U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

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FrazeeDK
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U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by FrazeeDK » October 26, 2018, 10:15 am

per ACS E-mail: 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.


Dave

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by Udonhoward » October 26, 2018, 10:24 am

So the question is, what will Thai immigration accept in the way of verifying income?

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by FrazeeDK » October 26, 2018, 10:26 am

800,000 baht in the bank for a retirement visa, 400,000 baht in the bank for a marriage/dependent visa. Other than that, I reckon it will be "at the discretion of the immigration officer.." I doubt they will deviate from their current regulations on having the money in the bank.
Dave

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by Giggle » October 26, 2018, 11:29 am

Welcome to Nong Khai, 2012. It's really not that much money, and if you're scraping that low, might be better off elsewhere.

The Thais have cornered the market to "assist" the underfunded. Be prepared for a price hike. :D

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Attn Americans

Post by Peter USNR » October 26, 2018, 12:13 pm

Effective 1/1/2019 the US Embassy can not issue and or certify the income statement needed by some for a 1 year Visa Extension. News just released.

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Re: Attn Americans

Post by Giggle » October 26, 2018, 12:18 pm

Akshully, it was "released" here two hours ago.

topic48732.html

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by Peter USNR » October 26, 2018, 12:21 pm

I believe this will happen to all Embassy's. My Wife's Uncle is a Government Official and it might appear that in some cases individuals did not have the income as certified and problems occurred when they got sick. No Medical Insurance and no money to pay the Hospital and this was in all probability the major reason.

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by GT93 » October 26, 2018, 12:46 pm

That suggests the 800,000 and 400,000 deposits are likely to be bumped up in the next few years. 2,000,000 and 1,000,000 baht might not be far away.

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by tamada » October 26, 2018, 2:43 pm

There's already been considerable debate (and a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth) on the big forum as the British Embassy announced about 2 weeks ago that they would no longer issue income letters as of 1 January 2019. The BE income letter and the US sworn affidavit have a validity of 6-months so no real need to panic IMHO.

Apart from the two flavors of seasoned lump sums as mentioned earlier, the BE spokesperson said that Thai Immigration have told them that proof of the minimum monthly income of ~40k baht (married) and ~65k baht retired as listed in the same police order that defines the lump sums, deposited in a Thai bank account in the applicants name will also be accepted. Still a big debate on that since everyone's IO (and even different people at the same IO) has different answers.

I am not sure if the same police order specifically states that it allows 'combo' methods of deposit/income that a lot of Immigration offices already accept.

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by parrot » October 26, 2018, 4:13 pm

GT93 wrote:
October 26, 2018, 12:46 pm
That suggests the 800,000 and 400,000 deposits are likely to be bumped up in the next few years. 2,000,000 and 1,000,000 baht might not be far away.
Based on what?? Trying to guess the future of immigration requirements is akin to trying to guess future exchange rates.

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by tutone » October 26, 2018, 4:14 pm

tamada wrote:
October 26, 2018, 2:43 pm
There's already been considerable debate (and a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth) on the big forum as the British Embassy announced about 2 weeks ago that they would no longer issue income letters as of 1 January 2019. The BE income letter and the US sworn affidavit have a validity of 6-months so no real need to panic IMHO.

Apart from the two flavors of seasoned lump sums as mentioned earlier, the BE spokesperson said that Thai Immigration have told them that proof of the minimum monthly income of ~40k baht (married) and ~65k baht retired as listed in the same police order that defines the lump sums, deposited in a Thai bank account in the applicants name will also be accepted. Still a big debate on that since everyone's IO (and even different people at the same IO) has different answers.

