Income Letter

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Lone Star
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Re: Income Letter

Post by Lone Star » December 7, 2018, 9:35 am

Giggle wrote:
December 6, 2018, 10:23 pm
I don't understand why it has to be so difficult.

I have one bank in the US. I have one bank in Thailand. All my US income goes into my US bank. Once a year, I make a large single international transfer that will get me through the coming year. I pay one transfer fee (about $60) annually. Next year I will buy a new car, so I will likely make 2 transfers that year. Keep it simple.

I hear stories about people who survive on weekly or monthly ATM withdrawals from foreign banks or monthly transfers. These folks must get hammered in fees. They get wound up in chasing favorable exchange rates when they're bleeding out in bank fees.

I understand dollar-cost averaging and know that my single annual transfer might not come at the best time, but over a decade or two it will all average out. The worry and angst in dealing with availability and holidays and time zones is not worth the few hundred (or thousand) baht you might save in keeping your money abroad. If you intend on living here for a long time, open a Thai bank account, move 50 percent of your savings here, and never have to worry about exchange rates again. When you get poorer in one currency, you get richer in the other. This is a good example of when diversification has actual utility.

If it shits you that you get a crappy interest rate being a foreign account holder in a Thai bank, put your 800k into a joint account with your thai wife for 8 months and transfer it to a single account 4 months before visa extension -- then move it back. Personally, I can't be bothered for the few hundred baht difference. Don't make it harder than it needs to be.
Yes, there are easy ways to do it all.

I've been making free international ATM withdrawals from my US bank for over a decade. I've had thousands of US dollars wired to Thailand in baht for no more than $50 for each wire transfer. It didn't take a massive investigation for me to find these inexpensive instruments for transferring funds.

There is always a "cost of doing business" when one chooses to live in another country. It's just part of the drill.

I'm thankful that I don't have to spend 19,000 baht to pay for an intermediary with immigration (in places like Jomtien), but it's an example of people doing what they have to do to stay where they want to live. If it's worth it for anyone to live here, they do what they have to do.


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glalt
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Re: Income Letter

Post by glalt » December 7, 2018, 10:23 am

When I first moved over here, I used a Citibank ATM card for living expenses. There was no Thai bank fee and no Citibank fee at that time. I used an income letter from the US Embassy. The immigration officer didn't like the income letter. He looked me in the eye and said that people lie. I quit using the US ATM card when they started adding fees, The Thai bank with their 150 baht fee and Citibank with a three percent fee. I finally bit the bullet and deposited the 800,000 baht in my Thai bank.

Even then I had problems. Since I wasn't touching the 800,000 baht, the immigration officer asked me where I was working. He wanted to know how I was living without using money from the 800,'000 bank account. Fortunately I could prove where I was getting my living expenses, I had another Thai bank account. Since then I use money from the 800,000 account during the year and top it up with a wire transfer three months before my extension expires.

In my opinion, if an expat can't afford to have 800,000 in a Thai bank, he can't afford to live here. Without that money in your account, what would you do if you had a major medical problem. Medical care here is much cheaper than back home but it can still cost a substantial amount of money.

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Lone Star
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Re: Income Letter

Post by Lone Star » December 7, 2018, 10:36 am

glalt wrote:
December 7, 2018, 10:23 am
When I first moved over here, I used a Citibank ATM card for living expenses. There was no Thai bank fee and no Citibank fee at that time. I used an income letter from the US Embassy. The immigration officer didn't like the income letter. He looked me in the eye and said that people lie. I quit using the US ATM card when they started adding fees, The Thai bank with their 150 baht fee and Citibank with a three percent fee. I finally bit the bullet and deposited the 800,000 baht in my Thai bank.
From conversations with expats here, that is a common progression. With the extinction of the income letter, I'll be forced to go the Thai bank account route too. But not a problem. Just different.
Even then I had problems. Since I wasn't touching the 800,000 baht, the immigration officer asked me where I was working. He wanted to know how I was living without using money from the 800,'000 bank account. Fortunately I could prove where I was getting my living expenses, I had another Thai bank account. Since then I use money from the 800,000 account during the year and top it up with a wire transfer three months before my extension expires.
That's pretty weird for them to be concerned about how you're living. The 800,000 is either there or it isn't. 555 But the IO always has the final scrutiny. Probably an anal IO. 555

