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FAQs about refugees

Are refugees allowed to use personal vehicles?

Technically, yes. However, it is important to note that to legally use vehicle, there are certain documents needed to be obtained. This may cause some difficulty for refugees to obtain the document since there are challenges in fulfilling the requirements. Also, keep in mind the legal consequences of operating a personal vehicle without a valid Indonesian driving license and other supporting documents. According to Act No. 22 of 2009 on Traffic and Road Transportations (Act 22/2009) Article 1 number 23, “A driver is a person who drives a motor vehicle on the road and has a driver’s license.” A driver’s license in Indonesia is known as Surat Izin Mengemudi (SIM).

SIM is the official driver’s license in Indonesia that allows individuals to legally operate a motor vehicle on public roads. Here are some important points to know about SIM in Indonesia:

  1. Types of SIM: In Indonesia, there are three types of SIM: A, B, and C. SIM A is for motorcycles with a cylinder capacity of 50cc or more, SIM B is for cars and light trucks, and SIM C is for buses and heavy trucks.
  2. Validity period: The validity period of a SIM in Indonesia is five years. After five years, the license must be renewed.
  3. Requirements: To obtain a SIM, an individual must meet certain requirements, including a minimum age (17 years old for SIM A, and 18 years old for SIM B and C), a health certificate, and passing both a written theory test and a practical driving test.
  4. Renewal: To renew a SIM, an individual must pass a practical driving test or attend a refresher course, depending on the type of SIM.
  5. Points system: Indonesia has a points system for SIM, where points are deducted for traffic violations. If an individual reaches a certain number of points, their SIM may be suspended or revoked.
  6. International driving permit: Indonesia recognizes international driving permits issued by other countries, as long as they are in English and accompanied by a translation to Bahasa Indonesia.

It’s important to note that the requirements and regulations for SIM may vary depending on the region and type of vehicle being operated in Indonesia. In Indonesia, refugees face significant challenges in accessing basic services and legal protections, including the right to obtain a SIM or driver’s license.

According to the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation Regulation No. PM 32 of 2016, in order to obtain a SIM, an individual must hold Indonesian citizenship or hold a permanent residence permit (KITAP) or a temporary residence permit (KITAS). As refugees are considered “irregular migrants” and are not granted legal status or protections under Indonesian law, it is very difficult for them to obtain a SIM. Generally, the documents required for a SIM application include:

  1. A valid national identity card (KTP) or passport: This is used to verify the applicant’s identity and citizenship.
  2. A medical certificate: This is required to ensure that the applicant is physically fit to operate a motor vehicle. The certificate must be issued by a certified medical professional.
  3. A certificate of completion of a driver’s education program: This is required for first-time applicants or those who have never held a driver’s license before. The education program can be taken at a driving school or through an online course.
  4. A valid Surat Tanda Nomor Kendaraan (STNK) or vehicle registration certificate: This is required for applicants seeking a license for a specific type of vehicle, such as a motorcycle or car.
  5. Proof of payment of the application fee: The fee varies depending on the type of license being applied for.

It’s worth noting that the exact requirements for a SIM application may vary depending on the applicant’s location and other factors. It’s always a good idea to check with the local Department of Transportation or police station for specific requirements and instructions.

In practice, it is unlikely that refugees in Indonesia would be able to obtain a SIM, as they are not recognized as legal residents and therefore lack valid documents and are not eligible to apply for a driver’s license. However, it’s critical to acknowledge that local NGOs and international organizations may be able to provide some assistance to refugees in navigating these challenges and accessing essential services.

Are there any sanctions in accordance with Indonesian Law if refugees drive without SIM/driving license?

Driving a motor vehicle in Indonesia without a valid SIM or driver’s license, is considered a traffic violation and is punishable under Indonesian law. The consequences for driving without a SIM in Indonesia can include:[1]

  1. Fines: A person found driving without a valid SIM may be fined up to Rp 1,000,000 for the first offense. Subsequent offenses may result in higher fines.
  2. Confiscation of the vehicle: In some cases, the vehicle being driven without a SIM may be confiscated by the authorities, depending on the severity of the offense.
  3. Legal proceedings: Depending on the circumstances, a person found driving without a valid SIM may face legal proceedings and be required to appear in court.
  4. Possible imprisonment: In some cases, a person found driving without a valid SIM may be subject to imprisonment of up to 4 months, depending on the severity of the offense.

Since 2022, the government has enacted the implementation of ­e-Tilang in several locations in Indonesia, which includes Jakarta and its surrounding area (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi, or commonly known as Jabodetabek). This means that instead of having the road police monitor the compliance of all drivers, every traffic violation is monitored electronically through road cameras, which is called e-Tilang. The enactment was based on the instruction of The Chief of the Indonesian National Police (Kapolri), who instructed all units of the Traffic Corps (Korlantas) of the Indonesian National Police not to carry out manual traffic ticket enforcement for motor vehicle violations. This instruction was stated in a Telegram letter numbered ST/2264/X/HUM.3.4.5/2022 dated October 18, 2022.

