How to Obtain an Indonesian Driver’s License

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Driving in Indonesia requires a valid Indonesian driver’s license, known as a SIM (Surat Izin Mengemudi). Whether you are a resident or an expatriate, understanding the process of obtaining a SIM is essential for legally operating a vehicle in the country. This guide will walk you through the steps to obtain an Indonesian driver’s license, the types of licenses available, and the necessary requirements.

Section 1: Types of Indonesian Driver’s Licenses

There are several types of driver’s licenses in Indonesia, each designated for different types of vehicles. The most common types include:

  • SIM A: For private cars and vehicles with a maximum weight of 3,500 kg.
  • SIM B1: For vehicles weighing more than 3,500 kg, such as trucks and buses.
  • SIM B2: For heavy equipment and trailers.
  • SIM C: For motorcycles.
  • SIM D: For vehicles specially modified for disabled drivers.

Section 2: Requirements for Obtaining a SIM

To apply for an Indonesian driver’s license, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Age: The minimum age for obtaining a SIM A or SIM C is 17 years, and for SIM B1 or B2, it is 20 years.
  • Health Check: A medical certificate from an authorized medical practitioner confirming your fitness to drive.
  • Identity Proof: A valid passport, KITAS (Temporary Stay Permit), or KITAP (Permanent Stay Permit).
  • Residence Proof: Proof of address, such as a rental agreement or utility bill.
  • Photographs: Passport-sized photos, typically taken at the licensing office.

Section 3: The Application Process

Follow these steps to obtain an Indonesian driver’s license:

  • Visit the Licensing Office: Go to the nearest Satuan Penyelenggara Administrasi (SATPAS) office, which handles driver’s license applications.
  • Fill Out the Application Form: Complete the application form provided at the SATPAS office.
  • Submit Documents: Submit the required documents, including your medical certificate, identity proof, residence proof, and photographs.
  • Theory Test: Take a written theory test covering Indonesian traffic laws and regulations. The test is usually in Indonesian, so non-Indonesian speakers might need assistance.
  • Practical Driving Test: Pass a practical driving test, demonstrating your ability to operate the vehicle safely. This includes basic maneuvers and understanding of road signs.
  • Pay the Fee: Pay the application and testing fees, which vary depending on the type of license.
  • Receive Your SIM: Once you pass both tests and pay the fees, your SIM will be issued. The processing time can vary, but it usually takes a few days to a week.

Section 4: Renewing Your Driver’s License

Indonesian driver’s licenses are typically valid for five years. To renew your SIM, you need to visit the SATPAS office with your current license, a medical certificate, and proof of residence. The renewal process is generally quicker than the initial application.

Section 5: Tips for a Smooth Application Process

  • Language Assistance: If you are not fluent in Indonesian, consider bringing a translator or a friend who can assist you during the tests and application process.
  • Early Arrival: Arrive early at the SATPAS office to avoid long lines and ensure you have enough time to complete all the necessary steps.
  • Preparation: Study the Indonesian traffic laws and practice driving to increase your chances of passing the tests on the first attempt.


Obtaining an Indonesian driver’s license is a crucial step for anyone planning to drive in the country. By understanding the requirements and following the outlined process, you can navigate the application smoothly and legally enjoy the freedom of driving in Indonesia. Remember to renew your license on time and adhere to local traffic regulations to ensure a safe and lawful driving experience.

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