I am not sure if the same police order specifically states that it allows 'combo' methods of deposit/income that a lot of Immigration offices already accept.
Questions: So 65,000 Baht deposited monthly would be sufficient to satisfy income requirements? If monthly deposits sometimes were less than 65,000 Baht then additional funds in an account to bring the total to 800,000 Baht for the year would satisfy requirements? Would these deposits have to have been made for the twelve months prior to applying for the extension of stay or just for 2-3 months prior to applying for the extension of stay? I think I have seen that an 800,000 lump sum only needs to be in the bank for 2-3 months prior to applying. (Cannot remember at this point the number of months.) I am curious how folks currently using the actual money requirements as opposed to the income affidavits are dealing with this. My deposits are close to 65,000 a month, sometimes more sometimes less, depending on exchange rates. If I totaled up deposits for one year prior to applying and came up with say 750,000 then would an additional 50,000 in a separate account account satisfy immigration? Any thoughts or actual experience is appreciated. I'm really not that thrilled about having to place an 800,000 Baht lump sum in a Thai bank. I will try to get an answer from the immigration office, but would like to hear from others.

Also, the U.S. Outreach is supposed to be in Udon in November. An income affidavit obtained then would theoretically be valid until May (6 months), but will Thai immigration still accept them at that point? If affidavits are still accepted by immigration that are issued prior to Jan. 1 then folks will have time to get their finances in order.

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by Giggle » October 26, 2018, 4:57 pm

tutone wrote:
October 26, 2018, 4:14 pm
I am curious how folks currently using the actual money requirements as opposed to the income affidavits are dealing with this.
Just whack 800K into a 1-year fixed account and forget about it. You'll get a lower interest rate on the money than Thais get (if you're a non-juristic person) and that sucks donkey balls. But hey, it's a small price to pay for living in paradise, eh?

In my opinion, the bad-guys-in good-guys-out policy has made things far worse for people following the laws. And it will get worse for the law-abiding. If you show them what they want to see, they want more. If you show your bank book, they want a bank letter, if you show them a bank letter, they want the book, if you have both, they claim neither are required. Law-abiding aliens are a nuisance and an obstacle to their more lucrative endeavors. Getting the embassies out of the picture will make the job of immigration officer far more desirable. Follow their rules, and you are merely getting in their way.

By the way, there are whispers the Thai military is getting involved in babysitting us. What color blazer goes well with a Scarlet "A" for alien?

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by tamada » October 26, 2018, 5:19 pm

tutone wrote:
October 26, 2018, 4:14 pm
tamada wrote:
October 26, 2018, 2:43 pm
There's already been considerable debate (and a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth) on the big forum as the British Embassy announced about 2 weeks ago that they would no longer issue income letters as of 1 January 2019. The BE income letter and the US sworn affidavit have a validity of 6-months so no real need to panic IMHO.

Apart from the two flavors of seasoned lump sums as mentioned earlier, the BE spokesperson said that Thai Immigration have told them that proof of the minimum monthly income of ~40k baht (married) and ~65k baht retired as listed in the same police order that defines the lump sums, deposited in a Thai bank account in the applicants name will also be accepted. Still a big debate on that since everyone's IO (and even different people at the same IO) has different answers.

I am not sure if the same police order specifically states that it allows 'combo' methods of deposit/income that a lot of Immigration offices already accept.
Questions: So 65,000 Baht deposited monthly would be sufficient to satisfy income requirements? If monthly deposits sometimes were less than 65,000 Baht then additional funds in an account to bring the total to 800,000 Baht for the year would satisfy requirements? Would these deposits have to have been made for the twelve months prior to applying for the extension of stay or just for 2-3 months prior to applying for the extension of stay? I think I have seen that an 800,000 lump sum only needs to be in the bank for 2-3 months prior to applying. (Cannot remember at this point the number of months.) I am curious how folks currently using the actual money requirements as opposed to the income affidavits are dealing with this. My deposits are close to 65,000 a month, sometimes more sometimes less, depending on exchange rates. If I totaled up deposits for one year prior to applying and came up with say 750,000 then would an additional 50,000 in a separate account account satisfy immigration? Any thoughts or actual experience is appreciated. I'm really not that thrilled about having to place an 800,000 Baht lump sum in a Thai bank. I will try to get an answer from the immigration office, but would like to hear from others.

