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About skatewash

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  1. Then either the online registration process doesn't require that data (unlike the printed TM 30 form) or the hotel isn't doing reporting for that guest.
  2. I don't see how a Driver's License would suffice for check-in at a hotel since it doesn't contain by itself the necessary information for the hotel to file a TM 30 for the guest. The Driver's License lacks the following data for a TM 30 filing: nationality, date of arrival (in the country), type of visa, expiration date of stay, point of entry, and arrival card #. All of that information can be determined from your passport (and arrival card), but not from your Thai Driver's License, which provides only your name and (usually) your passport number as the driver's license number.
  3. Not only do they change, but the direction of change is very clear: toward greater regulation and stricter enforcement. A "no, we don't care if you reside outside the US" is likely to change to a "yes, we can't afford to have non-resident customers" in the future,
  4. Asking those questions of your current US financial institutions is a good way to cause the problems he should be trying to avoid. In my opinion the best policy is "don't ask, don't tell."
  5. You can read more about the "fictional" Safeguard program here (although it's not likely to be happening because you haven't heard about it): sub page/frequently-asked-questions
  6. Circumstances change, intentions change. The knowledge of what it takes to undo one's present intentions should one's circumstances change is potentially useful, especially if as in this case it is much more difficult to transfer money out of Thailand than it is to transfer money in. Internet banking is the quickest and easiest way of transferring money into Thailand, but wouldn't you want to know that it's not as quick or easy to go in the other direction? I know I would. One of the benefits of reading these fora is to learn things I don't know. I assume other people benefit in similar ways.
  7. For someone looking to transfer money into Thailand it might be reasonable to consider how that money might be transferred out again. It might even be advisable to consider this before one transfers the money into Thailand rather than after the fact.
  8. In theory the Foreign Exchange Transaction forms (and equivalents) that you are issued when you bring money into Thailand for a real estate purchase allow you to easily repatriate such money when you wish to do so at any Thai bank you wish to use. At least that is my understanding. I haven't tried to do that so I can't speak from personal experience. I was aware that unless you had documentation like the FET or similar that you would have a difficult time transferring funds out of Thailand. I guess someone can also repatriate earnings from working in Thailand with the appropriate work permit and tax documents. In general the implementation of Bank of Thailand anti-money laundering regulations make it difficult to transfer money out of Thailand without proving where it came from, while transferring money into Thailand is more or less unrestricted.
  9. They're all easy to deal with as long as they don't know you are overseas ;-) If they don't know, they can't do anything bad to you. Also, be aware that financial institutions who in the past never had any problems with non-resident customers now suddenly have problems. By the way, the reason they do these bad things (account closure, account restrictions, etc.) is that they are basically trying to cover their behinds in regard to government enforcement of financial regulations. As the government enforcement gets worse financial institutions create new policies to comply and sometimes the easiest thing for them to do is to get rid of their overseas customers. There are also regulations under which US companies are not allowed to sell securities and mutual funds to customers who live overseas. So if a company finds out you live overseas they may impose restrictions on your ability to trade in these securities. They may let you keep your account, but you will be unable to purchase new securities in that account. In other words, the account has suddenly gotten a whole lot less desirable. Sometimes, a company like Schwab will try to get you to give up your US account and push you into an "International" account (which is much less favorable in terms of cost and options available). If they don't know you live overseas, they won't do this. It's understandable to want to consolidate your financial affairs when going overseas. It even makes sense as when you consolidate you may qualify for a higher level of service or lower maintenance fees at your remaining financial institutions. But, there's something to be said for not putting all your eggs in one basket. All my eggs are in one basket, so to speak, in that I have 99% of my portfolio at Vanguard. Vanguard is a really good company and I'm happy to be a customer, but I do worry about what would happen if I had to close that account. It's very difficult to open a US financial account if you don't reside in the US. Given that, you might want to hang onto your existing financial accounts, or at least continue to have more than just a single financial account. Diversity is a good form of risk mitigation. You'll need to maintain a US address. People sometimes use the address of a friend or relative whom they trust as their US address. It's easier for an existing customer to change his address than it is to establish an address when opening a new account. Even if you instruct your financial institution to do all their correspondence with you via electronic means there is still the possibility of them sending you regular mail. 99% of my correspondence with Vanguard is electronic but they still end up sending me 1 or 2 pieces of mail every year to my US address. Possibly this is a legal requirement. I don't know. For this purpose I have a US address provided by a mail forwarding service. I happen to use Traveling Mailbox (review: but there are many other companies that provide similar services. Also, good to maintain a US phone number, for example, MagicJack or Skype for use when calling parties in the US. Once nice thing in Schwab's favor is that if you open a checking account there in addition to a regular brokerage account you get an ATM Debit Card that can be used in Thailand and for which Schwab will reimburse you any and all expenses (without limitation) for using the ATM in Thailand. As you know, an ATM withdrawal in Thailand incurs a 180-200 Baht fee. Schwab will reimburse you when you are charged this type of fee. A small thing, perhaps, but very nice just the same. It's definitely a smart move to rollover all your 401(k) and similar retirement accounts from your employer to an independent brokerage account (ETrade, Schwab, Vanguard, etc.). Often employer plans are not the best in terms of fees charged and options provided and even in services rendered. You are much better off in your own account at your own brokerage. Best wishes in your future endeavors!
