Visa With 800,000 Baht

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2lz2p
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Re: Visa With 800,000 Baht

Post by 2lz2p »

Dodger wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:23 pm
Gaybutton wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:08 pm
That is correct, but that is not what happened.
I can see exactly what's happening, but it really shouldn't matter. Your Bangkok Bank's information system will show a) where your transfer originated, b) where it got received in Thailand (possibly a transfer point such as Kasikorn, maybe another bank), c) final destination (Bangkok Bank). The bank can see all of this information. When you make your annual visit to get the Bank Letter - just make sure to tell the clerk you need a list of the last 12 months of foreign transfers which were entered in your Bangkok Bank account. The clerk will have no problem doing this. And this is all Immigration needs to see.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Last July when for some reason Transferwise (TW) sent almost all if not all transfers at the beginning of the month designated for Bangkok Bank Accounts to their other partner bank, Kasikorn. Kasikorn then transferred the money on to Bangkok Bank for deposit to their designated account.

Bangkok Bank recorded these transfers as domestic because they came from another Thai bank (Kasikorn) and they had no way of knowing the original source. Kasikorn bank did have a record of the source. I know some folks that had this happen went to Bangkok Bank and were told "no" they would not list the deposit as being from a foreign source in a letter to Thai Immigration.

In my case, I contacted TW and they said they would note on my customer account to send my transfers direct to Bangkok Bank, but they couldn't guarantee that would happen 100% of the time -- said something about sometimes having technical issues which would prevent a timely transfer to meet their stated date funds would arrive. I then sent another transfer > 65k which did go direct to my Bangkok Bank account - thus I would be able to show a foreign source deposit for that month.

There was a lot of postings on message boards at the time by other folks who like me and GB had the transfer show up as domestic. For those that didn't have funds to do a 2nd transfer as I did, they were told by TW to go to Kasikorn Bank to get a document to show the actual source of the transfer.

TW provides a receipt which can be downloaded that shows the account funds are being transferred to and the partner bank the funds were sent to at the bottom. However, it is very "iffy" that Thai Immigration would accept the TW receipt as evidence it was from a foreign source.

Apparently, because of all the flack TW received over sending the July transfers through Kasikorn with folks saying it wouldn't meet Thai Immigration rules for those on long stay in Thailand, TW added "Long Stay" in Thailand to the choices for designating the purpose of the transfer. Which they apparently automated their system to send it direct -- of course that doesn't help folks that use a Thai bank other than one of TW's partner banks, because those transfers will still show up as domestic because they are routed through their partner bank.

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Re: Visa With 800,000 Baht

Post by Dodger »

Gaybutton wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:24 pm
If the bank traces the money back to its actual origin and includes that in the documents to show immigration, then problem solved - assuming a problem actually existed in the first place.

When I went to Bangkok Bank to get the Letter last year, I had already marked each foreign deposit in my bank passbook with a yellow highlighter. This really wasn't necessary, but I just wanted to mistake-proof this thing and keep it simple for the bank clerk. The Letter the clerk handed me didn't even show any "codes" next to the deposit entries, thus the reason for my remark earlier, that Immigration isn't concerned with the codes.

All banks (even in Sweden) are mandated to maintain traceability of all financial transactions to their point of origin.

Hopefully they'll stop throwing us curve balls, and just let us enjoy the life we came here to enjoy. Just give us your smiling sons and stick all this paperwork up your asses.

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Re: Visa With 800,000 Baht

Post by Gaybutton »

2lz2p wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:40 pm
Bangkok Bank recorded these transfers as domestic because they came from another Thai bank (Kasikorn) and they had no way of knowing the original source. Kasikorn bank did have a record of the source. I know some folks that had this happen went to Bangkok Bank and were told "no" they would not list the deposit as being from a foreign source in a letter to Thai Immigration.
Because of all this rigmarole, that's why I'm going to stick to the 800,000 baht method until the 65,000 baht method is in place for at least 3 years, without all these needless problems, before I'll even think about trying to transition to the 65,000 baht per month method.


Dodger wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:54 pm
Hopefully they'll stop throwing us curve balls, and just let us enjoy the life we came here to enjoy.
Amen to that!

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Re: Visa With 800,000 Baht

Post by Dodger »

2lz2p wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:40 pm
Bangkok Bank recorded these transfers as domestic because they came from another Thai bank (Kasikorn) and they had no way of knowing the original source.
All banks are mandated by law to maintain traceability of all financial transactions to their point of origin.

If the clerks you're friends were dealing with told them they no idea where the transaction originated, and refused to print the lists they were requesting, they should have asked to speak the bank manager to get this resolved. But I understand, that you're dealing with second-hand information which isn't always correct.

