It is that time of year again...the KITAS is about to expire and the fun & games are about to begin. I always hear that Indonesia is working to make the process easier, user friendly, and quick usually this relates to facilitating investment. So, perhaps I need to make a business style capital investment and just maybe the process will be oh so much smoother - it is good to have dreams.
The process is already a little more complicated than years past as I need to get out of the country in the interim period between when my current KITAS expires and the new KITAS is ready. Any long-term resident, and perhaps some new arrivals too, understand that where there is a 'will' there is likely to be someone who can make the 'way'. The official way that this works is there is a temporary KITAS extension period that can be approved by the Head of each Immigration Office and this would seem to be a discretionary power. The unofficial way that this can be worked out I will leave to your imagination.
Immigration Agents, Immigration Officers, and you! The use of an immigration agent to do the leg work and get the job done is standard practice but it really is a case of caveat emptor or buyer beware, simply the buyer needs to be aware. Immigration agents are a dime a dozen but quality is as varied as cost and service levels are not necessarily related to cost. But more important than any of these considerations is honesty! Honesty in the sense of being upfront about the official options that are available rather than take the easy path of making illicit payments to grease the wheels and get the documents required. For some this may be just another cost of doing business in Indonesia or 'just the way it is'. Yet, as a matter of principle if you continue to feed the monster it is just going to get hungrier and greedier each time. This is apart from the fact that it is just plain wrong.
It is amazing what a few calls can do to the person in charge...I needed to extend my KITAS for a month to head overseas for a couple of days...Various quotes saw the fee negotiated through agents to around IDR 3 million for an Entry / Exit permit which usually only sets back the happy traveler IDR 200,000 back down to the legitimate fee of IDR 200,000...congratulations to the immigration office and officers involved, you have done yourselves proud! I do not know whether this good fortune will extend to the full 12-month extension but you cannot win 'em all, right?
The moral of this story is if you can do it yourself, then you probably should...agents only complicate the process for exorbitant fees that I only now realize are exorbitant because I have finally bothered to find out what the official fees are for certain documents...for those of you out there that do not know - the official fees depending on what documents you need will not exceed IDR 1.5 million...the last agent I paid to facilitate the process demanded IDR 4.5 million...even assuming the agent greases the wheels to get the job done (or to spread the good fortune) there is still somewhere between IDR 2 million and IDR 3 million profit...a good income earner if I do say so myself!!!
Updates to follow as I negotiate the process....