After writing an article about the things to keep in mind when leaving Thailand, I thought it was only logical to prepare another one when you move out of Indonesia. And in this case, I left Indonesia to move in Malaysia during the heat of covid-19 pandemic.
I wanted to wait for this article, that all processes were finished before summarizing the entire experience, and with the pandemic everything took a much longer time.
In most countries, you would think that you can do most process before you leave ( that is except maybe closing the bank account ), yet in Indonesia it’s taken a lot more time, and if you don’t have a good HR to support you, I think it would take you to hire someone to finish things up to 6/12 months later even !
I will separate this article into few sections:
- Closing bank accounts, phone and internet
- Moving your belongings out of Indonesia
- Cancelling your KITAS
- Closing your tax account & do you last tax return
- Claim BPJS (retirement funds)
I can’t say it’s difficult, I have been using for 2 years a Telkomsel prepaid card, so I just stopped paying and the number got cancelled on its own. Quite simple really.
I was using MyRepublic. You need to call their customer service, please beware that even though they mention that they have English speaking customer care professionals ( and you selected the option on the dial menu ) – they actually don’t. So better to ask your local friends to give you a hand there. They will schedule a technical visit to come and collect the router at your convenience and you can also schedule it for the day that your contract ends. Beware: any month started is a month to be paid. So be mindful if you plan on closing payment systems ahead, although there is always the cash payment at any Indomaret option too. I would recommend getting in touch with them about 1 week before you leave. Once the language barrier overcome, it was quite easy and fast.
Once you have set up the date, you are supposed to pay 110,000 IDR for the material pick up service fee. You should not give any cash to the technician; it’s supposed to be paid on their website / normal way you paid your invoice. Months after I left, I never received any invoice or notification/email asking me for that amount. But the contract was successfully cancelled anyway.
As a general rule, anything related to banking in Indonesia is just 10 times more paperwork. While in Thailand, I was able to close all accounts quite easily at no extra charge. In Indonesia it’s mandatory / strongly advised to do this in person.
Closing my BCA account:
I went in person to the branch, gave back my token, debit card, pass book. The fee for closing the account was 50,000 IDR. I had a couple of forms to fill and also these 6,000 IDR official stamps duty for said forms. There was a little bit of cash left on the account, so I got it in cash from the counter. All in all, it took 20 min.
Closing HSBC account:
I have had seriously bad experience with HSBC Indonesia customer care and overall services. I would not recommend them from my personal experience. I also do find they do not have the same level of inter-connection with most merchants for any online transactions or e-wallets which are used everywhere in Indonesia now. If you did opt for using this bank, I would really recommend pairing it with a BCA or Mandiri account for daily needs.
Closing the account continued the bad experience.
I had a multicurrency accounts ( USD & EUR ) that the relationship manager informed me was “free” but I never used it and did tell her I didn’t need it. Nevertheless, she opened it anyway. Closing EACH account is 50,000 IDR. Therefore, if you don’t intend to use any currency bundle. Do not let them open them for you.
Then, and I can only blame myself for this, be aware that Indonesia has a foreign currency transfer limit of 25,000 USD per month per person. If you had on your account a significant sum of money in Indonesia Rupiah that needs to be moved to another country, it takes actually months to close your bank account. You will also need to keep an Indonesian phone number to be able to communicate and keep all OTP working to finalize all these transfers.
Please be aware of this and have a look at least 4 months in advance when it comes to your personal finance, and start moving money away / exchange them into different currencies.
So in my case, I hadn’t planned properly. I couldn’t close the account because of the money it had on it and I also needed to wait for the BPJS refund (with covid – I received it 2.5 months after I left) , as well as my flat deposit ( 1 months after I left ).
In the case where you can’t close the account in person:
Go to your bank and retrieve all the forms – I had 2 forms to prepare. There will also be forms to cancel any standing orders that you may have ( like automatic payment of your credit card for example). Each of them must have the 6000 IDR stamp duty on them. Purchase these stamps from the bank itself or at the local Indomaret while you are in Indonesia. Pre-fill / Stamp all the forms in Indonesia and ensure that you have a phone number and a name of someone at the branch to coordinate with for the closure.
Once you have received all awaited funds and have moved them out of Indonesia, you are now ready to close your bank account. You then need to DHL the documents to the branch and ensure your relationship manager is aware.
I would assume, considering that I filled up similar forms at BCA, that the process would be the same with the different banks.
Credit card cancellation:
It was fairly easy. Once the balance was at 0, a quick phone call to the hotline and the credit card was immediately cancelled.
About 2 weeks before you chose to cancel your credit card, don’t forget to convert your points!
Moving your belongings is quite easy. I would recommend hiring professionals. You can also check my top tips from a move veteran here to prepare an international move.
In Indonesia, the biggest concern I faced was due to Covid and the length it took to cancel my KITAS.
In order to have your belonging exported tax free from Indonesia, the key document is the Exit Permit. This exit permit would normally take 2-3 days but during the pandemic and the immigration offices being closed, there was none being issued for a while. Beware that this could mean additional costs for your belonging stuck at the mover’s storage awaiting paperwork !
