Immigration and money - in a nutshell

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Gaybutton
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#1 Immigration and money - in a nutshell

Postby Gaybutton » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:03 am

Because of all the changes we're being hit with, we now have several topics about everything going on and the confusion it is causing. I'm going to try to put it all in "a nutshell."

As of November 3, 2018:

WHAT WE KNOW

1. The Australian, UK, and USA embassies are ending the income verification letters.
2. Thai immigration is going to refuse to accept embassy income verification letters whether any embassies continue providing them or not.
3. For retirement visa eligibility, Thai immigration will accept a minimum of 800,000 baht held in a Thai bank account for at least three months prior to applying for the visa.
4. As of April 1, 2019, the USA will no longer permit direct deposits into foreign bank accounts, including Thai bank accounts, unless the deposit source will use the IAT format.
5. USA Social Security uses the IAT format for direct deposits.
6. Money can be transferred into a Thai bank account, from any bank in most countries, using Transferwise.
7. If you need a residence certificate, you can still get it at the immigration office.


WHAT WE DON'T KNOW

1. Exactly on what date Thai immigration will refuse to continue accepting embassy income verification letters. We're getting conflicting information about it.
2. Whether Thailand will accept alternate methods of proving a minimum 65,000 baht per month income.
3. If Thailand will accept alternate methods to prove the income, what those methods will be.
4. If you can put 800,000 baht into a Thai bank account, but it will not have been in the account for the required 3 months before your retirement visa expires, what your alternatives might be.
5. For USA citizens living in Thailand who will need an American bank account in order to use Transferwise, but do not already have an American bank account, which, if any, American banks will permit you to open a bank account without being personally present and without having an American address.
6. Whether any other embassies that have been providing some sort of proof-of-income statements are also going to stop providing them.
7. Whether USA's IRS uses the IAT format for direct deposit income tax refunds.

If I've missed anything or am wrong about anything, please post.

Now I'm going to make a GUESS:
If you can put 800,000 into a Thai bank account, but it won't have been in the account for three months prior to your visa expiring, my guess is shortly before your retirement visa expires, or if you are a new retirement visa applicant, you can leave Thailand, obtain a tourist visa, return to Thailand under the tourist visa or the 30 day privilege, and once the 800,000 has been in the Thai bank account for three months, reapply for the retirement visa.

WHAT IF YOU WANT TO LIVE IN THAILAND, BUT DON'T HAVE 800,000 BAHT AND ALSO CANNOT PROVE THE 65,000 BAHT PER MONTH REQUIREMENT?

The short answer is you can't.

A significant number of farang have been living in Thailand and have, shall we say, been less than truthful about their actual income, in actuality do not have an income of 65,000 baht or more per month, and have been relying on the embassy letter to be able to stay in Thailand under the retirement visa.

Despite the fact that people under that circumstance may have been making a life in Thailand, some for many years, now they're going to lose their eligibility to remain in Thailand under the retirement visa and will be forced to leave.

However, all may not be lost. As far as I know, under various tourist visas and the 30 day privilege, it is still possible to live in Thailand up to 180 days per year - half a year.

What you might be able to do if you want to remain in Asia, is to spend the other half of the year living in some of the surrounding countries. I know nothing about retirement possibilities and requirements in any of the surrounding countries, but if you can meet whatever requirements they have, you might be able to start over again in one of those countries as your permanent place to live. You may not be able to live in Thailand, but at least you would be able to come to Thailand.

Whatever you do, I hope nobody will be stupid enough to try to overstay their visa. Under NO circumstances overstay your visa. That would be the worst thing you can do.

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#2 Re: Immigration and money - in a nutshell

Postby mahjongguy » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:59 pm

Gaybutton wrote:...under various tourist visas and the 30 day privilege, it is still possible to live in Thailand up to 180 days per year - half a year.

There is no specific rule about 180 days. With a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa from your home country, you could -- with two border runs 90 days apart plus two 30 day extensions-- stay almost 270 days. After a trip home to obtain another METV, you could start again. With precision timing, you could rack up over eleven months a year in Thailand.

Of course the expense (and hassle) would be significant.

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#3 Re: Immigration and money - in a nutshell

Postby ceejay » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:05 pm

Gaybutton wrote:Now I'm going to make a GUESS:
If you can put 800,000 into a Thai bank account, but it won't have been in the account for three months prior to your visa expiring, my guess is shortly before your retirement visa expires, or if you are a new retirement visa applicant, you can leave Thailand, obtain a tourist visa, return to Thailand under the tourist visa or the 30 day privilege, and once the 800,000 has been in the Thai bank account for three months, reapply for the retirement visa.
.

This is how you upgrade from a 30 day stamp or tourist visa at present, except for one detail. As the retirement extension count as a first extension you would only need to have had the money in the bank for 60 days. It's 90 days for extensions after that.