On a general basis, the regulation pertaining to electronic traffic tickets can be found in Act 22/2009 concerning Traffic and Road Transportation and Government Regulation Number 80 of 2012 concerning Procedures for the Examination of Motor Vehicles on the Road and Enforcement of Traffic Violations. Article 272 of Law Number 22 of 2009 states that in order to support law enforcement activities in the field of traffic and road transportation, electronic equipment may be used. The results of using this electronic equipment can be used as evidence in court. The term “electronic equipment” refers to a recording device to store information.[1]

Meanwhile, Article 23 of Government Regulation Number 80 of 2012 stipulates that the enforcement of traffic violations is based on the results of: findings in the process of examining motor vehicles on the road; reports; and/or electronic equipment recordings.

In short, e-Tilang is an electronic traffic ticketing system that was introduced to simplify the process of issuing and paying traffic violations. The terms of e-tilang are as follow:

  1. Digital payment: With the new e-Tilang system, traffic violation fines can be paid through various digital payment channels, such as bank transfers, e-wallets, and credit/debit cards.
  2. Online dispute resolution: The new e-Tilang system allows drivers to dispute traffic violations online, without having to appear in person at a traffic court. This helps to reduce administrative burdens and streamline the dispute resolution process.
  3. Integrated database: The e-Tilang system is now integrated with other databases, such as the National Population and Civil Registration (Dukcapil) database, to ensure more accurate identification of traffic violators.
  4. Reduced corruption: The new e-Tilang system is aimed at reducing corruption in the traffic violation ticketing process by eliminating the need for cash transactions and reducing human involvement in the process.

Other important points also need to be noted by refugees. Often refugees are able to use vehicle owned by local neighbors or relatives. Other than the importance of having driving documentation, tilang/sanction also applies to other violation. One of them is related to the use of protection wear such as helmet. This is stated in the Article 57 paragraph (1) and (2) of Law No. 22 of 2009. Helmet is one of the main protections for driver to wear when using vehicle. Therefore, this should also be considered as key points to be complies for refugees on accessing personal vehicle to avoid sanctions.

Is refugee allowed to open a bank account in Indonesia?

No, refugees cannot meet the criteria for opening any type of bank account in Indonesia.

According to:

  • The explanation of Article 15 of Bank Indonesia Regulation No. 14/27/PBI/2012 on the Implementation of Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Funding Programs for Commercial Banks (Peraturan Bank Indonesia Nomor 14/27/PBI/2012 tentang Penerapan Program Anit Pencucian Uang dan Pencegahan Pendanaan Terorisme Bagi Bank Umum) hereinafter “PBI No. 14/27/PBI/2012”; and
  • Circular Letter of the Financial Serviced Authority (OJK) No. S-246/S.01/2015 on the opening of a Foreign Currency Account of Foreign Nationals (Surat Edaran Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK) Nomor S-246/S.01/2015 tentang Pembukaan Rekening Valuta Asing oleh Calon Nasbah Perorangan Berkewanegaraan Asing)

To open a foreign individual bank account, a stay permit holder, either permanent stay permit card (Kartu Izin Tinggal Tetap/KITAP) or temporary stay permit card (Kartu Izin Tinggal Sementara/KITAS) is required.

There are 3 commonly used bank accounts, namely Saving, Checking, and Deposit Accounts:

  1. Saving Account: Customer will be provided with ATM Card and access to mobile banking.  Frequently used account that allows real-time transfers or payment with QR Code (QRIS).
  2. Deposit Account: Higher interest rates. Deposits are withdrawn based on an agreement between a customer and a bank.
  3. Checking Account: Payments via checks or giro (demand deposit). Delayed payment by retroactive checks

The requirements and documents that must be submitted to Bank to open a bank saving account as foreigner in Indonesia:

  1. 21 years old or already married
  2. Pas Photo 4cm x 6cm
  3. Passport
  4. Temporary Stay Permit Card (KITAS), or Permanent Stay Permit Card (KITAP)
  5. Initial Deposit with minimum nominal IDR Rp. 1.000.000 / USD 1.000 / SGD 2.500 / EUR 1.000 / AUD / 2.000 / GBP 1.000 / JPY 150.000 / HKD 10.000/ CHF 2.000

Moreover, according to the explanation of Article 15 PBI No. 14/27/PBI/2012, either permanent or temporary residence permit card documents can be replaced by Reference Letters or other documents that provide the Bank with confidence about the profile of the prospective customer with foreign citizenship. The reference letters can be provided from:

  1. an Indonesian citizen or an Indonesian company/agency/government regarding the profile of a Prospective Customer with foreign citizenship; or
  2. financial service providers in the country or jurisdiction where the Prospective Customer is domiciled and the co-signer.

Furthermore, as stated above, UNHCR Indonesia may be unable to give a reference letter or assist refugees in opening bank accounts because it is not an Indonesian company/agency/government or financial service provider. Even if the refugees have a connection with an Indonesian citizen who is willing to provide a reference letter, the refugees will face difficulty meeting the requirements to open a bank account unless they have a valid passport.

Conclusionary, by not having passport and KITAP/KITAS, it would be difficult/even impossible for refugees to fulfil these criteria in order to open a bank account while they are in Indonesia.

[1] Ibid, Art. 272.

[1] Act 22/2009, Art. 281.

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