Jump to content

Opening a Thai bank account for Immigration purposes.


Recommended Posts

44 minutes ago, Katy said:

Hi.

I am looking to move to Bangkok next year, when all the Covid restrictions are over and I have sold my property.  Sadly, I live in South Africa where the local currency (rand) is woefully low, and getting money out of the country is doable, but lots of hoops to go through as there are forex controls and Reserve Bank approval required, etc. My real question though -- and I see this written all the time -- is about how one is supposed to have proof of residence WITHOUT having a bank account first? How am I supposed to pay three months in advance without a local bank account -- that I can't open without proof of residence, such as a rental agreement? It seems totally the wrong way around. Bearing in mind, again, that I can only take so much money out of South Africa as a tourist, even on an extended 90-day visa before applying for the retirement visa. Any feedback most appreciated.

Katy

Residence is tricky but there are a couple of ways around it. First, if you know anybody in Thailand they can act as a reference. When I opened my account at Bangkok Bank, my S.O. showed her ID card and signed a form letter that we "reside" at the same address. Second, you can get a notarized Affidavit of Residence through your home country's embassy or consulate. This is just a document in which you say what your address is and sign it in front of a notary who - by dint of your passport - "knows" you. Third, a rental contract/house book copy  showing your address.

What I'm confused about is the "three months in advance" bit. If you rented a small place in Bangkok for a few months you'd only be out about 15K Rand which should be allowed? (Or am I missing something?) Then, once you get your account open, you can replenish your cash.

Another thing to consider is if you can come in on a Non-Immigrant O (Retirement) visa directly. That could help if the ease of moving Rand is better when you're "retired" to begin with. It may also help when you open your bank account.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Katy said:

Hi.

I am looking to move to Bangkok next year, when all the Covid restrictions are over and I have sold my property.  Sadly, I live in South Africa where the local currency (rand) is woefully low, and getting money out of the country is doable, but lots of hoops to go through as there are forex controls and Reserve Bank approval required, etc. My real question though -- and I see this written all the time -- is about how one is supposed to have proof of residence WITHOUT having a bank account first? How am I supposed to pay three months in advance without a local bank account -- that I can't open without proof of residence, such as a rental agreement? It seems totally the wrong way around. Bearing in mind, again, that I can only take so much money out of South Africa as a tourist, even on an extended 90-day visa before applying for the retirement visa. Any feedback most appreciated.

Katy

This is where crypto-currency comes in. I am not aware of the situation in SA but you should be able to buy Bitcoin and sell it for Thai Baht. I have transferred a few million Bahts in this way.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Katy said:

Hi.

I am looking to move to Bangkok next year, when all the Covid restrictions are over and I have sold my property.  Sadly, I live in South Africa where the local currency (rand) is woefully low, and getting money out of the country is doable, but lots of hoops to go through as there are forex controls and Reserve Bank approval required, etc. My real question though -- and I see this written all the time -- is about how one is supposed to have proof of residence WITHOUT having a bank account first? How am I supposed to pay three months in advance without a local bank account -- that I can't open without proof of residence, such as a rental agreement? It seems totally the wrong way around. Bearing in mind, again, that I can only take so much money out of South Africa as a tourist, even on an extended 90-day visa before applying for the retirement visa. Any feedback most appreciated.

Katy

Hi Katy and welcome to the forum.

In relation to proof of address in Thailand.
It's a legal requirement that the 'place of stay' of foreigners be registered with Immigration.
This requirement is listed under section 38 of the Thai Immigration Act.
Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979) ENG.pdf

When you stay at a hotel it is there responsibility to report your arrival.
Every premises has a Tabien Baan (Blue House book) with the address of the property.
When you stay in a privately rented accommodation it is a copy of this Blue book and the ID card of the person also registered in that book to be presented along with a form (TM30) in order to register the foreigner residing at that address to Immigration.

Immigration can then issue on application a 'residence certificate' confirming your registered address with the Immigration department. The problem you will encounter with Bangkok Immigration is that they won't issue these 'certificates' until you've submitted your first 90 day report.
Alternatively, your Embassy can also issue 'proof of Thai address' as mentioned by @JamesE

These 'residence certificates' may be required to open bank accounts, applying for a Driving licence, etc.

There are a few 'sticky locked' topics here https://thethaiger.com/talk/forum/82-visas-long-stay-extensions-re-entry-permit/ where you can download forms to peruse or use at Immigration offices.

