8 January 2020

Paperwork for Immigration

About all the paperwork and procedures we had to take care of to leave Indonesia

Paperwork for Immigration

I kept saying to myself in 2019: start blogging again Robin, people used to like to read your stuff, but your blog has been dead for years. So far 2019 has not seen many stories, unfortunately. Let's make a fresh start for the twenties!

So, it has been three months since my wife and I immigrated from Indonesia to the Netherlands. It has been quite a hectic period for both of us. Here is a short story about the paperwork involved in the last half a year.

Indonesian Identity Cards

It all started months before we moved. We married in May 2019 and we immediately applied for my stay permit to be moved sponsorship from my employer to my wife after our honeymoon in June 2019. Unfortunately, the application was rejected at first because my wife’s Indonesian identity card and family card, respectively called the KTP and KK, were still registered on her parents’ address and it had to change because she just moved in with me. She had to go through many hoops to apply for the two new cards. The whole process was supposed to take 5 months, so she received a printed piece of paper as a temporary replacement. With this paper, she could apply to change my sponsorship.

Indonesia Immigration Office

I also went to the immigration office of South Jakarta to apply for the sponsorship change but it was rejected again. This time it was said that I need a letter from my employer that he does not have any objections to the change. I went back to the office and got a letter made with the CEO’s signature and a stamp of the company.

A few days later I could go back to the Immigration Office with the missing letter. Of course, I should have known better, this time the application was rejected for the third time. They said because the CEO of my company is not an Indonesian his signature would not be accepted. I went back to the office again to get a new letter with a stamp and a signature of our Indonesian HR manager. With my existing stay permit being valid for only two more days, I went back to the Immigration Office and this time they accepted the request. I got a temporary piece of paper and was told they were going to do some more checks before the new stay permit would be printed.

Many days later we got an appointment with three immigration officers, they wanted to come to our house for an interview. The goal of this interview was to check whether I lived in Indonesia legally, I work in Indonesia legally, but most importantly that my wife and I are really married. They said many foreigners in Indonesia would marry locals in order to avoid deportation. After their friendly visit and the necessary pictures of my wife and I, some selfies with the officers, we received news that my new stay permit was approved. When I came to pick it up they said their system was down and I had to come back next week te pick it up.

The week later I came back and they said that the initial request was more than one month ago, so the application already expired. I had to fill in the necessary forms again from the start. Luckily this time it went a bit faster as the next day I could get my new stay permit.

The entire process started in mid-June 2019 and finished mid-September 2019. In the meantime I was already looking for a new job in the Netherlands; we decided to start a family soon and we would prefer to raise children there. I got a job offer around July 2019, meaning when I received my new stay permit in September I went back within a week to return it. It took a week for them to cancel my new stay permit and put an exit permit stamp in my passport to leave Indonesia.

Indonesian Social Security

Around the end of August 2019 I also went to the Social Security office, called BPJS Ketenagakerjaan, multiple times to cash in the Retirement Funds I had been paying for in the 8 years I have been working full-time in Indonesia. That was also quite an issue because they needed letters from my previous employer, where I resigned already in July 2019, that I no longer work for them. I also had to fill in two or three forms stating that I would leave the country and not work in Indonesia anymore. Luckily I received the funds on my Dutch bank account two weeks later. Compared to the usual bureaucracy, the Social Security Office employee tried really hard to help me in time and explained all steps very clearly to me.

Indonesian Tax Office

I also went to the Indonesian tax office in August to do a final Tax Return for 2019 and close my tax status, for this I only needed to go back and forth to the tax office two times. The Tax Return forms we filled in together with the tax officer on some old Windows XP machine, but hey, it worked. I could not close my tax status in Indonesia, because it would require me to fly back in about a year after they finish investigations for any outstanding taxes, which of course I already did not have at the time as I had no job since July. The tax officer recommended me to freeze my tax number instead so that they no longer would expect in tax return forms in the future.

Dutch Immigration Office

My paperwork was finally done, now it was also time for my wife to prepare some stuff. In our case, I applied for her stay permit for the Netherlands when we were still in Indonesia. I had to provide proof that she passed an exam at the Dutch embassy, fill in some forms and statements, and provide proof of income of the past three months. The last part was tricky because it had to be salary slips from Dutch employers for the last three months. I did not have the required documents because I was still living in Indonesia until the end of September!

Also, because the application is done online, you cannot simply call them and explain the situation. Instead, I sent them three times a scanned letter where I explain that I will only have the three salary slips in January 2020 after I have worked in the Netherlands for three months.

Leaving Indonesia

Either way, in the last week of September my wife and I still flew to the Netherlands. She arrived a week later with a tourist visa that she already obtained many months ago (before we applied for the stay permit).

About five weeks later I got a letter from the Dutch immigration office that they would like to see at least one salary slip of October, which I mailed to them. Within a week we got a letter that the immigration had approved her stay permit! We were really excited! She would be allowed to stay with me at least for the next five years, as long as some conditions remain the same during that time. Now she only has to fly back to Indonesia and apply for the entry permit sticker for her passport at the Dutch embassy.

She flew back in the first week of December and she recently got the sticker, in three weeks I am looking forward to picking her up from the airport in Amsterdam.

For the next few months, we will pick up her Dutch Stay Permit Card in the Netherlands, do the mandatory tuberculosis tests at the hospital, register her at the municipality/city hall, get her medical insurance, which is mandatory in the Netherlands, and open a bank account. After that, we are basically done with the most important documents for our immigration!


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