This is the same sort of problem that crops up when farang are dealing with immigration clerks. Some haven't the foggiest idea what you're talking about, some simply don't care, and if they weren't directly instructed to perform the type of transaction that's being asked of them, they simply won't do it. This is just the way it works in Thailand.

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Re: Visa With 800,000 Baht

Post by 2lz2p »

Dodger wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:09 pm
2lz2p wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:40 pm
Bangkok Bank recorded these transfers as domestic because they came from another Thai bank (Kasikorn) and they had no way of knowing the original source.
All banks are mandated by law to maintain traceability of all financial transactions to their point of origin.
What law? Is it a Thai law? Too many people from Western countries seem to think that because something is the law where they come from and in many western countries, it also applies to Thailand, which is not the case. Thailand has their own laws - while many are similar to laws in other countries, others are Thailand specific. That said, I do not doubt that Thai law does require financial transactions be traceable at least to the foreign source, but I do not think it requires the receiving bank to have a complete record going back to the foreign source. Likewise, I doubt even banks in Western countries are required by law to have such records, but rather only to show where they received the funds from and that source would then be required to show its source, etc. until it shows the originating account.

As to secondhand information, true - but, the person who informed me of the event was giving me first hand information. Also, while it may be that Thai banks can ultimately trace the source of funds deposited to an account, it may require specific investigation rather than be something readily available. The majority of Bangkok Bank Branches in Pattaya cannot even give you information regarding deposits or bank statements more than 6 months old - to get more than that, they have to send the request to their Bangkok HQ to receive the information.

When I renewed my extension last June, I went to the Bangkok Bank Counter in Tesco Lotus South and asked for certified bank statements for the preceding 12 months - I had to wait 7 days for them to obtain the statements from Bangkok. When I went to Thai Immigration to do the renewal, they would not accept the certified statements. Instead, they wanted a letter from the Bank listing all foreign deposits for the preceding 12 months. The IO gave me a sample of the letter they wanted and told me to go to the Branch where I opened my account as no other branch could give me the full 12 months.

My Branch did provide the letter, but first printed out individual credit advices (an internal document they use to identify the source of foreign deposits) for each deposit. From those printouts, they prepared the letter for Immigration and as mentioned it made no reference to any code, FTT or otherwise. It showed only the date and the amount (two columns, one for baht and the other for foreign currency amount - in my case my earlier deposits were through Bangkok Bank NY branch in US$, so for those deposits, there were amounts listed under both columns - my later transfers were in baht through Transferwise, so only the baht amount was listed).

IMO, it is more likely that Bangkok Bank records for the TW transfers that went through Kasikorn as domestic, will only show the date, time, and source (Kasikorn Bank), and probably a reference code. It would be Kasikorn Bank that has the record of the foreign source of the funds that TW transferred for subsequent transfer to Bangkok Bank. So, the source is traceable, it would take records from both banks to show the complete transaction history, which I surmise is what Thai banking laws probably require.

I doubt Bangkok Bank clerks/officials would be willing (or even capable of doing if at a Branch bank) to undertake to complete a letter for Immigration. Thus, as the first hand report I received, mentioned, the Branch clerks where they inquired would not certify to Immigration a deposit was from a foreign source.

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Re: Visa With 800,000 Baht

Post by Gaybutton »

2lz2p wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:00 am
I doubt Bangkok Bank clerks/officials would be willing (or even capable of doing if at a Branch bank) to undertake to complete a letter for Immigration. Thus, as the first hand report I received, mentioned, the Branch clerks where they inquired would not certify to Immigration a deposit was from a foreign source.
That's yet another reason why I am sticking with the 800,000 baht method. Immigration makes it too complicated for getting the information they require. It would be nice if they change their requirements and make it a little easier for us, but I'm not holding my breath. It would also be nice if the banks figure out that immigration requires this information and farang retirees are going to need this information. Why can't they make it simple to get instead of having to jump through hoops and then wait days for it?

Another thing on my "I Don't Get It" list - for the 65,000 baht per month method, you have to prove the money came each month from a foreign source, so that they know you aren't working illegally in Thailand. Of course, how many aging retirees do they think are working at all, let alone illegally? Even when you prove to their satisfaction that the money comes from a foreign source, how do they know you aren't still working illegally anyway in Thailand in addition to that? Their policy makes zero sense to me.

I remember for a little while they were arresting some foreign volunteers trying to help after the tsunami. Why? Because they didn't have a work permit. Whose bright idea was that?

On the other hand, for the 800,000 baht method all you have to do is simply prove you have it. You don't have to prove it ever came from a foreign source. Immigration doesn't seem to care whether it came from a foreign source or where and how you got it in the first place.

All of this is on my "I Don't Get It" list. If those reading this get it, my congratulations . . .

