Embarking on the journey to teach English in Bali combines the allure of tropical living with the rewarding opportunity to shape minds, requiring careful navigation through legalities and qualifications.

Every sunrise promises a new lesson, not just for the students in the classroom, but for the teacher embarking on a journey of discovery, culture, and self-growth amidst the island’s enchanting serenity.

Bali, with its serene beaches, vibrant culture, and the warm, welcoming nature of its people, is a dream destination for many. It’s no surprise that teaching English here is a sought-after position for expats looking to immerse themselves in island life while making a meaningful impact. However, embarking on this adventure requires more than just a ticket to paradise. This guide is designed to navigate you through the steps and requirements to work legally as an English teacher in Bali.

Teaching English in Bali Job

Step 1) Understand the Legal Requirements

Before packing your bags, it’s crucial to understand the Indonesian government’s legal requirements for foreigners working in the country. To teach English in Bali legally, you need:

    A. KITAS (Temporary Stay Permit Card)

The KITAS is essentially your golden ticket to legally live and work in Bali. It’s a document that legitimizes your stay for employment purposes and is a must-have for any expat teacher. The process of obtaining a KITAS starts with finding an employer willing to sponsor your stay. This sponsorship is a commitment from the employer to the Indonesian government, indicating they are hiring you for skills that are in demand. Keep in mind, the KITAS is tied directly to your employer, which means switching jobs isn’t straightforward and usually requires a new application process.

    B. IMTA (Work Permit)

Parallel to the KITAS is the IMTA, your formal work permit. This document is proof that the Indonesian government has approved your employment in Bali. Your employer is responsible for applying for this on your behalf. The IMTA outlines specific details about your employment, including your position, place of work, and the duration of your contract. It’s a critical piece of documentation that complements the KITAS, reinforcing your legal standing as a foreign worker in Indonesia.

    C. Additional Requirements

While the KITAS and IMTA are the primary legal hurdles, there are additional requirements and paperwork to navigate:

Health Certificate: You’ll need to prove you’re physically and mentally fit to work in Indonesia. This involves a health check, which may include tests for communicable diseases, to ensure you pose no public health risk.

Criminal Record Check: A clean criminal record is a prerequisite for teaching in many countries, including Indonesia. You’ll need to obtain a criminal record check from your home country (or any country you’ve lived in for a significant period) to submit with your visa application.

Educational Credentials: Your degree and teaching certifications will need to be verified and possibly translated. Indonesia takes educational qualifications seriously, so ensure your paperwork is in order.

    D. The Path Forward: Navigating the Process

Navigating the legal requirements to teach English in Bali involves a series of steps, each with its own set of challenges and rewards. It’s a process that requires patience, meticulous attention to detail, and often, a bit of resilience. However, the payoff is the opportunity to live and work in one of the most beautiful places on earth, contributing to the education of its future generations.

This initial step, while daunting, is your first true lesson in the rich tapestry that is Balinese life and the beginning of a deeply rewarding adventure.

How to get a job as an English Teacher in Bali

Step 2) Get Qualified

While Bali’s laid-back lifestyle might suggest otherwise, schools and language centers are serious about their educators’ qualifications. Here are the typical requirements:

    A. Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s degree is the academic foundation for teaching English in Bali. It serves as proof of your ability to commit to and complete higher education, a prerequisite that educational employers value highly. While your degree doesn’t necessarily need to be in English or Education, having it in a related field can make your application more attractive. This requirement underscores the importance of a solid educational background in shaping young minds.

    B. TEFL Certification

Beyond your degree, a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification is crucial. This qualification specifically prepares you for teaching English to non-native speakers, equipping you with the methodologies and skills needed to thrive in diverse classroom settings. A TEFL certificate not only boosts your credibility but also your confidence, providing practical tools and strategies for effective language teaching. Some institutions might accept TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) as equivalents, offering flexibility in how you choose to qualify.