The problem with banks is they all differ with requirements to open an account.
Having a Thai 'reference' person or someone with an existing account there is a big +
Branches of the same bank can differ with requirements, it's a case of sometimes trying at different banks and branches. Some banks will accept copies of the landlords Blue book and ID card as proof of address, whilst others may want a 'residence certificate' from your Embassy or Immigration.

Welcome to Thailand!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, M.O. said:

This is where crypto-currency comes in. I am not aware of the situation in SA but you should be able to buy Bitcoin and sell it for Thai Baht. I have transferred a few million Bahts in this way.

Yes crypto-currency could be an option to finance your living expenses while in Thailand.
However, when applying for the Non Imm O Visa when having entered Thailand VisaExempt or on a Tourist Visa, requires that you provide evidence of suffient funds on a personal Thai bank-account.  I.e. +800.000 THB when applying for reason of retirement.  But @Katy would face the problem that you also need to provide evidence that those funds originated from abroad. 

If she applied for the 90-day Non Imm O Visa for reason of retirement at the Thai Embassy in South-Africa, she would also have to prove sufficient funds on her South-African (or Thai) bank-account.  But the same  problem would occur once in Thailand, when in the last month of that 90-day Non Imm O Visa she would apply for the 1-year extension of stay based on that original Visa.  For such application your need to provide evidence of +800.000 THB on your personal Thai bank-account seasoned for two months at time of application.  But for the FIRST application you also need to provide evidence that those funds originated from abroad.

>> I am not knowledgeable whether there is a way of transferring crypto-currency to THB on a personal Thai bank-account.  As long as the THB are originating from a foreign account it should be OK.

Note: An alternative for @Katy would be to apply for the 1-year ME Non Imm O-A Visa at the Thai Embassy in South-Africa.  That Visa can provide you with almost 2 years of immigration hassle-free stay in Thailand, with NO need to park/transfer funds on a personal Thai bank-account and NO need to apply for extensions of stay during those 2 years.  When Katy foresees to occasionally visit her South-African home-country again, she then could make use of that opportunity to apply for a NEW Non Imm O-A Visa and thus circumventing that proof of foreign origins of money transferred (as required when applying first time for the Non Imm O Visa in Thailand, or for extension-applications of her Non Imm O or O-A Visa).

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recalling the good old days where one could walk into any bank [or branch] and easily set up an account of any nature. No questions asked or grilling expected. Just presented one's passport and your good to go!!

 

Mind you, resident or long term "free as a bird" immigration/visas process and regulations were completely different then they have been of the last decade......oh well. 

Don't mind me - just waxing romantically of the days of yore. 

Cheers....

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/7/2021 at 7:47 AM, Faz said:

For most long term retirees they need to open a Thai Bank account for the purpose of providing evidence of either deposited funds, or monthly overseas transfer to meet Immigrations financial requirements when applying for annual extensions of stay, based on retirement or Thai family/spouse.

Several years ago it need no more than your Passport and a copy of the landlords/wife's Tabien Baan and Thai ID card as to proof of your Thai address. Since then the banks have become more stringent and apparently selective in opening an account for  foreigners without a work permit or PR (permanent residency) status.

There are 3 different types of accounts that Immigration will accept for proof of funds or income.
1. Savings account. 
2 Fixed term deposit account.
3. Foreign currency account (either Savings or Fixed term types).

The first place to start is by searching for the requirements to open a bank account at the various banks without a work permit. Going armed with the required documents is a good start. In my recent experiences most banks now request either a letter from your Embassy or a residence certificate issued by Immigration as proof of your Thai address.
They also require a reference, either from you foreign bank, your Embassy, or an individual of trust already holding an account with that bank.

Of all the banks in Thailand, Bangkok Bank probably put the best information on their websites to open an account, which is probably a good guide to the requirements of other banks as well. Initially you should start with trying to open a Savings account, which comes with a debit card, useful for your daily living expenses.
Bangkok Bank - Savings account. (Qualifications and required documents).
https://www.bangkokbank.com/en/Personal/Save-And-Invest/Save/Savings-Account

2. Foreigner without work permit

  • Passport
  • A reference letter issued by one of the following institutes or organizations or required document
    • Embassy located  in Thailand 
    • An overseas bank where the customer holds an account sent via SWIFT 
    • Trusted individuals such as a Bangkok Bank staff member or customer, director of a private company, permanent residence in Thailand, government or private educational institutes located in Thailand trusted by the Bank
    • Trusted companies, e.g., an employment letter from the company if the customer is in the process of applying for a work permit.
    • Document showing ownership of a fixed asset such as a condominium sale/purchase agreement (a condominium which is acceptable to Bangkok Bank) Or a property reservation agreement valued at 100,000 baht or more with a reference letter from the property developer that is acceptable to Bangkok Bank.
      Notes: Contact addresses for both Thailand and overseas must be provided (hotel and P.O. Box addresses are not acceptable).

