Dual Citizenship in Indonesia: The Best of Both Worlds

Ever dreamt of having the best of both worlds? At IndonesiaSolved.com, we turn those dreams into reality. Join us as we navigate the labyrinth of securing dual citizenship in Indonesia.

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Is Dual Citizenship Allowed In Indonesia?

With the increase in global mobility, dual citizenship often comes into question.

Today it is common for people to seek the advantages of holding citizenship in two countries, but not all nations have the same stance.

For instance, “Indonesian dual citizenship” is complex and frequently enquired about by expatriates, migrants, and even native Indonesian.

Indonesian law generally operates on the principle of singular nationality, which means Indonesian dual citizenship is not typically permitted for most purposes.

Based on Law No. 12/2006, the State of the Republic of Indonesia does not recognize dual citizenship (bipartite) or statelessness (patricide).

The provisions for the exclusion of dual citizenship (bipartite) stipulated in Law No. 12/2006 are only granted to:

  • A child born from the legal marriage of an Indonesian citizen father and a foreign citizen mother;
  • a child born from the legal marriage of a foreign citizen father and an Indonesian citizen mother;
  • A child born outside the legal marriage of a foreign citizen mother recognized by an Indonesian citizen father as his child and the recognition is made before the child is 18 (eighteen) years old or unmarried;
  • A child born outside the territory of the Republic of Indonesia to an Indonesian citizen father and mother who, due to the provisions of the country in which the child was born, grants citizenship to the child concerned;

It should be noted that after children have been declared an exception under the Act. No. 12/2006, aged 18 (eighteen) years or already married, the child must declare choosing one of his nationalities.

The statement to choose citizenship is submitted to the Official who holds a particular position appointed by the Minister to deal with the issue of Citizenship of the Republic of Indonesia no later than three years after the child is 18 (eighteen) years old or married.

However, with rapidly globalizing economic and social landscapes, these regulations are always subject to discussions and potential changes.

Indonesian Nationality Law

                                                     Source: Pixabay

Indonesian nationality law changed from the 1958 law on 1 August 2006.

The following are fully Indonesian:

  • born to an unmarried Indonesian mother where there is no court declaration of paternity
  • born to two married Indonesian parents in Indonesia
  • born in Indonesia to unknown/stateless/non-heritable citizenship
  • born to a foreign mother married to an Indonesian father who died 300 days before birth
  • a child of parents who applied for citizenship but died before the oath could be taken

Can Children Get Limited Dual Citizenship?

Limited dual nationality is for children with another nationality and must be registered.

It is a statement that the child has an entitlement to Indonesian nationality but still needs to choose between Indonesian & foreign citizenship. It can only be registered before your 18th birthday.

Limited dual nationality allows you to live in Indonesia, but you cannot own land as an Indonesian would. After formally relinquishing dual nationality at 18, 19, or 20, you become an entire national with the same status as any other Indonesian.

In practice, if you were born before 1 August 2006 and failed to register by 1 August 2010, then if you have ever acquired a foreign passport, your Indonesian citizenship is lost and can only be regained by a process of naturalization.

Moreover, if you were born before 1 August 2006 and have an Indonesian passport and did not register, then obtaining a foreign passport now would cancel your Indonesian citizenship.

Although the evidence of limited dual nationality is usually referred to as an affidavit, this is not an Indonesian word (though it is used in the law).

The Indonesian word is a ‘surat keputusan’ (letter of decision) for those born/whose paternity was acknowledged before 1 August 2006 and registered before 1 August 2010, and a ‘surat keterangan’ (letter of evidence).

An affidavit in English is, in fact, a different thing, a ‘surat pernyataan tersumpah’ or a ‘sworn statement’. Understand, therefore, that the ‘affidavit’ is official evidence that the holder is a limited dual national.

Before 2012 this was just a letter, while since 2012, it has been issued as a card.

The card or letter is affixed to a foreign passport, which grants the holder an ‘immigration facility’ to enter and leave Indonesia using a foreign passport based on the card.

It also acts as the formal registration of the child as a dual national if they do not currently have a foreign passport.

Any Indonesian passport for the limited dual national will expire by the 21st birthday, and a stamp will endorse the holder as a limited dual national.