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Re: Visa With 800,000 Baht

Post by Dodger »

2lz2p wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:00 am

When I renewed my extension last June, I went to the Bangkok Bank Counter in Tesco Lotus South and asked for certified bank statements for the preceding 12 months - I had to wait 7 days for them to obtain the statements from Bangkok. When I went to Thai Immigration to do the renewal, they would not accept the certified statements. Instead, they wanted a letter from the Bank listing all foreign deposits for the preceding 12 months. The IO gave me a sample of the letter they wanted and told me to go to the Branch where I opened my account as no other branch could give me the full 12 months.

My Branch did provide the letter, but first printed out individual credit advices (an internal document they use to identify the source of foreign deposits) for each deposit. From those printouts, they prepared the letter for Immigration and as mentioned it made no reference to any code, FTT or otherwise. It showed only the date and the amount (two columns, one for baht and the other for foreign currency amount - in my case my earlier deposits were through Bangkok Bank NY branch in US$, so for those deposits, there were amounts listed under both columns - my later transfers were in baht through Transferwise, so only the baht amount was listed).
Immigration only wants to see a list of 12 consecutive foreign deposits of +65k, which you now know, was the reason you were turned down on your first renewal attempt.

Small satellite bank branches should probably not be used for obtaining Bank Letters and Credit Advices, thus the reason you had to wait 7 days (instead of 10 minutes) to get your Bank Letter. Suggest only using main branches, preferably in a major city.

All Banks, including all Thai banks, use SWIFT, which is an international messaging network that banks use to securely send information, like money transfer requests, between one another. When you request an international wire transfer (including TransferWise), that request is processed at your bank, then sent to, usually, 1-3 banks within overlapping SWIFT networks with your bank, before finally arriving at the destination bank. If the last bank in the transfer is located in Thailand, then the transfer to your bank in Thailand is coded as "Domestic" versus "International, which you already know. The use of the SWIFT Code System is Standardized Internationally and mandatory for all international money transfers.

The Credit Advice Report you get from your bank is also required by Immigration. This Report includes details of each foreign deposit that you requested to have listed on the Bank Letter, including an FRN (Federal Reference Number), which is an unique identifier for each foreign transfer processed in SWIFT. The bank clerk, or bank manager (if the clerk has not been trained properly), should be able to substantiate that the 12 monthly foreign deposits shown on your Letter were in fact foreign transfers. This is the one and only reason that I can think of why Immigration requests these Credit Advice Reports to accompany the Bank Letter for their review.

If it were me using a service like TransferWise, and believe me when I say I would never consider it, I would highlight (yellow marker) the foreign deposit entries in my Bank Passbook and ask the bank clerk to print the corresponding Credit Advice Reports for these 12 highlighted deposits in my book, and then, as step two, I would ask the clerk to provide me with a letter certifying that these 12 entries are in fact foreign transfers. If the clerk was unable to interpret the numbers/codes on the Credit Advices (which appears to sometimes be the case), I would ask to speak with the manager to get this resolved.

Honestly, I would never want to deal with this confusion and hassle, even if it is costing me a few more bucks on my money transfers.

Also, just to clarify, I'm not questioning the credibility or accuracy of the information you received from your friends one bit. I know everyone using TransferWise is having the same problems. Right now, you and I probably know more about international money transfers, codes, numbers, etc., than any of the IO's that we're forced to deal with...which actually gets us nowhere.

Bottom Line: TransferWise is not a good fit for Thailand. Direct international deposits are the only way to go.

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Re: Visa With 800,000 Baht

Post by Jun »

Thank you for your post. It's interesting to read what I would have to cope with if retiring permanently to Thailand.

Dodger wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:11 pm
Bottom Line: TransferWise is not a good fit for Thailand. Direct international deposits are the only way to go.
Regarding bank transfers, for anyone who likes to maintain a cash buffer somewhere, I presume the combination of low-cost Transferwise transfers and 800,000 baht earning a low interest rate for 3 (or 12) months still works out cheaper than high cost bank transfers.

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Re: Visa With 800,000 Baht

Post by windwalker »

Dodger wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:11 pm

Bottom Line: TransferWise is not a good fit for Thailand. Direct international deposits are the only way to go.
For me Transferwise works quite well. I don't know how I could possibly send direct international deposits.

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Re: Visa With 800,000 Baht

Post by Gaybutton »

windwalker wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:18 pm
For me Transferwise works quite well. I don't know how I could possibly send direct international deposits.
To the best of my knowledge, for Americans the only way to direct deposit into a Thai bank account without use of TransferWise is via the IAT format. Your money source would have to be willing to use the IAT format. For example, my retirement income source refuses to use the IAT format for direct deposits, so what choice did I have, in order to receive my money via direct deposit, other than using TransferWise?

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