  10. Both good points. Vanguard allows unlimited free ACH transfers, but both my bank and credit union either limit the amount and/or impose transaction fees to do the ACH. I never interact with any US financial institution online without using a VPN set to look like I'm in the US. I use the free Hola VPN for this purpose. I understand there is a free VPN built into the Opera browser, but I haven't used it yet. If I contact any US financial institution by phone (which I almost never do) it's always via my US VOIP phone number (MagicJack). I even have to send by mail a form to my US IRA custodian every year to accomplish a recharacterization of my traditional to Roth IRA conversion. The form must be sent by mail, it cannot be done online or by phone. I put my letter to Vanguard in a stamped envelope that I enclose in another envelope which I send to a friend in the US. They open the big envelope and pop the small envelope in the mail. I simply don't want any of my correspondence to Vanguard marked as coming from outside the US. This probably strikes some as paranoia, but I realize that if Vanguard finds out that I reside outside the US bad consequences will follow: forced account closure, restrictions on trading US stocks and mutual funds, etc. Nothing good comes from your US financial institution finding out that you live outside the US.
  11. Yes, seems like a giant pain in the neck to me. Probably by design. Granted probably not many people do this, but that's no excuse for making it so difficult by not providing clear information on exactly how to do this. I've searched online for this information and not found anything useful. One might be forgiven for thinking that the US Government is trying to discourage people from taking cash out of the country.
  12. This is my recommendation for bringing money from the US to Thailand: I have done this many times both for my annual retirement extensions and to purchase a condo. I've never had any problem. You can sign up for SMS notification which will let you know the moment the money hits your Bangkok Bank branch in Thailand. If you're lucky you may be able to do the online ACH transfer to Bangkok Bank's NYC branch for free (it's up to your financial institution if they allow free domestic ACH transfers). Two or three days later the money is in my Bangkok Bank account in Thailand. Bangkok Bank charges a fee that is taken out of your transfer as it passes through the NYC branch. You are also assessed a standard fee when the money reaches your Bangkok Bank branch in Thailand. Both of these fees are minimal as stated at the link referenced above. There is a one-time-only setup needed, from then on it's as easy as clicking online and waiting to receive your SMS telling you the money is in your branch bank in Thailand. No US government forms need to be filled out. The amount of money that can be transferred in this manner is unlimited. However, be aware that if you transfer more than $50,000 into Thailand a Foreign Exchange Transaction report will be made by your Thai bank. Also, if you are purchasing a condo you will want your bank to issue a document indicating that the money was brought into Thailand for the purpose of purchasing property (this can be a FET or similar). Also, realize that having $10,000 or more in a foreign financial institution will trigger the need to file an annual FBAR report to the FinCEN of the US Treasury Department. The FBAR is filed online.
  13. Oh, I guess it needs to be said that you can't avoid the US $10,000 declaration limit by giving your friend $6,000 to carry while you carry $6,000 yourself. The $10,000 declaration limit would be triggered if you and your friend are travelling together. MONEY TO TAKE OUT/session/L3RpbWUvMTQ5MjgxODQzOS9zaWQvS1RUMnJIZ24%3D
  14. This is the FinCEN 105 Form you have to fill out if you wish to leave the US carrying $10,000 or more in cash: You have to find the proper person/office to give your completed FinCEN 105 Form to at your US departure airport. That's not as straightforward as it may sound. While incoming passengers have easy contact with US Customs and Border Protection officers the same is not necessarily true with departing passengers. You should contact your departure airport and ask specifically where you need to turn in your FinCEN 105 form. I guess you could also try contacting the US Customs and Border Protection agency to find out the same information. My guess is that you're going to get a lot of "I don't know" type responses. Good luck!
  15. 1. Yes, the restriction applies to everyone including retirees. However, I believe the restriction is that one must declare the amount of cash you are carrying with you if it exceeds the equivalent of 20,000 USD. As far as I know there is no restriction on the amount as long as it is properly declared. 2. Yes. This is the most common way of bringing in large amounts of money. If you transfer over $50,000 (equivalent) a Foreign Exchange Transaction form or similar will be issued by the Thai bank involved in the transfer. If you are bringing the money into Thailand for the purpose of buying property you should get your Thai bank to document the transactions (using an FET form or equivalent letter) so that your purchase will be accepted at the Thai Land Office (this is a mandatory requirement) and as an aid to you if and when you decide to repatriate that money back to the US. Bangkok Bank has a particularly favorable mechanism to accomplish the transfer from the US that you should investigate, but almost any bank would be able to do that transfer (subject to fees and an exchange rate). 3. Yes, but it can take a long time (several weeks) for the funds to become available as most Thai banks will wait until the check clears and funds are actually received from the US bank before allowing you to access the funds. 4. No. 5. You must declare if you carry $20,000 USD or more in cash with you into Thailand. You must declare (the Thai bank will do this for you via FET form or similar) if you transfer $50,000 USD into Thailand. As pointed out in 3) you may want to have your bank document large transfers if you are buying property in Thailand as it is required to register that purchase at the Land Office and will be necessary to easily repatriate that money if you later wish to do so. You can ask your bank to issue you a letter documenting the transfer of money from the US to Thailand after the transfer takes place. You should try to do this as soon as possible after the transfer. I'm not sure if there is a period of time after which this sort of documentation will no longer be issued by your bank.