The requirements to issue it are:

  1. birth certificate
  2. marriage or divorce certificate of the parents
  3. foreign passport of the child or the foreign passport of the parent
  4. 4 x 4x6cm color photographs of the child
  5. plus variable requirements depending on where it is done.

What To Do For Indonesian Dual-citizens When They Turn 18?

Upon turning 18, the individual is no longer considered a child under Indonesian law and must begin choosing their nationality.

This process can be challenging and emotionally daunting for young adults forced to choose between two national identities.

It’s important to note that this law applies even if the child has lived their whole life in Indonesia or has never claimed the benefits of their foreign citizenship.

Essentially, they have 3 (three) years to make this choice. During this period, the individual must consider various factors, including their personal, educational, and professional ties to each country.

To formally declare their choice of nationality, the individual must submit a form to declare which nationality they want to retain. They must renounce their other citizenship if they choose to retain their Indonesian citizenship.

If they choose to retain the other citizenship, then they must renounce their Indonesian citizenship and return all the documents which can demonstrate their Indonesian nationality, such as:

  1. Indonesian passport;
  2. KTP;
  3. Registration Certificate of Children with Double Nationalities; and
  4. Affidavit.

If they don’t make a declaration by the age of 21, Indonesian law, by default, assumes that the individual has chosen to keep their foreign citizenship, and they will automatically lose their Indonesian citizenship.

However, please note that even if someone legally loses their Indonesian citizenship due to a lack of declaration, they are not entirely free of legal obligations.

Technically, these individuals still possess official documents proving their Indonesian nationality, so they must return them to the state.

Please note that not returning the documents which can prove your nationality after obtaining foreign citizenship can be considered an immigration violation which can the cause of a deportation.

Can You Lose Your Indonesian Nationality/citizenship?

Indonesian nationality is lost at the instant that:

  • They acquire foreign nationality of their own will.
  • applies to lose the citizenship
  • enters into foreign armed forces without Presidential permission, except if required to perform national service during education in a foreign country
  • Enters into an official position in a foreign country which in Indonesia would be restricted to an Indonesian citizen
  • Swear an oath to a foreign country.
  • votes in a constitutional election in a foreign country without being required to
  • has a foreign passport or travel document
  • Is outside of Indonesia for more than five years and fails to declare its intention to remain Indonesian every five years, so long as this doesn’t make them stateless
  • Marry a citizen of a foreign country, which automatically gives spouses their citizenship, unless they can relinquish that right upon marriage and forward a declaration to Indonesia within three years of marriage.

Loss of Indonesian citizenship for a parent does not cause their children to lose their citizenship.

In practice, loss of citizenship typically occurs when the person acquires foreign nationality or gets a foreign passport. This does not apply to limited dual-national children.

When a person acquires a foreign passport but does not inform Indonesia, the Indonesian nationality still needs to be recovered.

However, they may get away with having both passports because Indonesia requires evidence to deny their passport application formally.

Therefore, applying for an Indonesian passport after obtaining a foreign passport can be considered fraudulent because they declare that they are Indonesian, which is not valid.

For Indonesians living abroad, the embassy typically makes some effort to check that they have yet to acquire foreign nationality.

This is done by asking for residence cards, etc. By making some checks, catching some Indonesians with two passports may be possible. In addition, things like exit and entry stamps that don’t match up can catch them out.

How Can You Become Naturalized In Indonesia?

In Indonesia, there are two forms of naturalization. Ordinarily, a candidate for naturalization must be of full constitutional age and ability. The Department of Justice and Civil Liberties receives the registration money and papers.

Before applying, you must have completed a five-year or ten years of interrupted total stay. Candidates must be in excellent bodily and emotional condition, monetarily self-sufficient, and show no felony conviction, including a one-year or longer prison term.

They must also be fluent in their native language.

Naturalization can also be granted for extraordinary quality, such as art, ecology, morality, research, athletics, or technologies that have benefited the country.

Official or commercial organizations can suggest a person to the authorities for their outstanding accomplishments.

Conclusion

And voila! You’re now well-equipped to tread the path towards dual citizenship in Indonesia. It’s a journey, but one with a rewarding destination.

Journey well!”

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