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BANGKOK 18 January 2019 16:58
Jingthing

U.S. embassy income letter redux -- officializing social security benefits documents

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Look, I've read the new police order about the new method for getting extensions based on income without embassy letters. 

Personally, I have issues with this new method and I'm certain others do too, especially as if I used it I would be using the combination method with it. 

This topic isn't about those issues.

 

Before totally giving up on any sliver of hope that the U.S. embassy can find a way to still provide an "income letter" service that Thai immigration might accept, I'd like to introduce possibly a new idea.

I've been researching retirement visa processes for a number of Latin American nations.

During this research I found something very, very interesting that I'm wondering might possibly have relevance for U.S. expats in Thailand.

Here it is.

It's about SOCIAL SECURITY pension income only.

I have read numerous recent reports that the U.S. embassy in Bogota Colombia and the U.S. embassy in Lima, Peru provide a service to U.S. expats seeking retirement visas in those two countries.

What it is specifically is about social security benefit letters which expats can get either from a MySSA account if they have that, or by request.

These letters are not signed and that's a problem for the governments of both Peru and Colombia.

They normally would want an official signed document and also apostilled in the place the document comes from. But this isn't about that.

It's about what they will accept in lieu of that.

Apparently, they will accept these letters, even just printed from online if "verified" "officialized" by the U.S. embassy. Recent reports that both of these embassies still offer that service.

I know there are people here with more knowledge than me on what the U.S. embassy can do or can't do. We know now they are refusing to do income letters because they aren't willing to verify the income claimed in the letters.

That's where we're at now. Probably a dead end for that service forever. 

However, it seems fair to ask -- if OTHER U.S. embassies are taking social security benefit letters and providing a service to proclaim them as official, then can the U.S. embassy do that and if not, why can those other embassies do that, and U.S. embassy in Bangkok can't or won't?

I don't know the technical term for what the U.S. embassies do in Bogota and Lima except that they look at the social security benefit letters and for a fee provide some kind of official document saying the documents are legitimate/official. 

So if you're with me this far (congrats or regrets depending) suppose there is a chance the U.S. embassy could do this same service as it seems to be a different thing than what they were doing before and will no longer do via income letters.

This isn't an income letter.

This is just showing one document limited to social security benefits only, paying a fee, and getting an embassy document saying the document is legit. (Or maybe they just stamp the letter or something like that, I don't know that technical detail.)

But then of course the 64,000 baht question would be if the U.S. embassy here could do the same as in Colombia and Peru, would Thai immigration possibly accept whatever this embassy document might be as equivalent to an income letter (which they still accept from embassies that offer it)?

Hoping those more knowledgeable than me about embassy processes can provide feedback to these questions. 

 

 

Edited by Jingthing
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The Embassy then will have to liaise with the tax department and/or other government departments and/or private institutions etc. to address your particular needs.  Perhaps it would be nice for the Embassy for offer a paid service for their such liaisons with fees charged depending on complexities.

 

The above is a reply I posted on page 58 of that "CONFIRMED: Here is exactly what’s ...." thread. It is kinda like a paid audit.

 

Edited by farangx
strike that

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I don't really care about their reasons here for stopping the old income letters.

That's old news. Done and dusted. 

I think what the embassies in Colombia and Peru are doing is probably DIFFERENT than that.

If they can do that, and are still doing that, can the U.S. embassy here do that?

If not forget about it. If so, then the question would be Thai immigration acceptance. 

That's the entire point of this topic. To explore that specific issue.

People that don't have anything to add on that, please don't post. Looking for people with a higher level of knowledge that might be able to speak to these specific questions. 

Edited by Jingthing

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I am presently doing a Non-Imm O-A through the Thai embassy in Washington D.C.  I learned they would accept the Social Security letter, and the same type letter from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) as proof of income. Somebody at the Thai embassy and those Southern US embassies are handling the task of verifying these documents.  A private agency or government office set up to do such legwork for Thai Immigrations could do the same for expats in Thailand. Of course individuals would have to give their permission to release private details, and pay "reasonable" fee.  A middle man to cut out the middle man, but legal...

 

Advise the head man, Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn that this "idea of his" (wink, wink) is great and should be implemented immediately!

 

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I actually thought/wondered about this before, but never looked into specifics of how expats in other retirement countries, manage host nation visa/financial requirements.

 

Good idea for the SS/DFAS angle.  Might be a bit late in the game now but I would say still worth forwarding to the Embassy as a formal question.  Would have gotten good traction had it been worked into the 103 FM interview with DCG last week.  Bummer. 

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They might allow you to do an affidavit stating the SSA statement attached is true and correct. The have done that before for US marriage certificates and etc. But whether immigration would be another question.

Quote

Affidavits
Oftentimes the Thai government requests the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General Chiang Mai “certify” documents listed under “services we cannot provide.” Please note the Embassy and Consulate CAN notarize an affidavit which may or may not satisfy the Thai requirement for “certification.”

Source: https://th.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/notaries-public/

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6 hours ago, mosan said:

I am presently doing a Non-Imm O-A through the Thai embassy in Washington D.C.  I learned they would accept the Social Security letter, and the same type letter from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) as proof of income. Somebody at the Thai embassy and those Southern US embassies are handling the task of verifying these documents. 

Not necessarily.  They might reject an obvious fake, but that does not mean they are checking with the source, either. 

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Passport number tied to social security number tied to your last years' tax return statement. Would think you could automate this.

 

Set an appointment where you enter your passport number and your request.

It would do an auto search of the database, pull the final income number and add that to a prefilled out form.

 

Show up to the Embassy, show passport and social security number, the staff prints the form, you swear to the document and it is done.

 

Your tax returns are used for credit, home and auto purchases. The government holds the key document which is your social security number and the amount declared on your tax return. 

 

But that would be thinking something simple and efficent could be done by a government to help their citizens. 

 

 

Edited by Moonfire

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As I said in another thread, if anyone needs an form affidavit regarding their social security benefits that the US Embassy cannot refuse to sign, let me know. It would be worth it to all the folks here if someone tries it using the combo method, especially since an SS check of $1700 say would require a mere 120K in a bank.

 

I may try it myself next January.

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