I've also attached a very useful booklet of information I picked up at my Bangkok Bank branch.
Bangkok Bank - Foreigners..pdf

Even then you'll come across inexperienced staff, who have never opened an account for a foreigner before, or been told only foreigners with work permits. The extent of their training does not include the information posted on their own websites. If you have the required documents, I would still advise you print a copy of the requirements to show them.

The reply 'Cannot' or 'No can do' usually means that staff member hasn't got a clue of the requirements or knows how to proceed. It is completely alien to them. In these situations, stand firm, be polite but insistent. Ask for the manager, preferably English speaking helps.

 

Sometimes, it not a case of what you know, it can be a case of who you know.
A Thai holding a respected and prominent position can also be very influential in these situations.

Bangkok Bank - Foreigners..pdf 2.82 MB · 14 downloads

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, thanks for all the feedback. Unfortunately, most of it I know, and none of it addresses the issue of securing a residence/lease on an apartment (and they all want three months rent paid in advance, so a lot of money) -- *before* I open a bank account. As I said, the forex laws in S.Africa are draconian. Also, I cannot apply for a retirement visa in Thailand on a 30-day tourist visa (SAfricans doesn't need an actual visa for such a trip), but I could on a 90-day extended tourist visa, which is what I was thinking of doing.

I don't know anyone in Bangkok, but I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem at the bank -- it's securing accommodation before getting a bank account that's the issue. 

Also, the rand is worth very little so my margins are low, and as for cryptocurrency (for those that mentioned it), I do not fall into that tax bracket! Also, they're about to pretty much ban it/regulate it to within an inch of its life in S.Africa too. 

Anyway, will keep thinking about it. I am waiting for them to change the 90-day, check-in for people on retirement visas to just once a year, as Bloomberg has reported, but it still sounds like the bureaucracy between S.Africa and Thailand might defeat me before I leave!

 

Thanks again

Katy

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, Katy said:

Hi, thanks for all the feedback. Unfortunately, most of it I know, and none of it addresses the issue of securing a residence/lease on an apartment (and they all want three months rent paid in advance, so a lot of money) -- *before* I open a bank account. As I said, the forex laws in S.Africa are draconian. Also, I cannot apply for a retirement visa in Thailand on a 30-day tourist visa (SAfricans doesn't need an actual visa for such a trip), but I could on a 90-day extended tourist visa, which is what I was thinking of doing.

I don't know anyone in Bangkok, but I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem at the bank -- it's securing accommodation before getting a bank account that's the issue. 

Also, the rand is worth very little so my margins are low, and as for cryptocurrency (for those that mentioned it), I do not fall into that tax bracket! Also, they're about to pretty much ban it/regulate it to within an inch of its life in S.Africa too. 

Anyway, will keep thinking about it. I am waiting for them to change the 90-day, check-in for people on retirement visas to just once a year, as Bloomberg has reported, but it still sounds like the bureaucracy between S.Africa and Thailand might defeat me before I leave!

Thanks again

Katy

From what you wrote, it is clear that the main problem you are confronted with is not so much a Thai issue, but the fact that it seems not allowed for a South-African citizen to transfer money from his South-African bank-account abroad.  The consequence of that constraint is that you would NOT be able to extend the permission of stay when entering Thailand on a 90-day Non Imm O Visa or to apply for the change Visa process when entering Thailand Visa Exempt or on a 60-day Tourist Visa.  Yes, for each of these entrance options you can ONCE apply for a 30-day extension of stay, but you would not be able to meet the requirements when wanting to apply for the 90-day Non Imm O Visa from your VE or TV-entry or to apply for the 1-year extension when you entered Thailand on a Non Imm O Visa applied for at the Thai Embassy in South-Africa.  And the reason that you will not be able to apply for the Non Imm O Visa or its extension when in Thailand, is that Thai Immigration requires that you provide evidence of +800.000 THB on a personal Thai bank-account WITH FOREIGN ORIGINS PROVEN.  And it is that 'foreign origins proven' which you will not be able to fulfill when you cannot transfer funds from abroad to your personal Thai bank-account. 