There are 2 types of exit permit:
- The EPR: Exit permit done remotely. This one is done once you have left Indonesia. Your agent would ask for softcopies of your passport, the exit stamp, your flight ticket. Usually, it takes 2-3 days. In my case it took 2 weeks.
- The EPO: Exit permit only. This one is done within Indonesia, and I would say the recommended way as it allows you some time to start closing other processes and BPJS claim ( Many official processes need the exit permit to be started).
The overall process takes 5-6 days. Usually after 2 days you receive the exit permit. Then you need to cancel your “green ID card / temporary resident card” and other resident permits (really use an agent, as there are few places to visit to de-register you ). Once issued, you have 4 days to leave Indonesia, it’s the last step that you should do. And plan a few days off to go around all administrations and start all closing processes during this time!
I wouldn’t be able to comment about exactly what it takes, we had an agent to handle this for us. All I know is that it does take about 1 week to prepare the docs, and then it’s about 1 week total once the Exit permit process starts. Because once the Exit permit is issued, you also have to be de-registered from other agencies.
I am usually on top of my taxes. And I try my best to leave every country in good standing order on that regard. You need to cancel your NPWP card & number and then file your last tax return.
This is what was advised to me by both tax experts and my HR. Once you are registered to do tax filing online (which I was and most people do ) you can’t do anything in person anymore (go figure why … ). Online tax returns are only open once a year, when it’s time, at the beginning of each year.
They advised me to just do nothing until the next tax declaration period starts. Do your tax declaration as you would normally do, online. Then someone in Indonesia needs to go in person to cancel your NPWP.
Unfortunately for me, it seems that I had an expat tax of some sort on my last partial year, so I couldn’t perform my last tax online by myself! As no matter how I did it, numbers wouldn’t tally! It was just painful to need professional help.
I ended up 6 months after having left Indonesia, to look for a tax runner / tax adviser to do my last tax filing and then cancel my NPWP.
My case is really simple, the only revenue I have is from my salary, no overseas revenue or any complicated international situation whatsoever. I mailed & called 4 different companies and I was quoted anything from 36,000,000 IDR to 13,000,000 IDR for tax filing, de-registration of NPWP and the tax audit that follows closing your NPWP and that “may happen” within 2 years. I ended up choosing the cheapest offer and was very satisfied with their service: tax-indo
As I had support from my HR (to close your NPWP you need a number of documents from the company), I was not concerned in anyway and I am lucky that I am staying in the same company. But obviously, it’s where you probably need an agent or some sort of tax support to help with your final year there.
It means that this can take months to get sorted. And I stayed in Indonesia in that year more than 6 months so I didn’t even have to be worried about the resident or non-resident status for my last tax filling. If you are not sure, better to get someone competent to do it for you.
I would usually handle this by myself – I went to open all tax matter in person when I arrived. I also had a small issue on my first tax declaration so I went too. As usual tax departments in every developing country are the only public administration where people speak English…
So I would recommend, if you want to find a way to do it immediately, to just go and ask in person if a better way exists that doesn’t involve waiting months to be finished and that could be done while you are there. But because of covid and the way I had to leave quickly – my visa running to an end – I didn’t have time to explore doing this by myself as I usually would.
BPJS is the government bodies that handle various social welfare and benefit among which the retirement funds. From your salary every month should be taken about 2.5% and the company pays 3%. Therefore it can represent a pretty sum to claim back when you leave !
I have read articles mentioning that it was quite easy to do in person, provided you have the right documents. Then these testimonials mentioned that once approved, funds were transferred to you local bank account in less than a week!
These are the documents we prepared with my company:
- Letter from the company stating date of termination
- Exit permit
- Last Kitas
- BPJS card & number
- Bank statement with the account number ( you can blur the numbers just ensure it shows address of the bank and bank account number ).
Of course with the pandemic, going in person to submit this was impossible. Everything was done via video call, as they need to verify your identity and appointments must be made. It took me and my HR about 1 month to get an appointment. During the call, the officer asked me to verify my identity information and asked me why I wanted to withdraw the funds (moving to Malaysia). She also asked me to show on the camera my passport page.
Once this meeting was done, the funds where in my local account within 10 days.
Moving out of Indonesia is not a straightforward process. There are a lot of administrative matter which are very intertwined and most importantly are all based on getting this Exit permit. It then becomes quite difficult as the window to close all while you are still there (if you have the EPO) is very short.
Finally settling all your taxes will require professional help, and at best will be simple and done in a few weeks or if you are an unlucky person, can take as long as 2 years if you are unfortunate to be audited.
Ensure when you are negotiating your contract with a company to include financial support to pay for when you leave the country as well as when you settle in.
Leaving Indonesia during covid is probably even more difficult as everything took extra time and I needed months to get all the above process sorted. If you were to do this under normal circumstances, it looks like within a few days you can get most things started pretty quickly.
I hope it helps you prepare your check-list, and start additional research pertaining to your specific case. I wish you safe journey on your next adventure after Indonesia !
Credit for the photos, from Unsplash: