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

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

Postby mahjongguy » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:22 am

This just in from ACS Bangkok:

"As of January 1, 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai will cease to provide the income affidavit for the purpose of applying for Thai retirement and family visas and will not notarize previous versions of the income affidavit. The Royal Thai Government requires actual verification of income to certify visa applicants meet financial requirements for long-stay visas. The U.S. government cannot provide this verification and will no longer issue the affidavits."

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

Postby Gaybutton » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:45 am

I received the following copy of the embassy announcement in an Email from Travelerjim:
_____________________________________________________________________________

Attention Americans in Thailand...
Message from US Embassy Bangkok

U.S. Mission in Thailand to Cease Providing Income Affidavit

October 26, 2018

Bangkok, THAILAND

As of January 1, 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai will cease to provide the income affidavit for the purpose of applying for Thai retirement and family visas and will not notarize previous versions of the income affidavit.

The Royal Thai Government requires actual verification of income to certify visa applicants meet financial requirements for long-stay visas.

The U.S. government cannot provide this verification and will no longer issue the affidavits.

Please consult the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C. and Royal Thai Immigration Bureau websites for information on how to meet the requirements for a Thai retirement visa or extension
________________________________________________________________

I cannot find anything on the Royal Thai Immigration Bureau web site. However, the following does appear on the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C:

6. Bank statement or evidence of adequate finance showing a deposit of the amount equal to and not less than 800,000 Baht or an income certificate (an original copy) with a monthly income of not less than 65,000 Baht, or a deposit account plus a monthly income totaling not less than 800,000 Baht In the case of submitting a bank statement, a letter of guarantee from the bank (an original copy) is required

See: http://thaiembdc.org/consular-services/ ... tegory-oa/
________________________________________________________________

Ok, then now it is both UK and American citizens who need alternative methods to prove monthly income. Most likely the best way to find out is to ask at immigration.

If someone is able to find out what will be acceptable to immigration as proof of income, please post and let us know.

I'm also curious as to whether the embassy will continue doing Outreaches. The proof-of-income statement is not the only thing handled at the Outreaches, although if they are no longer going to issue proof-of-income statements, then those Outreaches will be a hell of a lot less crowded . . .

Those who have been living in Thailand by lying about their monthly income and can neither meet the 65,000 baht per month minimum nor have 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account apparently are going to be "Up Shit Creek without a paddle." I'm sorry to put it so harshly, but for years I've been saying sooner or later it will come to something like this. I had thought it would be the US embassy requiring actual proof, but apparently it is going to be Thai immigration requiring actual proof.

I do feel sorry for those who have been living in Thailand for years and made a life here, but apparently are going to end up having to leave - but not that sorry. The lying, cheating, and circumventing the system is partially, if not wholly, responsible for these actions on the part of immigration and the embassies. I find it difficult to have a whole lot of sympathy for that.

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#3 Re: U. S. Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing income letters

Postby 2lz2p » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:51 am

Also just received the message from US Embassy. I recently saw posted on ThaiVisa the following:

I am a USA citizen. I am at CW getting extension of stay retirement. I just had a conference with a supervisor because I use the USA embassy affidavit for income. She told me next year I must have 800k in thai bank as she will not accept letter from USA embassy anymore because they don’t check documents to verify income. I said I heard about British but not USA. She said as of January 1, 2019 it applies to USA embassy also although they are accepting all income verification forms dated before January 1, 2019. This is one experience from one supervisor so if it happens to others please report. I am dressed nice and I have plenty of money transferred into Thailand but have never kept 800k in the bank here for extension of stay purposes but will from now on. You also have to draw a map to your residence and fill out two more pieces of paper about where you live and what you are doing in Thailand. Having said that immigration officers are working very fast and efficiently as compared to previous CW visits.
(Emphasis added)

I forgot to mention she also said if I transferred 65 K a month every month to a thai bank account that she would accept that instead of the 800k in the Thai account. But no more accepted USA embassy verification letters dated after January 1, 2019.


Source: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1064713-usa-income-affidavit/ Message 1 and 4.

Although this person spoke to only one supervisor a few days ago, it appears this may be what Thai Immigration will do in place of the "income letters" - if they do as stated anyone due for renewal before June 30, 2019 can obtain an affidavit of income from Embassy (British or US) dated before January 1 and hope it will continue to be accepted (letters normally have been good for 6 months). If so, there are still remaining questions that hopefully will soon be answered by Thai Immigration, i.e., what will constitute acceptable documentation (my guess and that is all it is "a guess" will be a letter from your Thai bank showing transfers into your account from abroad for a period of time which could be one year).

Of course I am hoping this will be the case since my renewal is in July and I do transfer more than 65k each month into my Bangkok Bank Account. Although I can no longer use Bangkok Bank NY after April 1, I have done one test transaction using Transferwise - Bangkok Bank shows it is a transfer from outside Thailand. I also have an annual annuity statement from US Office of Personnel Management (being a retired Federal employee).

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.

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#4 Re: U. S. Embassy Bangkok to stop issuing income letters

Postby Gaybutton » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:09 am

2lz2p wrote:I have done one test transaction using Transferwise

How did that go? Were you pleased with the transaction? How long did it take for the transfer to reach your Thai bank account? Are the fees reasonable?

Can money be direct deposited into Transferwise? I ask because with this ACH/IAT nonsense coming up in April, in case I can no longer receive my retirement benefit via direct deposit into Bangkok Bank's New York office (and I don't know yet), I'm looking for a good alternative for getting my money direct deposited into my Bangkok Bank account in Thailand.

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

Postby fountainhall » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:25 am

We know from the UK embassy that the new ruling affects about 3,000 Brits who use the income letter. I wonder how many US citizens it will affect after the deadline.

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

Postby 2lz2p » Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:17 pm

To answer GB's question.

In my test case I used my credit card as the funding source - Tranferwise sends as soon as the transfer is funded - I did on Friday and received on Monday (probably would have received the next day if it wasn't for the intervening week end). Transferwise deducts their fee then converts it to baht and sends it by wire transfer (using SWIFT code) to Bangkok Bank - since it is in baht, Bangkok Bank does not charge a conversion fee and as mentioned show it as an international transfer. The sending was quite easy as in the space to enter the banks name, as you do a drop down window shows Thai bank names along with their SWIFT code - so selecting it from the drop down, it appears in the bank name space - then it is just a matter of entering my Thai (Bangkok) bank account number. Using Transferwise, you can transfer the funds to other Thai banks, not just Bangkok Bank.

Their fees will depend on the amount sent and the funding method. There are two fees, one for the conversion and transfer to your receiving bank and another that varies depending on source of funds. For conversion using a credit card to fund will be almost 2% additional fee (for 1,000 USD is $18.16), but for ACH or Debit Card, the fee is $1.50. The conversion and wire fee is $10.40. The conversion rate at the moment is 33.09.

You can Google "Transferwise" and go to their website. Without needing to register, their page will have a place you can enter the amount in sending currency and it will show fees and amount to be deposited in receiving country (in my case, USD to Thai Baht); thus a person can decide for themselves if the fees are acceptable. One CAUTION although it may not have an impact, it could - that is use a VPN to show a USA or UK, etc. URL rather than Thailand. My first try with a transfer company, I didn't think to turn it on, registered (but didn't try to transfer money at the time), received a welcoming email -- then a short time later, an email asking if I lived in Thailand as that was my URL - it seems they could only accept customers that lived within the area they had a license (this was Worldfirst, which had much cheaper fees). There are other services out there, but most it seems want documents sent as evidence of identity and place of residence. Transferwise did not ask for any such documents.

I plan to make my next transfer shortly, but will use the ACH method (same fee as debit card - $1.50). This will take some time as I understand it, they will make two small deposits to my US bank account which I will have to "confirm" to set up the ACH link for them to "pull" funds. From information I have read, it can take 2 or 3 days using the ACH method - they "pull" the funds from your account and then when they have the funds, they will then send the wire transfer, which should take only 1 business day.

Once I have done this, I will let you know how long it took, but expect it to be as quick or quicker than using Bangkok Bank NY method.

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

Postby 2lz2p » Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:27 pm

US Embassy has links to two pdf documents regarding their ceasing to issue affidavits of income - visit here and click on the links: https://th.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/notaries-public/

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

Postby Gaybutton » Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:52 pm

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.

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

Postby Up2u » Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:24 pm

The situation is a real bummer but hopefully we can get some answers quickly so we can explore our options. Putting money (800k) in a 3rd world Thai bank paying zero percent interest is the last option. I make ATM withdrawals using my Schwab bank card in excess of 100k per month and then deposit directly to my TMB account. Can TMB show deposits of greater than 65k per month that will satisfy Immigration? Who knows?

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

Postby Gaybutton » Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:16 pm

We're trying to obtain reliable, valid, verifiable information and get it out to you as quickly as possible.

I heard again from Travelerjim. He sent a statement from the embassy, but I not re-printing it here because there is nothing in it we don't know already - except for one line I think is important:

What are the U.S. Embassy and Consulate doing to ease the transition?

We recently met with the new Commissioner of Immigration and his staff to discuss the change, and both the Embassy and
Consulate General will work closely with regional immigration offices during the transition period to address any concerns.

In other words, it seems obvious to me something will be worked out so that there will be alternatives to the proof-of-income statement for those who have been using it so that tying up 800,000 baht for 3 months will not suddenly become necessary.

The document does stress, however, those who cannot prove immigration's minimum retirement visa eligibility requirements are simply not going to get the retirement visa and there is nothing the embassy can do about it.

I suggest those who will not be able to meet the requirements start making your arrangements. That does not mean you will have to leave Thailand permanently, but you will no longer be able to stay full time in Thailand. Whatever you do, do NOT overstay your visa.

If you wissh to read the full fact sheet, see: https://th.usembassy.gov/wp-content/upl ... idavit.pdf


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