Other than the growing economy, rich natural resources and huge domestic market, one of the main reasons foreign nationals decide to move to Indonesia is getting romantically involved with an Indonesian partner.

A common question from those new expats is what are the benefits of being married to an Indonesian spouse?

Since this is a business blog, we leave aside the personal reasons of marriage and get straight into the legal benefits.

Residence permit (KITAS or KITAP)

If you are married to an Indonesian national, you are eligible to apply for a non-permanent residence permit (KITAS) and once you have been married for more than two years for a permanent residence (KITAP).

Since this is a residence permit sponsored by the spouse, you don’t need to pay the annual 1200 USD to the Ministry of Manpower. However, this is also the downside – with such KITAS/KITAP you are not allowed to be employed in Indonesia.

If you wish to be employed in Indonesia, your employer must acquire a work permit (IMPTA) and pay the annual 1200 USD.

In conclusion, while you do get a residence permit by getting married, there are several alternatives such as multiple entry business visa or registering a company and getting KITAS sponsored by it.

Registering a PT PMA company

Being married to an Indonesian won’t make you an Indonesian national or anyhow different from other foreign investors in terms of the Investment law. You still need to comply with the Negative Investment List.

In addition to that, spouses married under Indonesian law are required to have a prenuptial agreement that states that their assets are separated before they are allowed to hold shares in the same company.

Owning land in Indonesia

There are no benefits to being married when it comes to owning land in Indonesia. As stated by the Agrarian law, Indonesian land belongs to Indonesian people and your spouse’s rights don’t expand to you.

In case you purchase land together with your Indonesian spouse and the spouse dies, the foreign national has one year to sell the land to an Indonesian person. If he/she fails to do it, the land will be taken from the foreign national by the state.

If acquiring land is your main motivation, then I suggest you to register a company and get rights to use the land for 30 + 20 years.

In conclusion – is there a benefit of being marrying to an Indonesian spouse?

With this article I addressed three main assumptions fresh expats make about the “benefits” of getting married to an Indonesian. As you can see, in almost every situation there is an alternative solution available.

Having said that, don’t get discouraged by this article if getting married is your personal choice. Just know that you are doing it for personal and not for business reasons.


photo credit: Halans. The photo is illustrative and has no direct connection to the content of this article.

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