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IMEI Registration in Indonesia: How to do it and do you have to

The new rules about IMEI registration in Indonesia came into effect on 18 April 2020. Officially it is all about restricting black-market phones and phones bought from abroad.

As a foreigner, this may or may not concern you depending on how long you intend to spend in Indonesia.

Short-term travelers needn’t worry about registering their phone’s IMEI at all. But if you will spend a longer time in Indonesia, you may have to register the IMEI to keep using your phone with a local SIM card. This article contains all details about that.

Do I need to register IMEI in Indonesia?

If you’re going to stay in Indonesia for less than 90 days, you don’t need to register your IMEI with the customs office.

If you leave Indonesia and then reenter, the 90-day period is refreshed!

If you don’t register your IMEI in Indonesia, on day 91 (and trust me, the system is punctual) your local sim card will stop working regardless of where you are.

Since tourist visas are 30 or 60 days, most visitors to Indonesia do not need to worry about IMEI registration.

Sidenote: check out this article if you need help with the Indonesian eVOA.

If you have a longer visa and intend to stay in Indonesia for more than 90 days and want to use your phone, you must register your IMEI with customs.

Also, if you intend to return and want to use the same Indonesian SIM card, you must register the IMEI.

The Indonesian government website to check IMEI status online
You can check the status of your IMEI online

How much does IMEI registration in Indonesia cost?

IMEI registration in Indonesia is free!

However, you might need to pay customs duty on your phone.

If your phone is worth less than 500$, you won’t need to pay anything. The value is calculated by the customs authorities on the spot from a list that’s not publicly available.

If your phone is worth more than 500$, you will need to pay 40% (20% income tax, 10% VAT, 10% import tax) of the value over 500. So if your phone is worth 700$, you will end up paying 40% of 200 (700-500), which equals 80$.

Keep in mind that if you don’t register at the airport or within 5 days of arrival in Indonesia, tax exemption for phones under 500$ is waived and you will have to pay 40% of the total amount! Ouch!

For example, if your phone is worth 700$ and you register it later than 5 days after arrival, you will pay 40% of 700 or 280$!

How to register your IMEI at the airport on arrival in Indonesia

The simplest way to register your IMEI in Indonesia is right after you arrive at the airport. If you land in Bali (Denpasar, DPS airport) or Jakarta (Soekarno-Hatta CGK airport) there may even be queues in front of customs registration.

  • In Jakarta, the IMEI registration customs office is in the departures hall of Terminal 3 of CGK;
  • In Bali, the IMEI registration customs office is after the baggage claim belt before exiting the arrivals hall;

For smaller International airports like Surabaya (SUB) or Yogyakarta (YIA), the IMEI registration customs desk is next to the baggage reclaim, just before leaving arrivals.

IMEI registration banner at Jakarta Airport
IMEI registration banner at Jakarta Airport

The officers at the customs desk will check your phone and estimate its value, ask for your boarding pass and passport, and do the registration for you.

They will give you a QR code as confirmation and off you go, registered IMEI phone in hand.

How to register your IMEI after leaving the airport

If you’re in a hurry or you forget to register your IMEI at the airport, you can still do so afterwards. You must do so within 5 days of arrival if you want to be exempt from paying 40% of your phone value (even if under 500$).

Thankfully, you can register your IMEI online and go to a Bea Cukai (customs) office near you to confirm. This is the official Bea Cukai online IMEI registration website.

Note: It often takes very long to load. Be patient or try again later.

Outside the Bea Cukai (customs) office in Jakarta. IMEI registration in Indonesia can be done at any Bea Cukai office anywhere in the country.
The customs office in Jakarta

After filling out and submitting the online form, go to the nearest Bea Cukai office. You can find these on Google Maps, but chances are the nearest is at the airport.

There the procedure is pretty much straightforward.

Can I use an Indonesian sim card if I don’t register IMEI?

If you’re staying in Indonesia for less than 90 days and don’t register your IMEI, you can still use an Indonesian sim card. That is as long as your passport is NOT Indonesian.

If you’re Indonesian, you will not be able to use your phone with a local SIM card. I have Indonesian friends who tried to buy a sim card with an IMEI that wasn’t registered and they got refused at both Telkomsel and Indosat. Since they are Indonesian, they don’t qualify for the tourist sim cards!

Most of you reading this will be foreigners though. As a foreigner, you can buy a special tourist sim card and register it at the mobile store to be able to use it during your stay. This registration is different than the IMEI registration at customs!

To do that, simply go to the nearest Telkomsel office (or another provider like Indosat or Three), pick a mobile data plan, and ask the employee to register it as a tourist sim card. This sim card is now valid for 90 days! This is often called “tourist registration” and is completely free!