Also, the U.S. Outreach is supposed to be in Udon in November. An income affidavit obtained then would theoretically be valid until May (6 months), but will Thai immigration still accept them at that point? If affidavits are still accepted by immigration that are issued prior to Jan. 1 then folks will have time to get their finances in order.
The regular monthly income must be minimum 65k baht. Whether Udon IO wants to see exactly that (or more) or if the odd month is less and they are happy to average it out over say 3-4 months, that would need someone to go and ask them. Same regards how many months of income; the last 3, 4 or 5 months?

The original police order did state that combination method was acceptable and although it wasn't specifically mentioned in a subsequent addendum, it was grandfathered so combination should be OK. But better ask the Udon IO for the real opinion.

According to the big forum, a couple of members have stated that their local IO has already said they will accept the income letters next year. Note that neither of these two IO's were Udon! Once again, someone should ask locally.

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U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by Mosquito » October 26, 2018, 9:09 pm

So, does this plan work:

Embassy Outreach visit to Udon in Nov 2018, get a income letter that's good for 6 months (covers annual visa renewals thru May 2019).
Open a Thai Bank Account and deposit the monthly required amount starting next month, Nov 2019 you'll have 12 months of deposits to meet requirement.
That leave those who renew their visas between Jun - Oct 2019 in a grey area. Assume they could renew their visa in May, along with opening bank account / depositing requirement next month.

Anyone in a position with contacts at Udon Immigration that can ask if this plan meets their requirements?

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U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by Mosquito » October 26, 2018, 9:36 pm

side notes:

Embassy loses operating funds from Income Ltr, assume it's a significant amount. Noted this because with a little effort by the embassy they could actually verify a US citizens income and provide a legit income ltr.

Thai Banks will be making a good chunk of change from both the added accounts/funds and service charges.

Thinking Bangkok Bank would be the most trusted/secure bank for your funds, am I wrong?

800k in a Thai Bank with limited loss protection, and should some employee steal your cash you'll spend at least a quarter of that prosecuting the case to get your money back (if you're lucky).
Staff thefts aren't common, but I see two to three REPORTED cases of bank employees stealing customers cash each year.

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by tamada » October 26, 2018, 11:11 pm

Mosquito wrote:
October 26, 2018, 9:36 pm
side notes:

Embassy loses operating funds from Income Ltr, assume it's a significant amount. Noted this because with a little effort by the embassy they could actually verify a US citizens income and provide a legit income ltr.

Thai Banks will be making a good chunk of change from both the added accounts/funds and service charges.

Thinking Bangkok Bank would be the most trusted/secure bank for your funds, am I wrong?

800k in a Thai Bank with limited loss protection, and should some employee steal your cash you'll spend at least a quarter of that prosecuting the case to get your money back (if you're lucky).
Staff thefts aren't common, but I see two to three REPORTED cases of bank employees stealing customers cash each year.
The cumulative fees charged by embassies are not that significant. It's a low-hanging fruit in a cost-cutting exercise.

There's more Thai's opening new accounts and actioning fee-earning transactions than the paltry amount of foreigners that may need to make changes.

Any bank would be as equally a good bet as any other IMHO. The way the wind always seems to be blowing in LOS, the smart money would be with TMB (Thai Military Bank) no?

There are adequate protections on accounts in Thai banks or else loads of locals would be using the mattress... or whatever it's called here.

You are right, staff thefts aren't common. With the proportion of Thai-owned accounts to foreign-owned accounts, your account tampering has probably same odds as winning a lottery in South Carolina.

However, for correct answers, please talk directly to Udon Thani Immigration.

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by Mosquito » October 27, 2018, 2:55 am

from what i can find they estimate there are 40,000 Americans living in Thailand, say 25% get an income ltr from the embassy that's 500k USD in income. don't see the 10k sheets of paper and stamp seal maintenance costing that much per year. also, expect the number of people/time required isn't really a factor.........same people who do your passport do your income ltr. even at 10% that's 200k USD.

income is income, even the 100 baht per year charge for a bank statement makes the bank over 100k USD. ok, maybe 80k profit after subtracting the admin / paper cost.

understand what you're saying about TMB, but by asset ranking it's #5 and Bangkok Bank is #1. Already knew Bangkok Bank was #1, was just looking into peoples insight as i currently do not have a Thai bank account.

again from what i can find banks currently insure deposits up to 1m baht with the exception of govt owned banks that they say will cover 100% of deposits. and should you hit the lottery, they do deduct legal fees from your insured deposit.

this is Thailand and what you read isn't always factual or how business is done, and things don't always have to make sense (same it seems like most of the world these days) .

you're right on asking immigration, but fairly confident previous plan is acceptable............if not i'll have to suck it up with plan b.