    C. Being a Native or Fluent English Speaker

While many schools express a preference for native English speakers, fluency and proficiency in English are the true benchmarks. Your ability to communicate effectively, engage students, and foster a supportive learning environment is paramount. For non-native speakers, demonstrating your proficiency through certifications, such as the IELTS or TOEFL, or showcasing your experience in teaching English in other non-native settings, can greatly strengthen your application.

    D. Experience and Continuing Education

Practical teaching experience, whether through volunteer work, internships, or previous jobs, can significantly enhance your application. Such experience demonstrates your commitment to education and your ability to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings. Additionally, pursuing further education or certifications related to teaching or your area of expertise can set you apart as a candidate committed to lifelong learning and professional development.

Bali English Teaching Job Guide

Step 3: Find a Job

Job hunting from abroad can be challenging, but not impossible. Utilize online job boards, educational forums, and expat communities in Bali. Websites like TEFL.com and Dave’s ESL Cafe are great places to start. Networking is also incredibly powerful; don’t underestimate the value of connecting with current and former teachers in Bali through social media and expat groups.

    A. Utilize Online Job Boards and Educational Websites

Start your search by exploring online job boards and websites dedicated to teaching positions, such as TEFL.com and Dave’s ESL Cafe. These platforms frequently list openings in Bali and other parts of Indonesia, offering a wide range of opportunities from public schools to private language institutes. Tailor your search to your qualifications and desired teaching environment to find the best matches.

    B. Engage with Expat and Teacher Communities

Bali’s expat community is a treasure trove of insights and opportunities. Joining forums, social media groups, and expat networks can provide invaluable advice and connections. Engaging with these communities allows you to learn from others’ experiences, understand the local job market better, and even discover unadvertised positions through word-of-mouth.

    C. Attend Job Fairs and Educational Expos

Keep an eye out for job fairs and educational expos that happen in Bali or in major cities nearby. These events are great for networking, learning more about potential employers, and even securing interviews on the spot. They offer a chance to present yourself directly to schools and language centers, making a personal impression that can set you apart from other candidates.

    D. Consider Volunteering or Part-Time Opportunities

If you’re already in Bali or can afford to take some time to explore, consider volunteering or accepting part-time teaching positions. These roles can provide practical experience, enhance your resume, and often lead to full-time opportunities. Volunteering is also a great way to give back to the community and immerse yourself in the local culture, further enriching your experience on the island.

    E. Prepare a Strong Application

Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your teaching experience, qualifications, and any other attributes that make you a great fit for teaching in Bali. Be sure to mention any familiarity with the Indonesian culture or language, as this shows your willingness to integrate and contribute positively to your students’ learning environment.

    F. Follow Up and Stay Persistent

After submitting applications, don’t hesitate to follow up with potential employers. A polite email or phone call can demonstrate your enthusiasm and keep you on their radar. The job market in Bali can be competitive, so persistence and a positive attitude are key.

How to teach English in Bali

Step 4) Secure Your Work Visa

Once you’ve landed a job, your employer should initiate the visa application process. You’ll need to provide:

    A. Collaboration with Your Employer

The process begins once you have a job offer in hand. Indonesian law requires your employer to sponsor your work visa. This collaboration is crucial; your employer acts as your advocate with the Indonesian immigration authorities. They will initiate the KITAS (Temporary Stay Permit Card) application process on your behalf, which is the cornerstone of your legal work status in Bali.

    B. Gathering Necessary Documents

Preparation is key. You’ll need to compile several documents for your visa application, including but not limited to:

Valid Passport: Ensure your passport has at least 18 months of validity from your planned arrival in Indonesia to meet immigration requirements.

Academic and Professional Qualifications: These include your degree certificates and TEFL certification, which may need to be authenticated or apostilled, depending on Indonesian requirements at the time of your application.

Health Certificate: A comprehensive health check to certify you are free from contagious diseases is necessary. This might include tests conducted within your home country or Indonesia, as specified by the current visa regulations.

Criminal Record Check: A clean criminal record from your home country (or any country you’ve resided in for an extended period) over the last few years is essential. This document attests to your character and suitability for a teaching position.

