If the question ‘how do I move to Bali’ has ever crossed your mind, you have come to the right place. In this article, you will get an overview of the steps you need to take to become a Bali expat.
Moving to Bali
The first thing to do if considering moving to Bali is to make sure what type of visa you need. There are different types of visas, and since Indonesian visa policy is often changing, it is essential to be up to date with the latest visa requirements to ensure the legality of your stay in Indonesia.
Visa on Arrival and Visa Exemption
Tourist visas are issued upon arrival in Bali. Visa exemption is available for citizens from 169 countries who will get a free visa stamp in their passports. However, it is non-extendable and is valid for 30 days.
If you plan to spend more than 30 days in Bali, you can obtain Visa on Arrival (the VOA). The cost of this visa is 35 USD, and it is valid for 30 days and you can extend it for another 30 days. Hence, the maximum stay with the VOA is 60 days.
In practice, people often confuse the visa exemption and the VOA and get an unexpected negative surprise when turns out that they do not have the VOA but the Visa Exemption which is non-extendable.
The way to distinguish is the sticker of VOA which you will get as a result of a specific procedure at the airport.
Find more information about short-stay visas in Indonesia here.
For people preparing to start a business in Bali or attending seminars and conferences, there are two types of business visas available.
Single-Entry Business Visa (i.e., Social or Social Budaya Visa)
The length of stay with single entry business visa is 60 days, and you can extend it four times, 30 days per extension. Hence, the maximum stay is roughly half a year. It is a single-entry visa; therefore if the visa holder leaves the country, the visa will no longer be valid.
Multiple-Entry Business Visa
Multiple-entry business visa is suitable for people who need to make several visits to Indonesia. It is valid for one year, and the maximum stay per stay is 60 days. Hence, after every 60 days, the person must leave Indonesia.
Business visas are not working permits, thus working or earning any revenue in Indonesia is not allowed. Both visas require sponsorship from an Indonesian company or an individual. If you don’t have one, Emerhub can provide sponsorship and assist you.
Read more and apply for business visa sponsorship from Emerhub.
Spouse-sponsored residence permit
Being married to an Indonesian citizen allows you to apply for a spouse-sponsored temporary stay permit (KITAS). However, the Indonesian government must acknowledge the marriage.
Marrying an Indonesian grants you a temporary stay permit which allows living but not working in Indonesia. If you wish to work in Indonesia, your employer must sponsor the working KITAS for you.
After two years of marriage, you can apply for a permanent stay permit (KITAP). KITAP allows working in Indonesia as an independent adviser or a consultant but not w for any specific company.
Here’s an overview of the process of acquiring a spouse-sponsored marriage KITAS in Indonesia.
Retiring in Bali
Retirement visa enables to enjoy an early retirement in Bali, and it is available for anyone starting from the age of 55. Retirement visa is initially granted for one year, but it can be extended annually to a total of 5 years.
Afterward, you can apply for a permanent stay permit. Keep in mind that you cannot work with a retirement visa and it is possible to hold only one visa at a time – either a retirement visa or work and stay visa.
General requirements for a retirement visa:
- Minimum age 55 years
- Copy of your passport that will be valid for at least 18 months
- Health insurance
- Lease agreement valid for one year and the documents related to the leased property
- Having an Indonesian maid
If you have further questions, here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a retirement visa.
Working in Bali as a foreigner
If you want to work in Bali, you must first obtain a work permit (IMTA). IMTA will be the base for issuing a limited stay permit (VITAS) and a limited stay card (KITAS).
Both foreign-owned (PT PMA) and Indonesian-owned (PT Local) limited liability companies can issue KITAS to foreigners. However, PT Local can issue KITAS to foreigners only if they fulfill specific capital requirements.
The minimum validity of KITAS is six months, maximum 12 months. There is no limitation on the amount of how many KITAS a limited liability company can sponsor.
A representative office of a foreign company can also sponsor visas. However, a representative office can issue only 2 KITAS to foreigners.
Starting a company in Bali
The good vibes of Bali do not make it only a dream destination for Eat, Pray, Love holidays but it is also an island full of business opportunities.