If I was confronted with this, I'd be able to prove my income and living expenses, too. My plan in the future will be to just rotate funds in and out of the account every month to eliminate this kind of goofy scrutiny. Not a problem. Just a different hoop.
In my opinion, if an expat can't afford to have 800,000 in a Thai bank, he can't afford to live here. Without that money in your account, what would you do if you had a major medical problem. Medical care here is much cheaper than back home but it can still cost a substantial amount of money.
Gotta agree. Without it, an expat would have to be depending on lots of luck and dumb luck.
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Re: Income Letter

Post by RLTrader » December 7, 2018, 3:03 pm

RLTrader wrote:
December 6, 2018, 9:52 pm

To do this we need to obtain information as described below to the relevant US government agency to your transactions in the IAT format.
Well what a waste of time this has been.
They cannot tell me how it is being sent or if IAT format or Not. I said that the info Must be in their computer system somewhere, she didn't think so. Best advice they could give me was as above with a slight change, below


To do this you need to obtain information as described and provide it to the relevant US government agency for your transactions to be in the IAT format.
So best way to save time on this matter is call SSA in Baltimore.

Might just wait for April to come and see what happens.

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Re: Income Letter

Post by semperfiguy » December 7, 2018, 4:06 pm

RLTrader wrote:
December 7, 2018, 3:03 pm
RLTrader wrote:
December 6, 2018, 9:52 pm

To do this we need to obtain information as described below to the relevant US government agency to your transactions in the IAT format.
Well what a waste of time this has been.
They cannot tell me how it is being sent or if IAT format or Not. I said that the info Must be in their computer system somewhere, she didn't think so. Best advice they could give me was as above with a slight change, below


To do this you need to obtain information as described and provide it to the relevant US government agency for your transactions to be in the IAT format.
So best way to save time on this matter is call SSA in Baltimore.

Might just wait for April to come and see what happens.
RLTrader, I had the same problem when reading that sentence above from the notification off the BKB, NY's website. Their translation is horrible and it makes no sense the way the sentence is worded and this only adds to the confusion. I even wrote them an email just two hours ago before you even posted; however, I have phrased it a different way to them to ask for their clarification.

The context of the entire paragraph is BKB, NY talking about what they need, and what they need is certain information from the relevant US government agency in order to process the transfer as an IAT. In other words we have to get that information to the government and the government must pass that on when they request the direct deposit transfer. So, perhaps it is better worded like this:

To do this we need to obtain information as described below from the relevant US government agency for your transactions to be in the IAT format.

Now it makes more sense. I will post as soon as I hear back from Bangkok Bank. What I suspect is they will tell us to go into the Udon branch banks and fill out a new direct deposit request form and add all the information they have requested, then have the bank's representative send it off to New York to be sent into US Social Security and start the process all over again. Once the form contains all the pertinent information it will manually be coded as an IAT transaction by staff in the transfer department in NY when the transfer is requested by the US government.
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Re: Income Letter

Post by mak » December 7, 2018, 4:27 pm

If the form is filled out correctly the Direct Deposit will come in the correct format, i.e. IAT. The problem arises in Section 3 of the form. It should have your local branch office's address. Some BBL staff insert the BBL NY address, which causes SSA to interpret that as a domestic transfer and SSA sends it in the ACH format.
The US Embassy has been working on this and as of Nov. 18, 2018, Thailand has been added to the IDD (International Direct Deposit) list. This means you can have your US government pensions sent to any bank in Thailand, not just BBL.

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Re: Income Letter

Post by RLTrader » December 7, 2018, 4:47 pm

semperfiguy wrote:
December 7, 2018, 4:06 pm
RLTrader wrote:
December 7, 2018, 3:03 pm
RLTrader wrote:
December 6, 2018, 9:52 pm

To do this we need to obtain information as described below to the relevant US government agency to your transactions in the IAT format.
Well what a waste of time this has been.
They cannot tell me how it is being sent or if IAT format or Not. I said that the info Must be in their computer system somewhere, she didn't think so. Best advice they could give me was as above with a slight change, below


To do this you need to obtain information as described and provide it to the relevant US government agency for your transactions to be in the IAT format.
So best way to save time on this matter is call SSA in Baltimore.

Might just wait for April to come and see what happens.
RLTrader, I had the same problem when reading that sentence above from the notification off the BKB, NY's website. Their translation is horrible and it makes no sense the way the sentence is worded and this only adds to the confusion. I even wrote them an email just two hours ago before you even posted; however, I have phrased it a different way to them to ask for their clarification.

The context of the entire paragraph is BKB, NY talking about what they need, and what they need is certain information from the relevant US government agency in order to process the transfer as an IAT. In other words we have to get that information to the government and the government must pass that on when they request the direct deposit transfer. So, perhaps it is better worded like this:

To do this we need to obtain information as described below from the relevant US government agency for your transactions to be in the IAT format.

Now it makes more sense. I will post as soon as I hear back from Bangkok Bank. What I suspect is they will tell us to go into the Udon branch banks and fill out a new direct deposit request form and add all the information they have requested, then have the bank's representative send it off to New York to be sent into US Social Security and start the process all over again. Once the form contains all the pertinent information it will manually be coded as an IAT transaction by staff in the transfer department in NY when the transfer is requested by the US government.


The Problem I have is that SSA already has this info, for I get (snail) mail here from them now, and because the funds now work fine they must have the other info. This is all US BS
I expect it to continue working in April, my main grip is that BB can't tell me how it gets here now. Guess they think, magic
.

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Jello
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Re: Income Letter

Post by Jello » December 7, 2018, 9:22 pm

Hunter58 wrote:
December 5, 2018, 1:34 pm
For information.
I renewed my retirement visa last week. This is my fifth year renewal.
I use the 800k in account option.
Each time I get my bank book updated and the bank letter on the day prior to application.
I stop at ATM on morning of application and get balance slip.

No issues with application at Immigration.
In and out in 15 minutes.
Thanks for the report Hunter.

I've only used the embassy income letter up to this point and some details would be helpful.
Could you (or someone who has used the bank letter) explain how one goes about getting a bank letter?

-Who at the bank do you request it from? Will any teller know what it is?
-What's it actually called? (I'm guessing the letter is not titled "bank letter").
-What's on the letter? All transactions over the past year or just the account balance on the date of the letter?
-Is it notarized with some official seal?
-How much does it cost?
-How long did it take to get it?

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Re: Income Letter

Post by sometimewoodworker » December 8, 2018, 6:51 am

Jello wrote:
December 7, 2018, 9:22 pm
Hunter58 wrote:
December 5, 2018, 1:34 pm
For information.
I renewed my retirement visa last week. This is my fifth year renewal.
I use the 800k in account option.
Each time I get my bank book updated and the bank letter on the day prior to application.
I stop at ATM on morning of application and get balance slip.

No issues with application at Immigration.
In and out in 15 minutes.
Thanks for the report Hunter.

I've only used the embassy income letter up to this point and some details would be helpful.
Could you (or someone who has used the bank letter) explain how one goes about getting a bank letter?

-Who at the bank do you request it from? Will any teller know what it is?
-What's it actually called? (I'm guessing the letter is not titled "bank letter").
-What's on the letter? All transactions over the past year or just the account balance on the date of the letter?
-Is it notarized with some official seal?
-How much does it cost?
-How long did it take to get it?
Assuming you have an account in a branch near immigration just ask in English fo a letter for immigration, they all know what you need.
It isn't the tellers but the customer assistance people who do it. Easy way to be sure is take in the immigration leaflet and point to the Thai information section, I've got the marriage one but not the retirement one so that probably won't help you.
There are 2 documents, 1 a letter confirming the current balance and that it hasn't dropped under the limit (800k or 400k) I'm gassing that as it is in Thai and signed by a bank official, the other is a list of transactions, basically a duplication of the entries in your pass book. It is all on bank stationary or printed with their information.
Cost is 100 Baht each.
Once you see one of the officers somewhere between 4 & 10 minutes, so it depends on how busy the branch is.

Don't forget you also need copies of your current passbook, all transactions and account information page.

PS I've just looked at the letter and I don't think that it gives a balance I think it is a confirmation of the account details.
Last edited by sometimewoodworker on December 8, 2018, 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lone Star
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Re: Income Letter

Post by Lone Star » December 8, 2018, 6:55 am

sometimewoodworker wrote:
December 8, 2018, 6:51 am

Assuming you have an account in a branch near immigration just ask in English fo a letter for immigration, they all know what you need.
It isn't the tellers but the customer assistance people who do it. Easy way to be sure is take in the immigration leaflet and point to the Thai information section, I've got the marriage one but not the retirement one so that probably won't help you.
There are 2 documents, 1 a letter confirming the current balance and that it hasn't dropped under the limit (800k or 400k) I'm gassing that as it is in Thai and signed by a bank official, the other is a list of transactions, basically a duplication of the entries in your pass book. It is all on bank stationary or printed with their information.
Cost is 100 Baht each.
Once you see one of the officers somewhere between 4 & 10 minutes, so it depends on how busy the branch is.

Don't forget you also need copies of your current passbook, all transactions and account information page.
Very helpful. Thanks!
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Re: Income Letter

Post by minimiglia » December 9, 2018, 8:01 am

That only applies for the 400000 or 800000 deposit, not income.

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Re: Income Letter

Post by sometimewoodworker » December 9, 2018, 8:36 am

minimiglia wrote:
December 9, 2018, 8:01 am
That only applies for the 400000 or 800000 deposit, not income.
I did mention that in the information posted in reply to the question asked.

To date nobody has succeeded in using the income option in Udon without an embassy document , or they have kept it secret, so a bank letter is of no help unless you have the deposit
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Re: Income Letter

Post by vidmaster » December 15, 2018, 6:17 pm

Does anyone with foreign currency in an FCD Account in a Thai bank( Bangkok Bank in my case) equivalent to 800,000 baht get accepted by Udon Immigration for Non Immigrant ‘O’ renewal?
Thanks

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Re: Income Letter

Post by sometimewoodworker » December 15, 2018, 7:13 pm

vidmaster wrote:
December 15, 2018, 6:17 pm
Does anyone with foreign currency in an FCD Account in a Thai bank( Bangkok Bank in my case) equivalent to 800,000 baht get accepted by Udon Immigration for Non Immigrant ‘O’ renewal?
Thanks
That should be acceptable as long as you have instant access to the money and it will have to be quite a bit more than 800k Baht equivalent as the exchange rate is variable and it is immigration who decided what exchange rate to use.

It has certainly been accepted by some offices though to be sure I recommend popping in and asking.

I would recommend over $25,000 or over £20,000 as a figure that is unlikely to drop under the needed amount.
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Re: Income Letter

Post by Stantheman » December 16, 2018, 8:55 pm

With income letter on the way out I have a question about the 400k baht option for marriage permission to stay. Since the account can not be a joint account has anyone know of an expat who used this option and passed away, then the surviving spouse not being able to get to the funds?

