Sunday, May 27, 2018

Steps to Obtain a Driver License for Non-Indonesian Citizens

Polres Bengkulu

By: Adriansyah Putera

On December 14 2017, I went to the Polisi Resor Kota Bengkulu aka Polres Bengkulu (Bengkulu City Police Department) to renew my driver license. Too bad, my application was rejected as my driver license had gone beyond the expiration date. I was told by an on-duty traffic police officer that I must renew my driver license 2 weeks before the expiration date, driving with an invalid or expired driver license could result in a traffic ticket. I had no option but to apply a new driver license that required me to re-take the driver knowledge test and practical driving tests.

Having gone through the process of getting my Indonesian driver license, I’d like to take a moment to write all information gathered from my experience - from signing up to getting behind the wheel with a SIM (Indonesian driver license) - for those who are looking for information about the process of getting a driver license in Indonesia. 

Let’s begin with the basic requirements. You must be at least 17 years old. You must provide a valid passport and KITAS/KITAB and 2 copies of each of the documents, and provide proof of your fitness to drive. For those who are visiting on a tourist visa are not eligible.

Steps of getting an Indonesian driver license

Here’s a how-to guide detailing every step of the process:

STEP 1. Go to the nearest city police department for signing up
You must be prepared with all the required identity documents: valid passport, KITAS/KITAB (Temporary/Permanent Stay Permit) and 2 copies of each of the documents. It’s not required to make an appointment before visiting, just go to the information counter at the “Pelayanan Penerbitan SIM” division to start the process, tell the staff what type/class of driver license you need. Class A, this license allows you to drive non-commercial vehicles or regular passenger cars with maximum allowable weight not exceeding 3,500 kg (7716 lbs). Class C, this license allows you to operate motorcycle. Here you will be directed to the appointed medical service unit to get a basic physical and mental fitness to drive exam. You need to provide a copy of your passport and KITAS/KITAB, and pay the Rp. 25,000 (about US$ 1.75) exam fee.

The exam includes at least:
  • A blood pressure exam. 
  • A vision exam which includes a color blind test and a distance vision test using a Snellen chart at a distance of 6 meters (20 ft) from the chart. 
  • A hearing (audiometric) exam. A simple whispered voice test at 20 cm (8 inches) from each ear. 
If you fail the exam, you will not be able to proceed to the next step and you will be required to reschedule. 

A poster shows the application fee and requirements
Go back to the Pelayanan Penerbitan SIM counter after you pass the exam and receive a Surat Keterangan Kesehatan (medical report), then pay the Rp 120,000 (about US$ 8.40) application fee for a Class A License, or Rp. 100,000 (US$ 7) for a Class B License at the BRI counter. After you have paid the application fee, save the application fee receipt for your records.

Go to the application counter and get a Driver License Application form. Complete the application form correctly, the form is in Indonesian language and you will need to provide a translator for yourself if you don’t understand the language. Submit the completed form with your original passport, KITAS/KITAB and a copy of each of the documents, and the application fee receipt to the application service counter. You will be given a waiting number for the identification process after you complete this step. Don’t forget to get your passport and KITAS/KITAB back. Then just take a seat and wait your number to be called.

You will be directed to go inside a room where an officer will collect your biometrics information. Here, you need to put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned, have a digital photo taken of your face, and give your signature.

STEP 2. Driver Knowledge Test
When you’re done with the identification process you will be asked to go to the “Ruang Pencerahan” room. At this room you will be given some brief information and useful advice about the driver knowledge test by an officer. It is greatly recommended that you listen to what the officer says carefully, you will find it very useful to help you to answer the test questions and increase your chances of passing your test on your first try. You will be given time to read a manual with the actual questions and answers before taking the test. If your Indonesian comprehension is not good enough you will need to provide a translator for you as the Division of Driver License might not provide the translation service.

The Ruang Pencerahan of Polres Bengkulu

Next, when an officer calls your number you go to the ruang ujian teori (knowledge test room). The test administrator will give the instructions to you and let you log into the computer. Insert your No. Registrasi (registration/application number), full name and Golongan SIM (class of driver license), then click “Mulai Ujian” button when you are ready to start the test. This 15-minute driver knowledge test is a computer-based, 30-random question, multi-choice test that assesses your knowledge of road rules and safe driving practices. You will be required to answer 7 survey questions before you start the test.

If you don’t pass the driver knowledge test on your first try, you must wait for 7 days before retaking it. You have 3 chances to pass the test. Schedule for retaking the test is 7, 14, and after 30 days. You can prepare yourself by taking a driver knowledge test simulation on Korlantas Polri (the National Police Traffic Corps Division) website at

Step 3. Practical Driving Test
Scheduling of the driving test is based on the availability of instructor. If the schedule permits, the driving test may be given on the same day as the knowledge test.

During the driving test, you will be asked by your instructor to complete a number of tasks to show you are capable of driving. Some practical tests you'll need to pass include:
  • Zigzag test. In this section you will see around 5 traffic cones in between point A and B. You have to drive the car forward from point A and zigzag over each the cone until you get to point B. From point B, you have to reverse the car while crossing over each cone again to get to point A. It could be done with or without an instructor beside you.  If you hit a cone, you must retake the driving test. 
  • Driving forward and backing up. Again, it could be done with or without an instructor beside you. If you hit a cone, you must retake the driving test.
  • Angle, perpendicular and parallel parking. Don’t hit any single cone. 
  • Handbrake control. Safely bring your car to a stop on an incline, and then restart your car and move away without rolling backwards or stalling the engine. 
  • Following and overtaking other vehicles on the road. 
  • Responding to road and traffic signs.
Driving test at Polres Bengkulu
You have 3 chances to pass the practical driving test. If you don’t pass the test on your first try, you must wait for 7 days before retaking it. If you don’t pass the test on your second chance, you must wait for 14 days before retaking it, and 30 days for your third chance. If you don’t pass the tests, you'll need to begin the driver license application process over or quit and get your money back.

If you pass the practical driving test successfully, your Indonesian driver license or SIM will be issued on the same day. Your SIM is valid throughout Indonesia. It expires 5 years after the issue date on your birthday, renew your driver license 2 weeks before the expiration date.

Special thanks to Bripka Supriyono, the Driver License Division officer of Polres Bengkulu. I greatly appreciate your hard work and dedication. 


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