Two most common legal entity types in Bali are PT Local (a 100% locally-owned limited liability company) and PT PMA (a company that is either partly or fully owned by foreign companies or citizens).
Setting up a PT PMA
To establish a foreign-owned company in Bali, you need to obtain a Principal License from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). After that, a limited liability company (PT PMA) can be set up.
The maximum allowed foreign ownership depends on the business classification of the company. Limitation of the maximum foreign ownership means that for company registration, the foreigners must have a local partner. If you do not have such local partner, Emerhub can assist you with this.
For example, the business classifications real estate and trading (import, export) can be 100% foreign-owned. In the hospitality business, the maximum foreign ownership can be 100%, depending on the business classification.
For example, as regulated by the Investment Law, non-star to 3-star hotels can have foreign ownership up to 67%, an Indonesian shareholder must hold the remaining 33%. For 3+ stars, it can be up to 100%.
In addition to general licenses, operating as a specific business may demand several special permits. For example, a restaurant needs a permission to sell alcohol, and a hotel requires a tourism license, etc.
The shelf companies that many business consultants provide in Bali do not often have these specific licenses and thus are not sufficient for operating the planned business.
Read more on how to set up a foreign company in Indonesia.
Setting up a Local PT company
You can start a local PT company with as little capital as 51 million IDR (~3,800 USD). However, if the local company plans to hire foreign employees, it should have a minimum of 1 billion IDR (~75,000 USD) capital per foreigner.
Note that local companies can only have 100% local ownership and even 1% foreign shareholders would make it a foreign company. If you are going to use a local company that you want to have full control over then Emerhub can act as a nominee shareholder and you control the company through a set of legal agreements.
You may have heard stories of foreign nationals getting scammed with nominee arrangements. This usually happens when the foreign national trusts a local individual to act in good faith and hold shares on behalf of them. When money gets involved, we strongly advise to stay rational and go for safer options.
|PT PMA||PT Local|
|Minimum investment||10 billion IDR
|Same as paid up capital|
Paid up capital
|2,5 billion IDR
51 million IDR
(~3,800 USD) in the case of local employees
|Allowed foreign ownership||Up to 100%, depending on business classification||No foreign ownership allowed|
|Investment reporting to the BKPM, and more compliance requirements||Fewer compliance requirements|
Requirements for issuing
KITAS to foreigners
|Can hire foreigners||
Paid up capital 1 billion IDR
|Combining several business activities under one company||Many limitations, depending on the business classification||No limitations|
Recruiting skilled workforce and obtaining licenses can also be complicated in Indonesia. Emerhub can handle the legal framework and help you find qualified employees.
Read more on how to set up a business in Bali.
Living in Bali
Renting and buying property
Since only the citizens of Indonesia can hold land ownership (Hak Milik), many foreign investors use a local nominee to buy real estate in Bali. This is risky because it does not guarantee protection for the investment. A safe way to acquire property in Bali is by setting up a 100% foreign-owned PT PMA. This enables foreigners to acquire Hak Guna Bangunan, the Right to Build, and Hak Pakai, the Right to Use.
Read more on how to buy property in Bali as a foreigner safely.
To rent property in Bali, the foreigner must have a KITAS. Typical lease periods vary from 1 to 3 years. Leasehold Agreements can be contracted for up to 25 years, frequently with an opportunity to extend them.
Opening a Bank Account
Opening a bank account in Indonesia has become easier due to the regulatory changes made in 2015. Generally, KITAS is necessary, but some banks do make exceptions when you have a local reference. You can find a well-explained step-by-step guide on how to open a bank account in Bali here.
If you wish to open a local bank account without having a KITAS, then Emerhub may be able to assist you. Contact [email protected] for more information.
Bali is a paradise island, and it doesn’t just offer plenty of options for a nice lifestyle, but you can also see it as a business opportunity with millions of potential consumers. However, when moving to Bali make sure you take time to prepare yourself to avoid some of the common pitfalls.
Emerhub’s Bali office is here for you to help you get started. Contact our consultants using the form below and let’s discuss how we can support you and your business in Bali.