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Re: Income Letter

Post by semperfiguy » December 16, 2018, 9:13 pm

Stantheman wrote:
December 16, 2018, 8:55 pm
With income letter on the way out I have a question about the 400k baht option for marriage permission to stay. Since the account can not be a joint account has anyone know of an expat who used this option and passed away, then the surviving spouse not being able to get to the funds?
Simple solution....the staff at my bank, one in Udon and the other at the headquarters in BKK, point blank told me to set up a power-of-attorney (their standard form) for the spouse, then if you croak she can use your ATM card to withdraw the money daily until the account is emptied, or walk right in the bank and do a teller withdrawal or transfer to an account of her choosing by teller or ATM machine. I was told they will never know you have died unless you tell them, so tell your spouse to empty the account and it will automatically close after one year with no activity. Done and dusted! If you don't trust the wife while you are still alive, then keep the passbook and ATM card in a safe place away from her and only reveal the PIN number with instructions that you have locked away to be viewed only at the time of your death.
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Re: Income Letter

Post by semperfiguy » December 16, 2018, 9:18 pm

sometimewoodworker wrote:
December 15, 2018, 7:13 pm
vidmaster wrote:
December 15, 2018, 6:17 pm
Does anyone with foreign currency in an FCD Account in a Thai bank( Bangkok Bank in my case) equivalent to 800,000 baht get accepted by Udon Immigration for Non Immigrant ‘O’ renewal?
Thanks
That should be acceptable as long as you have instant access to the money and it will have to be quite a bit more than 800k Baht equivalent as the exchange rate is variable and it is immigration who decided what exchange rate to use.

It has certainly been accepted by some offices though to be sure I recommend popping in and asking.

I would recommend over $25,000 or over £20,000 as a figure that is unlikely to drop under the needed amount.
I asked in Udon Thani last June about using a US$ FCD Fixed Deposit account to which I have instant access and was told emphatically "NO". If I had asked 4 other officers I would probably have gotten 4 different answers from them. If it's the least bit complicated and they have to "think outside the box", then forget it. I too am looking for confirmation on this from someone who has experienced it first hand. That's the route that I need to take this year.
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Re: Income Letter

Post by sometimewoodworker » December 16, 2018, 9:44 pm

semperfiguy wrote:
December 16, 2018, 9:18 pm
I asked in Udon Thani last June about using a US$ FCD Fixed Deposit account to which I have instant access and was told emphatically "NO". If I had asked 4 other officers I would probably have gotten 4 different answers from them. If it's the least bit complicated and they have to "think outside the box", then forget it. I too am looking for confirmation on this from someone who has experienced it first hand. That's the route that I need to take this year.
Well you seem to have your answer and from the only source that matters. So unless you want to try to get a different answer from the boss.

You will just have to bite the bullet and exchange the required US$ into Baht.
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Re: Income Letter

Post by saint » December 17, 2018, 5:59 am

semperfiguy wrote:
December 16, 2018, 9:13 pm
Stantheman wrote:
December 16, 2018, 8:55 pm
With income letter on the way out I have a question about the 400k baht option for marriage permission to stay. Since the account can not be a joint account has anyone know of an expat who used this option and passed away, then the surviving spouse not being able to get to the funds?
Simple solution....the staff at my bank, one in Udon and the other at the headquarters in BKK, point blank told me to set up a power-of-attorney (their standard form) for the spouse, then if you croak she can use your ATM card to withdraw the money daily until the account is emptied, or walk right in the bank and do a teller withdrawal or transfer to an account of her choosing by teller or ATM machine. I was told they will never know you have died unless you tell them, so tell your spouse to empty the account and it will automatically close after one year with no activity. Done and dusted! If you don't trust the wife while you are still alive, then keep the passbook and ATM card in a safe place away from her and only reveal the PIN number with instructions that you have locked away to be viewed only at the time of your death.
If you cant trust your wife why would you still be married ?
I know im a little slow sometimes , but seriously how can you live and sleep with someone you do not trust . Thats just plain denial.

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Re: Income Letter

Post by Wee Jimmy » December 17, 2018, 7:30 am

About 3 years ago a freind died leaving a considerable sum of money in a Thai bank. Wife had to get a lawyer to represent her in court to retrieve the money. The lawyer took 5% fee and it took 8 month before she got the money.
Power of attorney is the best way to go. This is what I've done with the Bangkok Bank.

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