Telkomsel SIM card
Telkomsel is the most popular mobile provider in Indonesia

The plan you buy will probably be valid for 30 days. After that, you can buy another one for the same card, but after 90 days the SIM card itself will stop working.

Any street sim card vendor can theoretically register a tourist sim card, but be wary with these, as sometimes they don’t do it properly and you would end up having to pay for a new one.

What is IMEI?

IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. It’s a unique number for identifying a device on a mobile network.

Every sim card slot has a unique IMEI number attached to it. If your phone has double SIM, you will have 2 IMEI numbers. You can register up to two IMEI numbers per phone at Bea Cukai (Indonesian customs).

You can easily check your IMEI on your smartphone:

  • On Android: Call *#06#.
  • On iPhone: Go to Settings -> General -> About. Scroll down to see the IMEI.
IMEI screen on an Android Phone
Check IMEI on your phone

Can I register IMEI outside of Jakarta or Bali?

Yes, any customs office in Indonesia can register the IMEI. Keep in mind the deadline requirements as outlined above.

I registered my IMEI at Yogyakarta Airport. It took me less than 5 minutes in total. On a tangent note, I love that city. See what experiences Yogyakarta offers here.

Do I need to register my IMEI if I reenter Indonesia again?

Say you stay in Indonesia for 2 months, leave the country, and then go back a month later for another 2 months. In this case, you can buy another tourist sim card and ignore the IMEI registration process.

Note that your previous sim card will stop working 90 days after you purchased it. If you want to continue using the same SIM card, you must register your IMEI.

If you’re going to stay in Indonesia longer than 90 days and want to use your phone for mobile internet, then register your IMEI.

Can I use my phone if I don’t register my IMEI?

If you stay in Indonesia for more than 90 days and don’t register your IMEI, you won’t be able to use a local SIM card with that phone. You can still use all its other functions, most importantly connect to any WiFi network.

The burner phone portable hotspot trick

Let’s say you’re going to stay in Indonesia for longer than 90 days, but you have an expensive phone and you don’t want to pay 40% of its value over 500$ in taxes (or maybe you forgot to register and now you have to pay 40% of its total value. Oomph!).

A popular trick is to buy a cheap phone locally in Indonesia, buy a local sim card with data, and use it as a portable hotspot for your main phone over wifi.

And before you ask, yes, this is legal. Thousands of visitors do this to bypass IMEI registration in Indonesia.

Do I need to register IMEI if I’ve been in Indonesia since 2020?

All phones that were used in Indonesia before March 2020 automatically had their IMEIs registered in the new system. You can check if your IMEI is registered here.

Do I need to register my IMEI if I have KITAS?

Yes. All conditions outlined in the article are absolutely the same for everybody – Indonesians, short-term visitors, and KITAS holders except for the tax amount: KITAS holders will only need to pay 30% on the excess value over 500$ of the phone they register the IMEI of.

Do I need to register IMEI of a phone I bought in Indonesia?

No. Phones bought inside Indonesia already have their IMEIs registered in the system. You don’t need to do anything more after you buy a phone locally.

Can I use a foreign SIM card if I don’t register my IMEI in Indonesia?

You will still be able to use your foreign SIM card for roaming, including mobile internet and international calls.

This is expensive. Roaming is a luxury.

Instead, use Airalo. It is an eSim provider that offers cheap rates for mobile data abroad. It’s more expensive than a local sim, but waaaay cheaper than roaming.

Check out Airalo plans for Indonesia which are as cheap as 11$ per month!

3 Comments

  1. Hi I am traveling to Bali in 3 weeks and will be staying for 5 months. I am not keen on the high IEMI fees. I’ve used Airalo in the past and been very pleased with the service. So I was thinking of just purchasing the esim again through Airalo. You mentioned this is an option to avoid the need to use a local sim and register your IEMI number. There are 3 options on Airalo (local, regional, global). Can I use any of the three in my case past the 90 days or do I need a specific type to bypass getting blacklisted?
    Thanks in advance.
    Jason

    1. Hello Jason,

      Yes, I feel your pain about high IMEI fees. It sucks.

      About Airalo – you can use any option. Even the “local” option is not considered a “local” sim-card, so it will continue to work as long as you keep up your subscription.
      To save money, you could start off by buying a sim card in Indonesia for the first 3 months, then when it stops working, you could buy an Airalo local plan. Or just buy Airalo from the start. 30 days/20 GB is 40$.
      Click here to see the options.

      1. Hey Simon,

        Thank you very much for getting back to me so quickly. I will keep that in mind.

        Safe travels,

        Jason

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