Christian Gonzales and Indonesian Naturalisation Law

 Christian Gonzales and Indonesian Naturalisation Law
Who the hell is that in the red shirt? I thought Indonesia were playing Malaysia tonight? So I’m wrong! Well, this must be an Indonesian Super League match then. What else could it be? After all, the Uruguayan Christian Gonzales is playing. But why is he in a red shirt? Doesn’t his club Persib Bandung play in blue?

But Christian Gonzales was playing for Indonesia of course. Cos he is now Indonesian, having becoming a naturalised citizen of the Republic of Indonesia on 1 November.

Although this is not a first (Antonio Blanco was awarded Indonesian citizenship by Sukarno for example), it is extremely rare. Very few foreigners – and especially “bules” – have ever been able to negotiate the bewilderingly complex maze of Indonesian bureaucracy to obtain Indonesian citizenship.

Most of us, even if we have been here for years, speak near perfect Indonesian and have strong family ties, have little choice but to live here as a foreigner in one of three possible ways:

1) with a social or business visa that can be extended up to six months before a trip to Singapore is required to get a new one;
2) with a KITAS (working visa). Very expensive but allows you to stay in Indonesia for up to five years with yearly renewals;
3) with a retirement visa – mostly given out in Bali – not sure if it would be possible to get one elsewhere. Cheaper than a working visa but you must be older than 55.

So how did Gonzales manage it? How did he manage to succeed where so many have failed? And what exactly are the legal requirements for a foreigner to become naturalised as an Indonesian citizen anyway? Well, after some searching I finally managed to access the document.


Governing Law. Naturalization is governed by Law No. 12 of 2006 dated 1
Aug. 2006 concerning Citizenship of Republic of Indonesia, Presidential Decree
No. 57 of 1995 dated 14 Aug. 1995 concerning Procedures for Indonesian
Naturalization and Presidential Decree No. 56 of 1996 concerning Evidence of
Citizenship of Republic of Indonesia dated 9 July 1996. Naturalization
application may be submitted by applicant if applicant fulfills following

(i) Has already reached age of 18 years or has already married;
(ii) at time of submission of application has already resided in territory
of Republic of Indonesia for at least five years on continuous basis or at least
ten years on non-continuous basis;
(iii) is of sound mind and body;
is able to speak Indonesian language and acknowledges that Pancasila as basis of
State and Constitution of State of Republic of Indonesia of 1945;
(v) has
never been convicted of criminal act with sanctions of criminal imprisonment for
one or more years;
(vi) dual citizenship does not occur by virtue of
obtaining citizenship of Republic of Indonesia;
(vii) has occupation and/or
consistent income; and
(viii) has paid naturalization fee to National

Foreign state citizens who enter into lawful marriages with
Indonesian State citizens may obtain citizenship of Republic of Indonesia by
delivering declaration to become State citizen before official. Declaration to
become State citizen may be conducted if related person has already resided in
territory of State of Republic of Indonesia for at least five continuous years
or at least ten years on non-continuous basis, except if obtaining Indonesian
citizenship will result in dual citizenship. Aliens who have already served
State of Republic of Indonesia or for reasons of State interest may be granted
citizenship of Republic of Indonesia by President after obtaining considerations
of House of People's Representatives of Republic of Indonesia except when grant
of Indonesian citizenship will result in related person obtaining dual
citizenship. Work Permits. Aliens working in Indonesia are subject to Law No. 13
of 2003 dated 25 Mar. of 2003 concerning Labor Affairs. Employers utilizing
foreign workers must obtain written permission of Minister of Manpower or
appointed official prior to undertaking employment within Indonesia. Permits for
utilization of foreign workers are issued for purposes of utilization of foreign
workers conducted selectively in framework of enhancing utilization of
Indonesian manpower in maximum manner. Employer must obtain plan for utilization
of foreign workers containing: (i) Reason for utilization of foreign worker;
(ii) intended position of foreign worker within employer's organizational
structure; (iii) projected duration of utilization; and (iv) appointment of
Indonesian State citizen as assistant to foreign worker. Employers are obligated
to implement education and job training and technology transfer programs and
transfer skills which are in accordance with qualifications of position of
foreign worker. Immigration Permits. Aliens entering Indonesia are required to
possess visa, to obtain valid entry permit and to enter and exit through
examination by immigration official at immigration check point. Permanent
resident permits may be granted to aliens by Director General of Immigration on
behalf of Minister of Law and Human Rights. Aliens already obtaining limited
residence permits who reside in Indonesia continuously for two or more years may
apply for permanent resident permits.

********** Print Completed
********** Time of Request: Wednesday, January 06, 2010 Print Number:
2842:197122133 Number of Lines: 51 Number of Pages: 19:04:41 EST

Having read this, I’m not really convinced that Gonzales fulfills the requirements any better than the other foreigners who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to become naturalised, but I just guess that goes to show how popular football is in Indonesia. Now where did I put my boots?


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