    C. Understanding the Visa Application Process

The visa application process involves several stages, often starting with your employer applying for an IMTA (Work Permit) at the Ministry of Manpower in Indonesia. Following the approval of the IMTA, the immigration office processes the KITAS application. It’s a layered process, requiring patience and thorough attention to detail.

    D. Plan for Your Arrival

Once your work visa is approved, plan your relocation to Bali. This includes arranging for accommodation, understanding your commute to work, and familiarizing yourself with local laws and customs. Some employers offer relocation assistance or advice, so don’t hesitate to ask for support.

    E. Compliance and Renewals

Upon arrival in Bali, you may need to complete additional steps, such as reporting to the local immigration office or police station. Your KITAS is typically valid for one year and can be extended, depending on your contract length and employer’s sponsorship. Stay ahead of renewal deadlines and maintain open communication with your employer about your intention to continue working in Bali.

Teaching English Job in Bali Guide

Step 5) Prepare for Life in Bali

While waiting for your paperwork to be processed, start preparing for your new life. Research Balinese culture, learn some basic Indonesian phrases, and connect with future colleagues and friends online. Understanding the local customs and language will greatly enrich your experience and help you settle in more comfortably.

    A. Learn Bahasa

This is in no way required to live or work in Bali as an English teacher but would be very beneficial. While Bahasa Indonesia is the national language, Bali also has its own local language, Balinese. Learning basic Bahasa Indonesia phrases can significantly enhance your daily interactions and show respect for the local culture. There are many resources available, from online courses to language apps, that can help you get started before you arrive.

    B. Understand the Culture

Bali is renowned for its deep cultural roots, reflected in its ceremonies, traditions, and daily life. Familiarize yourself with Balinese customs, etiquette, and the cultural significance of places and practices. This understanding will enrich your experience and help you navigate social situations with sensitivity and respect.

    C. Connect with the Community

Before moving, reach out to expat communities and local networks through social media and forums. Connecting with others who have made similar transitions can provide support, advice, and friendship. Engaging with these communities can also offer insights into the local job market, housing, and lifestyle tips that are invaluable for newcomers.

    D. Budget Wisely

Understanding the cost of living in Bali is crucial to managing your finances effectively. While Bali can offer a relatively affordable lifestyle, expenses like rent, transportation, and leisure activities can vary widely depending on your choices and location. Plan your budget to enjoy the island’s offerings without financial strain.

Find a Job as an English Teacher in Bali

Step 6) Keep it Legal

Once you’re in Bali and teaching, always keep your legal documents up to date. The Indonesian government occasionally changes foreign work policies, so stay informed to ensure your employment remains legitimate.

    A. Stay Informed About Visa and Work Permit Regulations

Indonesian immigration laws and work permit regulations can change. It’s vital to stay informed about any updates or modifications to ensure you remain compliant. Regularly check official sources or consult with your employer about any new requirements that may affect your legal status in Bali.

    B. Timely Renewal of Documents

Your KITAS (Temporary Stay Permit Card) and IMTA (Work Permit) have expiration dates. Mark these dates clearly in your calendar and initiate the renewal process well in advance to avoid any lapses in your legal status. Late renewals can lead to fines, complications, or even the revocation of your permit to work and stay in Indonesia.

    C. Report Changes in Employment or Address

If you change jobs, move to a new address, or undergo significant changes affecting your legal documents, you must report these changes to the immigration authorities. Such updates are crucial to keep your records accurate and avoid legal issues. Your employer should assist you with the necessary paperwork for any employment-related changes.

   D. Pay Taxes and Fulfill Financial Obligations

As a foreign worker, you’re subject to Indonesian tax laws, which include income tax and possibly other financial obligations. Understand your tax responsibilities and ensure timely payments to avoid penalties. Consulting with a tax professional or your employer’s accounting department can provide clarity and assistance in managing these duties.

Embrace the Adventure

Teaching English in Bali is more than a job; it’s an adventure that offers deep cultural immersion, personal growth, and an opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives. While the legal and bureaucratic hurdles can seem daunting, they’re just steps on the path to an incredibly rewarding experience. Bali is not just a place to work; it’s a place to live, learn, and grow. Welcome to your new home.


The Bali Guide