US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

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gera
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#11 Re: US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

Postby gera » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:18 pm

Gaybutton wrote:
2lz2p wrote:To answer GB's question.

Thank you. In my case I don't think that will work. For me, everything is direct deposit. I haven't had a US bank account in 15 years. So, I guess I'll have to find something else if direct deposit into my Bangkok Bank account via the New York Branch won't be available after April 1.

Though it probably will not work in GB's case, it worthwhile to mention that Transferwise is planning to introduce the so-called debit card option (currently available only in Europe) in US. In particular, it will be possible to open with them a sort of bank account (with route number) and hence make things like direct deposits to such an account for those who have US pensions. Opening of such account would , however,would require a proof of US residence.

I have a couple of extra questions:

1. Does anybody talk with Charles Schwab bank about possibility of changing ACH format to international one for making transfers to BKK bank?
2. If transfer is made to US dollar account in BKK bank (rather than Thai baht account) does it make any difference. I am asking , because, in principle, it does not violate any US regulations (transfer to Thai Baht account without a prior knowledge of exchange rate violates Dodd-Frank).
3. Does anybody consider Elite 5 year visa for 500000 baht rather than dealing with annual renewals and , by the way, is it still available?

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#12 Re: US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

Postby Gaybutton » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:44 pm

gera wrote:3. Does anybody consider Elite 5 year visa for 500000 baht rather than dealing with annual renewals and , by the way, is it still available?

It is still available.

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#13 Re: US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

Postby Up2u » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:12 pm

1. Not an option for non-commercial customers.

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#14 Re: US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

Postby Dodger » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:19 pm

2lz2p wrote:Also, if this is the case, maybe one benefit in that it will save the $50 notary fee and hassle of getting the letter at an outreach visit.

According to a conversation I had yesterday with an immigration officer at Jomtien Immigration there will be a small fee required for those who are applying for renewal of retirement visa's in lieu of not having the minimum 800,000 THB in the bank. When asking her (name withheld) how much is small she finally said about 1,900 thb...ironically the same amount that is charged for the renewal fee thus doubling the cost.

She also made the following statements:

800,000 in a Thai bank for 3 months mandatory.
ALTHOUGH...Those with less funds will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
If approved, this additional 1,900 bht fee would then be accepted (don't hold your breath for a receipt).

If a person is disapproved they simply won't be approved for renewal.
Good people will not have a problem being approved (her words not mine)
People who we think are not good will not be approved (ditto)

There are approximately (nobody really knows) 40,000 Americans and 84,000 Brits living in Thailand legally. There is no data available anywhere which estimates illegal overstays but many suspect the number is very high. You can bet the phone lines at all embassies (foreign and Thai) have already started ringing off the walls and will continue to ring until a suitable means is developed for financial verification purposes.

My guess is that something will have to happen before the year's end. Having said that, anyone who has been living long term in Thailand who doesn't meet the minimum requirement (65,000 thb/month) or have the cash in a Thai bank will probably be sent packing. Well, not exactly packing, as anyone turned down could always just pick up a tourist visa to a buy a few more months and visit a few more immigration offices until you get approved by someone somewhere. This option only exists in Thailand!

What's really mind boggling (what isn't in Thailand?) is why this change involves only farang (white foreigners) from America, UK, Australia, etc. but, at least so far, doesn't include the highest percentage of foreign residents in Thailand which are Asians (Chinese, Cambodians, Laotian, Burmese, Vietnamese) which account for over half of the foreigners residing in Thailand.

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#15 Re: US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:09 pm

Dodger wrote:Well, not exactly packing, as anyone turned down could always just pick up a tourist visa to a buy a few more months and visit a few more immigration offices until you get approved by someone somewhere.

What's really mind boggling (what isn't in Thailand?) is why this change involves only farang

I don't think going to different immigration offices is an option. Don't forget that finances are not the only issues. You have to show evidence of your address too. You can only apply for the retirement visa in your residence province or nearest immigration office is there is none in your province.

As for the changes involving only farang, do you know that or are you assuming that? If you know that, how do you know it? Neither I nor anyone else I know has heard that the changes apply only to farang.

Based on what you were told, it sounds as if other means of proving income will be possible, but entirely arbitrary. If they do that it will help people, but in my opinion that simply isn't good enough. You could be approved this year, but rejected the next. Would you want to live with that possibility hanging over your head? I wouldn't. I wouldn't want to take that chance. So I, for one, would still feel compelled to keep 800,000 baht sitting in the bank.

Unless they come out with a specific set of rules and procedures to follow, you would still be at risk if you don't have the 800,000 baht.

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#16 Re: US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

Postby Dodger » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:36 am

Gaybutton wrote:As for the changes involving only farang, do you know that or are you assuming that? If you know that, how do you know it? Neither I nor anyone else I know has heard that the changes apply only to farang.

Based on what you were told, it sounds as if other means of proving income will be possible, but entirely arbitrary. If they do that it will help people, but in my opinion that simply isn't good enough. You could be approved this year, but rejected the next. Would you want to live with that possibility hanging over your head? I wouldn't. I wouldn't want to take that chance. So I, for one, would still feel compelled to keep 800,000 baht sitting in the bank.

Unless they come out with a specific set of rules and procedures to follow, you would still be at risk if you don't have the 800,000 baht.