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by sometimewoodworker » October 27, 2018, 10:02 am

Mosquito wrote:
October 26, 2018, 9:09 pm
So, does this plan work:

Embassy Outreach visit to Udon in Nov 2018, get a income letter that's good for 6 months (covers annual visa renewals thru May 2019).
Open a Thai Bank Account and deposit the monthly required amount starting next month, Nov 2019 you'll have 12 months of deposits to meet requirement.
That leave those who renew their visas between Jun - Oct 2019 in a grey area. Assume they could renew their visa in May, along with opening bank account / depositing requirement next month.

Anyone in a position with contacts at Udon Immigration that can ask if this plan meets their requirements?
You will not get a definitive answer on this question at the moment.

At the moment the only definitive way to ensure your extension of stay after June next year is to have the lump sum in the bank. To repeat at the moment there is no definitive way of accepting deposits into a Thai bank for any amount to prove income.

If you get something in writing from the immigration office that is the only thing that you can trust, word-of-mouth is as valuable as the area used for it.
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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by tamada » October 27, 2018, 10:43 am

Mosquito wrote:
October 27, 2018, 2:55 am
...

understand what you're saying about TMB, but by asset ranking it's #5 and Bangkok Bank is #1. Already knew Bangkok Bank was #1, was just looking into peoples insight as i currently do not have a Thai bank account.

...
I've been with BB for ages and happy enough with their service. From various sources on this and other forums, Kasikorn also has a generally good rep. A few good words about Bank of Ayudhya also referred to as Krungsri (or simply the 'yellow bank' for those confused). Strangely enough, for it's size and ranking, I haven't seen too many foreigners crowing about SCB.

One thing I have observed, for it's ranking, BB may have the lowest density of ATM machines. This is nationally and not just in Udon and environs. Not a deciding factor for me but may be something if one is more dependent on them?

Another thing to note is the location of the bank branch holding your account. Head office or main branches are Mon-Fri 8.30-16.00 whereas the shopping mall and sub-branches are typically everyday 10.30-19.30. If one envisions needing some face-to-face customer service out of 'regular' banking hours, a mall branch may be better but keep in mind that outside of Bangkok and Pattaya, some mall-branches may be more reticent about allowing a foreigner to open a new account.

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Re: U.S. Embassy to stop providing income letters Jan 01, 2019

Post by semperfiguy » October 27, 2018, 2:22 pm

I have more than the equivalent of 800,000 Baht in a US Dollar Foreign Currency Fixed Deposit Account at Bangkok Bank. I can still access those funds at any time to convert to Thai Baht for my monthly expenses one month at a time and leave the balance untouched to protect the value of my US Dollars against exchange rate depreciations. Last June I asked an immigration officer in Udon if I could use that account for my "funds deposited" requirement and was told "no...just continue using the Income Affidavit to make it easier for them". From the way she answered me I could tell that she really didn't have a clue and wasn't interested in "thinking outside the box" from their norm.

Since the US Dollar exchange rate is down to 32.95 baht, were I to take my USD and change them now for the equivalent of 800,000 Baht, I would theoretically lose nearly 87,000 Baht given that I could leave my Dollars in my USD account and change them at a later date when the exchange rate gets back to it's most recent high of 36.50 Baht.

My question is.....has anyone out there ever used a Foreign Currency Savings or Fixed Deposit Account in a Thai bank to meet the requirements for a Retirement Extension of Stay? If Udon Immigration will accept that then my worries are over for now.
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