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#4 Re: Immigration and money - in a nutshell

Postby mahjongguy » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:20 pm

ceejay wrote: It's 90 days for extensions after that.

Strange but true: the seasoning for the first extension is sixty days but for subsequent extensions it's three months, not ninety days. :|

It's odd but that's the way it is, and occasionally it messes someone up.

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#5 Re: Immigration and money - in a nutshell

Postby Gaybutton » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:24 pm

Today I sent an Email inquiry to USA embassy American Citizen Services asking if they can provide an update on just where they are with talks with immigration on alternative ways Thai immigration will (or may) accept alternatives for proof of income when they will no longer accept the embassy affidavit.

This is the response I received. They may or may not provide additional information. That remains to be seen, but so far this is their response:


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#6 Re: Immigration and money - in a nutshell

Postby Undaunted » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:18 pm

All this to get back to square one. Immigration has not yet determined what if any show of income will be acceptable in lieu of 800,000 bht. on deposit in a Thai bank and will they waive at all the 3mos. rule for funds on deposit.
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

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#7 Re: Immigration and money - in a nutshell

Postby Gaybutton » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:30 pm

Undaunted wrote:Immigration has not yet determined what if any show of income will be acceptable in lieu of 800,000 bht.

That is precisely the point. So far we have both the immigration man, Barry Kenyon, and the USA embassy saying the only thing acceptable for the retirement visa is the 800,000 baht and they have no current information or evidence to support the idea that anything else will suffice. I hope that changes and alternatives will be put in place, but until that happens, that's the way it is.

Meanwhile you said we are creating hysteria for having reported that. This needs to be reported so that people can do whatever they need to do before it's too late. I'd rather create the so-called hysteria than have people go to immigration to obtain or renew their retirement visa only to be surprised by this. If I were to be ashamed of myself, as you insisted I should be, I would definitely be highly ashamed of myself if I knew about this, but said nothing to warn people about it.

As for alternatives to the embassy letters, nobody seems to have any idea yet as to whether there will even be alternatives, much less what the alternatives might be or when they might be put in place. I hope there will be alternatives, easy to comply with, and they will be in place soon enough so that people can comply. Maybe they will come up with alternatives soon. It could also be months down the road, years down the road, or not at all.

For the time being the only thing that makes any sense to me is to make sure the 800,000 baht is in a Thai bank account for at least 3 months prior to the retirement visa expiration date. Then once it is there, that's when people can take a wait and see attitude. As it stands at the moment, for people who cannot come up with the 800,000 baht, or come up with it in time, the clock is ticking . . .

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#8 Re: Immigration and money - in a nutshell

Postby 2lz2p » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:45 pm

GB, good you made the inquiry to Embassy, but the reply offered nothing new and doesn't really answer the question.

Pat K, the Embassy Liaison (formerly Warden) mentioned to me that the US Embassy probably will not take the matter up again with Thai Immigration until they get several emails from US Citizens, especially if they point out that Provincial Immigration Offices appear to be in the dark and giving out information that contradicts what the US Embassy said in their FAQ document, e.g.,
As of October 26, 2018, U.S. citizens can verify they meet the income requirements for retiree visas directly with Royal Thai Immigration by providing a local bank statement indicating a minimum deposit of 800,000 Thai Baht or evidence of having an income of at least 65,000 Thai Baht per month.
(emphasis added)

So, RichLB and others that encounter comments from Immigration Office staff, be it an officer or a helper (gate keeper as those that take and review your paperwork seem to be deciding whether your application gets passed on for review and approval), it might be beneficial if you passed on their comments to you to the ACS unit at the Embassy - maybe pointing out that in their FAQ, they state:
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.


IMO, if email is sent it should of course be based on first hand information from Immigration (officer/staff) that conflicts with the Embassy's assertion that banks statements showing 65k monthly transfers into their Thai bank account.

At the moment, as far as I know, no one that has actually gone to Pattaya Immigration using an Embassy income letter to renew since the Embassies have made their announcement has reported having a problem in getting their extension.

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#9 Re: Immigration and money - in a nutshell

Postby Gaybutton » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:01 pm

2lz2p wrote:or evidence of having an income of at least 65,000 Thai Baht per month

That is what we need to find out - just what evidence, if any, will be acceptable to Thai immigration.

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#10 Re: Immigration and money - in a nutshell

Postby puan » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:57 pm

2lz2p wrote:Pat K, the Embassy Liaison (formerly Warden) mentioned to me that the US Embassy probably will not take the matter up again with Thai Immigration until they get several emails from US Citizens

Did Pat K have the name of the individual in the Embassy who supervises the ACS section? I think having a name to directly address the email would be beneficial. I plan on sending an email.


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