The Indonesian translation for a drivers license is “Surat Ijen Mengemudi”. In Bali we abbreviate this to “SIM”. The most common Indonesian divers license are SIM A for a regular car (< 3,500kg) and SIM C for a motor bike.
In 2016 there were plans to split the motorbike license into 3 variants but this has not happened yet.
- SIM C for motorbikes with less than 250cc.
- SIM C1 for motorbikes with between 250cc to 500cc.
- SIM C2 for motorbikes with more than 500cc.
The minimum age for the motorbike license (SIM C) and the car license (SIM A) is 17 years old.
The Indonesian drivers license is valid for 5 years after which it needs renewal. For foreigners, the Indonesian drivers license used to be only valid for the length of your Indonesian visa but they have now changed this into 5 year as well.
Only foreigners who live here on a KITAS visa can get a drivers license. Foreigners on a tourist visa can no longer get an Indonesian drivers license (this used to be possible).
If you are travelling to Bali on a tourist visa then it is best if you get an international drivers license before travelling.
The process isn’t that difficult and corruption has almost completely dissapeared due to strict regulations and webcams that monitor the police men. The hardest thing is getting clear instructions from police officers.
If you’re in South-Bali, then you will need to go to the Polresta in Jalan Gunung Sanghyang in West Denpasar. Long trousers are required when entering the police station.
There are also mobile Police driver license units (for example at Carrefour Sunset) but these only process 5-year extensions (not new licenses).
Before you go, make sure you have;
- a copy of your passport
- a copy of your Indonesian visa
- your expired SIM (if you’re extending)
- a health certificate from the doctor
There used to be a doctor practice next door the Poltabes but it is no longer there. The doctor practice right infront of the police office refuse to give health certificates for the purpose of getting a SIM.
Thank you to “Beachdog” for the following update left in the comments;
I was successful in getting both my A and C (car and scooter) licenses. I did have a bit of drama as the medical examination office has moved (just to the left of the entrance to the police station is a sign for a Babi Guling restaurant, the office for med exam is now located here), and I showed up wearing shorts and beach sandals, so the officer at the gate told me I would have to change into long pants and shoes to get in. So went home, changed and returned with all my docs but was turned away again because I didn’t have a psychological exam certificate.
So off I went for the psych exam, which if you leave the drive from the police facility, you turn left and go about 300 meters, as you go down a hill there is a large tree on the left and a small row of offices/shops on the right. The office for the psych exam is on the far right side. There is also a sign for a Notaris here, if you have gone past that you have gone too far.
The psych exam cost Rp. 190,000 and was pretty simple, you have to pick out patterns and then they have 15 questions that are also translated into English, basically to weed out anyone who might be prone to road rage or too timid to survive on the roads here 🙂
When you have all required paperwork, you are ready to start getting or extending your SIM. The actual process takes four steps and three announcements. Depending on how busy they are, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours.
Indonesian drivers license step 1 – Registration & Exams:
Go to the first counter with your passport copy, visa copy, health certificate and, if you’re extending, your old SIM. At this registration counter, you will get some paperwork to complete.
If this is your first Indonesian driver license then you will be asked to do theoretical exam. If you are extending then normally you don’t need to redo the theory exam (although I had to do it once).
The exam is done at a computer. They are visual questions and the answer is by clicking True or False. You get maximum 30 minutes to complete the exam. If you are doing both your car license and your motorbike license then you have to do 2 exams.
There used to be an English version on paper but this seems to be no longer available. After successfully completing the theory exam, you will either continue to the practical exam (if this is your first ever Indo drivers license) or back to the main office.
If you have to do the practical exam then a motorbike or car will be provided for the test. These are some of the tests:
- Slalom between traffic cones.
- Drive a narrow number 8 two times.
- Drive up a hill and stop. Then continue driving without reversing.
- Drive down a hill and stop. Then reverse back up the hill without going forward.
- Slalom between traffic cones.
- Reverse slalom between traffic cones.
Indonesian drivers license step 2 – Payment:
After successfully completing the theoretical and practical session, you return your paperwork to the registration office at the main office. You will be sent to process payment at the BRI bank counter. You’re not supposed to give any cash to police officers at any point.
The official fees are published in plain view at the BRI bank counter;
- Car License (SIM A) – Rp 120,000 for a new license or Rp 80,000 for the extension.
- Motor Bike License (SIM B) – Rp 100,000 for a new license or Rp 75,000 for the extension.
With the payment receipt, you need to return to the police registration counter.
Indonesian drivers license step 3 – Verification (Koreksi):
After you have paid you deliver all your paperwork to the registration counter. You will then be asked to sit and wait until they call your name over the speakers. This can take quite some time. When they call your name you go to the registration counter and you will be given a queuing number.
With this queuing number you have to wait again. This can take again a very long time. There is a television screen where they show what numbers are up. They also announce the numbers.
When your number is called you will notice that you will either need to enter office A, B or C. These three offices have the same purpose.
Indonesian drivers license step 4 – Personal and Biometric Data:
These little offices do get crowded and you will be standing up while waiting until an officer calls your name.
You need to sit with the officer who will verify your personal details such as name, Bali hotel address, height… , and enter these into the computer.
In this office they will also take your digital fingerprints, signature and picture. After having done this you take your paperwork next door where you leave it on the counter.
You will need to take a seat and wait once again until they call out your name. When they call you it is time to finally collect your drivers license and return home!
Some official penalties;
- If you are driving a vehicle and you cannot show a valid international or Indonesian drivers license then you may get a one month prison sentence and/or a Rp 250,000 penalty.
- If you are driving a vehicle and you do not have an International or Indonesian drivers license then you may get a four month prison sentence and/or a Rp 1,000,000 penalty.
- If you are driving a motorbike without wearing an SNI (Standard Nasional Indonesia) certified helmet you can get a Rp 250,000 penalty.
Source : Indonesia National Police