The immigration officer I spoke with this week told me that the changes were first directed at the Brits...then expanded to include Americans and recently the Australians and could expand to effect other European residents as well before the changes are fully implemented. She made no mention of the Asian residents. I have no idea if what she was informing me will in fact be the case after the dust settles. I doubt if they even know at this juncture.

For clarification: Any person coming a country where the residents are primarily white, including black people who are residents of the same country, are considered "farang" in Thai culture. If they were referring to visitors or residents coming from China or Cambodia for instance they are simply referred to them as Chinese or Cambodians. The visa approval changes we are discussing are aimed solely at farang residents.

There are reportedly 40,000 Americans residing legally in Thailand - not 20,000 as I mentioned in error before. Based on these numbers the Thais were sitting back and watching the embassy's collecting 64 million baht per year just on financial verification letters (40,000 X 1,600 THB per letter). I believe they have now found a way to route this money into their own coffers. Just my opinion of course and not fact. If you toss in the 84,000 Brits this number increases to 198 million THB per year (40,000 plus 84,000 X 1,600 THB per letter).

If you estimate that the average American or British resident holding a one year retirement visa has an average of 300,000 THB in his/hers Thai bank account (a conservative estimate) who then have to increase this amount to 800,000 THB the Thai banking system will then be positioned to experience an increase of 62 billion THB (40,000 plus 84,000 X 500,000 THB).

I also believe that the motivation of the Thais is aimed at getting rid of the "undesirable" farang residents many of whom are here illegally as they commonly work illegally...sometimes become homeless... get involved in many of the criminal activities they are trying to combat...fill the beds in the State hospitals with no money to pay for their medial treatment, etc., etc., etc. Thailand launched it's highly publicized "[i]Good Guy In - Bad Guy Out[/i]" Campaign 3 years due to these concerns. When the immigration officer made the statement to me that "Good People will be OK - but Bad People will Not" I interpreted this along the same lines.

GB...like you, I don't like risk and maintain enough funds in my Thai bank account to cover me regardless of what changes are made, but, unfortunately, many of my farang friends who have lived here for years are not in the same boat and are very concerned as one would expect. Personally, and again, just my own opinion, I don't think anyone who is here legally, who provided truthful statements and/or docuemts supporting their monthly income form their home countries will have anything to worry about other than paying an extra fee every year when visa renewal is due. For those who provided false information and/or documentation regarding their income during the visa application process I would be extremely concerned. Not only will they not be able to get a visa - they won't be able to leave the country without facing a huge fine and/or jail time. Another concern would be a possible violation of a U.S. federal law if perjury was involved on a U.S. Embassy signed and witnessed document. These people made their own bed - they can sleep in it.

All-in-all the changes we are talking about are just one small piece of the changing demographics in Thailand. We can see these changes with our own eyes with no need to scour reports showing data and statistics. Thailand is in the process of changing its brand image from sex capitol of the world to a friendly family oriented tourist destination. Finding ways to get rid of foreign mafia's, chronic alcoholics and hobo's from Detroit is just part of the process.

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#17 Re: US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

Postby Gaybutton » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:05 am

Dodger wrote:I don't think anyone who is here legally, who provided truthful statements and/or documents supporting their monthly income form their home countries will have anything to worry about other than paying an extra fee every year when visa renewal is due.

For me, that is precisely the problem. I also don't think there will be any problems for those who have been truthful, and can prove it, but until what we think becomes what we know, we just can't be certain about anything other than maintaining the 800,000 baht.

The USA embassy has said they are in talks with Thai immigration and trying to work something out. I don't know if I even believe that anymore. They haven't said anything and when asked, their only response is a canned evasive non-answer.

Meanwhile, expats have to comply with whatever Thai immigration wants. Either that or start packing . . .

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#18 Re: US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

Postby Dodger » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:36 am

The ultimate solution to all deliberate loopholes in Thailand = Tea Money.

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#19 Re: US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

Postby Bob » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:32 am

Dodger wrote: ...The immigration officer I spoke with this week told me that the changes were first directed at the Brits...then expanded to include Americans and recently the Australians and could expand to effect other European residents as well before the changes are fully implemented. She made no mention of the Asian residents. I have no idea if what she was informing me will in fact be the case after the dust settles. I doubt if they even know at this juncture....

Your use of the language "directed at" raises a question that I have about the issue, i.e., what caused the recent policy changes by the three (so far) governments? Although I've read most articles about the announced embassy changes, I'm not read anything about why the embassies made these announcements now. Does anyone know if how it started? Did the Thai government/immigration issue some new directive to these three particular embassies (or, perhaps, to all embassies)?

[I'd note that US citizens signed up with the Consulate here in Chiangmai received an email from the Consulate yesterday announcing a town hall meeting for US citizens this month on the 20th. The main body of the notice reads: "Topics will include the previously announced change in policy regarding the income affidavit, which the U.S. Embassy Bangkok and U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai will no longer provide beginning January 1, 2019. The Consul General will also conduct a question-and-answer session. 100 seats will be available on a first-come first-served basis." While the Consul General surely can't...and won't...answer what Thai Immigration will or won't accept in the future, she ought to be able to answer what triggered the issue now. I may pose the question.]

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#20 Re: US Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing proof-of-income letters

Postby fountainhall » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:57 am

Bob wrote:what caused the recent policy changes by the three (so far) governments?

It MAY have been sparked by the Brits as a result of new European Community legislation that came into effect in the early summer followed immediately by a new Data Protection Act in the UK. Rather than repeating my post, you can find it at the top of the page here -

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9312&start=80


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