VISA procedures, episode I

Finally! 23 hours before my flight left to Jakarta I got my VISA! It was a really stressful last week and without Pak Wawan helping me, I would never had made it in time before my flight left.

So for all of you curious about how this procedure worked out for me here is a manual (but be aware that rules and things change frequently) to arrange a VISA to travel into Indonesia. The manual of how to get your KITAS (which you need to stay for limited stay) will be coming soon after my first week in Jakarta.

1. Application at RISTEK (2 months, depending on which part of the month you send it)

From 15-12-2007 official permits for foreign researchers pursuing research activities in Indonesia, will be issued by the State Ministry for Research and Technology and not by LIPI anymore.
You will have to arrange all documents which are stated at RISTEK’s website.
The most time consuming one is getting the letter from your counterpart in Indonesia (this took most of the time for me), stating that your sponsor supports the cooperation research, the title of the project and contact person. The best way to arrange this is to find an Indonesian contact person who will go to the offices in person to ask for the letter. The safest way to get the letter is to ask your contact person to scan and email it to you. The official version of this letter for me got lost in the mail system, but the fax was sufficient at the embassy.
In the mean time arrange the rest of the documents necessary for application. And also send a separate abstract of your research proposal (otherwise they will request for it later)
Fill in the online application form and send all the documents by email to

Once a month somewhere in the middle (it was 12th of March for me), the coordinating team will discuss all the research proposal and decide if they will approve it or not. Be sure to send your application way before the ½ of the month. After this meeting I had to wait for 3 weeks to hear the outcome of this meeting by email luckily it was -> approved!

2. Application Immigration Jakarta
(2 weeks)

Now RISTEK will have to send your application to Immigration Jakarta, this will take at least 10 (working) days. Although, if you are in a rush, you can ask for the express procedure (300.000 rupiah). Don’t count on this last procedure, I asked for the express procedure but it still took 10 days. They asked me to send CV, copy of the passport and pass photo by email. After 10 days -> approved!

Now RISTEK will have to fax 2 documents to You AND your Embassy (Embassy Netherlands fax: +31 70 3643 331):

  • Penguasaan visa (=approval Immigration)
  • Permohonan visa (=approval RISTEK).

In my case the Embassy did not receive the fax so I could hand over my own copy. My contact person in Jakarta (Wawan) was so kind for me to check personally at RISTEK, that really speeded up the process of faxing.

3. Application at Embassy (5 days)

Day 1: First call the eductions department of your Embassy (For the Netherlands: 070 3109140, Ibu Rina) if they received the 2 documents by fax. Then go to your Embassy (NL: between 9-13:00, to Ibu Rina, kamer 15) and give here the following documents:

  • Pass photo
  • Application form (fill in and print from
  • Passport
  • Flight schedule
  • Letter of your sponsor/counterpart (same as send to RISTEK 1.)
  • Letter from your supervisor stating your purpose of research (in my case: fieldwork for PhD)
  • Penguasaan visa (=approval Immigration)
  • Permohonan visa (=approval RISTEK)

A letter will be prepared, and you get your paper back, which you should hand over at the visa counter. Pay 100 euro’s (take cash with you in case the PIN is defect, otherwise you will have to search a ATM like I did) and come back in 4 days. I did this in 2 days (in stead of 5) and the staff of the Embassy was very kind to make an exception so that I could still catch my flight.

Day 5. Pick up your passport, WITH VISA inside -> celebrate, fly to Indonesia and prepare for 2 more weeks of visa procedures when in Indonesia.

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