Importing and Exporting Products through Indonesia - Rahi
Global Services

Importing and Exporting Products through Indonesia

By Amber Miao

May 18, 2022 - 5 min

Indonesia has some of the strictest import regulations worldwide, consisting of complex licensing, documentation, and permitting. Any company moving products through Indonesian customs must have an appropriate import license, import identification number (API), and customs registration (NIK). Without proper documentation, goods can be detained or exported back to their original facility. Most notably, only Indonesian companies are able to obtain an import license to go through Indonesian customs.

Rahi has conducted business in Indonesia for several years now. Our local entity and current import license allows us to facilitate the import process for our clients quickly and cost effectively. Our team understands the ins and outs of Indonesian import and export compliance. Most recently, we have obtained an API-U General Import License to resell imported products locally.

Benefits of an API-U License

In addition to simplifying product procurement, an API-U license helps streamline the customs process. In Indonesia, customs inspection is divided into three channels — red, yellow, and green. Prior to obtaining an API-U license, all of Rahi’s imports were processed through the red channel, which required physical inspection of every item in the shipment, typically taking 7 days to process while forcing the company to incur additional storage fees and other costs. In the yellow channel, customs officials only inspect goods that require additional documentation, which generally takes 2 to 3 days. The key to having access to the green channel is to understand proper documentation procedures. With Rahi’s API-U license, all company imports can go through the green channel, which requires customs authorities to only verify the documentation and not physically inspect the goods, saving Rahi and clients significant time and money.

The API-U Licensing Process

The API-U processing application was recently simplified by the Indonesian government by eliminating the need for both an API and NIK. Although the application process can seem daunting, it only took Rahi three months to complete.

Companies with 100% foreign ownership are unable to apply for an API-U license. Rahi took the right steps to work with an accounting firm to structure our Indonesian import-export company properly. We completed all required government interviews to ensure that our company was officially documented as a local business.

We even expanded our charter to incorporate a wider range of IT products – including storage, networking, security technologies, and cloud platforms and services – to ensure that our clients receive the full range of solutions and services available in the IT market.

Our logistics team pays special attention to all processes and paperwork to prevent any delays. Inaccurate or missing documentation, such as a packing list or commercial invoice that customs officials use to calculate duties and taxes, can lead to interrupted project timelines and increased costs.

Through a combination of Rahi’s API-U license, attention to detail, and experienced team members, we are able to import products quicker and more cost-effectively through Indonesia. We are committed to providing our clients with the best value at the lowest price possible.

Contact us today and learn how Rahi can help your company reduce costs and meet project deadlines with Rahi’s importer of record (IOR) services.


  • Amber Miao is a Finance & Legal manager covering all the Asia Pacific entities at Rahi. With ten years of working experience and as a CFA holder, she specializes in tax consulting and financial analysis.

, Finance & Legal Manager, APAC

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