents: a study permit, an entrance visa (VITAS), and a temporary residence permit (KITAS).

Entrance visas last up to six months, whereas residence permits remain valid for 12 months and must be renewed annually until you complete your program.

The entire Indonesian student visa process can take up to two months from start to finish, so it’s wise to begin applying as soon as you gain confirmation of your university place.

Although fees will vary depending on your nationality and the exchange rate at your time of travel, the whole process costs around IDR 1,970,000. This works out to around $135, £103, or €104.

Application steps:

The complete visa application procedure can be broken down into three parts and several steps. Following these will ensure you have the greatest likelihood of acceptance.

Part 1 - How to apply for a study permit:

  1. Accept a place at an Indonesian University: Receive a formal letter of admission and pay any enrollment fees.
  2. Your University begins the application process: Your institution will begin an application on your behalf using the Ministry of Education and Culture online portal.
  3. Send over documentation: Your university will need several pieces of supporting documentation to complete the application. You’ll find a full list of what paperwork is required in the next section.
  4. Submit application and await decision: The turnaround time on applications is between one and two weeks. The Ministry of Education and Culture will forward your approved study permit and a visa authorization to the Immigration Department in your home country so you can begin the visa application process.

Part 2 - How to apply for an entrance visa (VITAS):

  1. Contact your local embassy or consulate: Make a visa application appointment. You can find a list of Indonesian foreign missions here.
  2. Get your documents in order: You’ll need to take several documents to your appointment. A breakdown of what’s required is included in the next section.
  3. Attend your appointment: As well as submitting your documents, you’ll be asked some simple questions.
  4. Pay the application fee: Your application won’t be processed until you’ve paid. It’s worth checking the accepted payment methods because these can vary between consulates.
  5. Receive a decision: Once your visa has been approved, you should return to the consulate to collect your passport and documents.

Part 3 - How to apply for a residence permit (KITAS):

  1. Visit the immigration department in Indonesia: It’s vital that you do this within 30 days of arriving in Indonesia. You’ll need to complete some paperwork and pay a fee.
  2. Receive a decision: It takes about 10 days after submission to convert your VITAS into a KITAS.
  3. Register with the police headquarters: Once your KITAS has been issued, you must get a police report letter (STM) from your local police department and take it to your municipality’s population office. You’ll be provided with a certificate of registration for temporary residence (SKPPS) in return.

Required documents:

You’ll be asked to submit different pieces of documentation at each stage of the application process. We’ve made a list of everything you could be asked to present to the authorities:

For the study permit:

  • Formal admissions letter from your university
  • A recommendation letter from your university
  • A letter of recommendation from an Indonesian embassy, mission, or consulate in your home nation
  • Completed online application form (accessed through the online portal)
  • Three copies of your passport
  • Two passport-sized photos of yourself
  • Record of your academic achievements
  • Your resume/C.V.
  • A recently-issued health certificate
  • A letter of financial guarantee to prove you have the financial resources to cover your expenses while in Indonesia

For the entrance visa (VITAS):

  • Your study permit
  • A copy of your valid passport
  • Formal university admissions letter
  • A recommendation letter from your institution
  • A record of your qualifications
  • Your resume/C.V.
  • Two recent passport photos
  • A letter of financial guarantee
  • Health certificate

For the residence permit (KITAS):

  • Copy of your study permit
  • Copy of your entrance visa (VITAS)
  • Your passport
  • Letter of university acceptance
  • Letter of recommendation from your university
  • Your resume/C.V.
  • Academic transcripts and records
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover living expenses

Can your family join you in Indonesia?

Once you’ve been granted your temporary residence permit (KITAS), you might be able to bring your children and spouse over to Indonesia on a dependent visa, also known as a family KITAS.

Your loved ones will need to apply for the dependent visa at a local Indonesian immigration office, so they’ll first need to obtain an entry visa into the country. After filling in the necessary forms and attending an interview, their single-visit visa will be converted into the KITAS.

Can you work while on an Indonesian student visa?

Unfortunately, an Indonesian student visa doesn’t allow you to work alongside your studies. It’s really important that you bear this in mind and have sufficient financial resources to cover your living expenses.

What if your visa request is rejected?

If you follow the step-by-step instructions and submit complete and valid documents, there’s very little chance that you’ll be denied entry to Indonesia.

In the unlikely event that your application is denied, there’s no need to abandon your study abroad plans. Although Indonesia doesn’t have a formal appeals process, you can reapply at your earliest convenience. Taking the time to fix the issues in your initial application will give you the best chance of acceptance.