But that does not mean that the situation for you is hopeless.  As I mentioned already in my earlier response to your query, you could apply for the 1-year ME Non Imm O-A Visa at the Thai Embassy in South-Africa.  That Visa can provide you with almost 2 years of immigration hassle-free stay in Thailand, with NO need to park/transfer funds on a personal Thai bank-account and NO need to apply for extensions of stay during those 2 years.  When you foresee to occasionally visit your South-African home-country again, you can then make use of the opportunity to apply for a NEW Non Imm O-A Visa.  When doing so you will never be confronted with the requirement to provide proof of foreign origins of money transferred (as required when applying first time for the Non Imm O Visa in Thailand, or for extension-applications of a Non Imm O or O-A Visa).

Doing as outlined above would solve the permission to stay issue for the almost 2 years that Non Imm O-A Visa can provide you (and which can be continually repeated by applying for a new Non Imm O-A Visa when visiting your home-country at the end of the 2-year permission to stay). 

Of course you also do need funds to stay in Thailand, but when you have a debit- or credit-card you can use such card to get money from an ATM or pay your expenses with it.  And once you have opened a Thai bank-account - which will not be easy, but with persistance you will be able to open one - you can spice that Thai bank-account with money taken from an ATM or by asking the bank to withdraw funds using your credit-card and transferring them to that personal bank-account.  Needless to say, that that is a rather expensive way of getting hold of THB but when not able to transfer directly from your South-African bank-account using a service like Wise, it is at least an option.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Katy said:

Hi, thanks for all the feedback. Unfortunately, most of it I know, and none of it addresses the issue of securing a residence/lease on an apartment (and they all want three months rent paid in advance, so a lot of money) -- *before* I open a bank account. As I said, the forex laws in S.Africa are draconian. Also, I cannot apply for a retirement visa in Thailand on a 30-day tourist visa (SAfricans doesn't need an actual visa for such a trip), but I could on a 90-day extended tourist visa, which is what I was thinking of doing.

A 3 month deposit is standard, which includes 1 months rent in advance.
If you want to live in Bangkok, then you'll pay the appropriate rent for living in the capital.

There is no 'retirement' Visa. You extend your permission of stay (a permit, not a Visa) granted on entry for 1 year based on retirement. Financial requirements apply.

To apply for this 1 year extension you must have a Non Immigrant type Visa (Non Imm O).
You can enter Visa exempt (no Visa), permits a stay of 30 days, which can be extended a further 30 days.
You can enter on a Tourist Visa, permits a stay of 60 days, which can be extended a further 30 days.
In both of the above cases you can apply at an Immigration officer to change your status from 'Tourist' to Non Immigrant' as a prelude to applying for the 1 year permit of stay based on requirement.
It requires 800K THB deposited in a Thai bank transferred from overseas to apply.

You can enter on a Non Immigrant O Visa, permits a stay of 90 days on entry.
You can then directly apply for the 1 year permit of stay based on retirement.

The financial requirements are:
2.22 In the case of retirement:
Must have been granted a non-immigrant visa (NON-IM).
The alien:
(1) Must have been granted a non-immigrant visa (NON-IM).
(2) Must be 50 years of age or over.
(3) Must have evidence of having income of no less than Baht 65,000 per month: or
(4) On the filing date, the applicant must have funds deposited in a bank in Thailand of no less than Baht 800,000 for the past three months. For the first year only, the applicant must have proof of a deposit account in which said amount of funds has been maintained for no less than 60 days prior to the filing date: or
(5) Must have an annual earning and funds deposited with a bank totalling no less than Baht 800,0000 as of the filing date.
327-2557 (2014) - Criteria for extension ENG.pdf

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Katy said:

I don't know anyone in Bangkok, but I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem at the bank

You'll know the landlord.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Katy said:

Anyway, will keep thinking about it. I am waiting for them to change the 90-day, check-in for people on retirement visas to just once a year, as Bloomberg has reported, but it still sounds like the bureaucracy between S.Africa and Thailand might defeat me before I leave!

I think your referring to the requirement to report every 90 days.
It's a requirement according to the Immigration Act.
Foreign retirees have been saying the same for years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By posting on Thaiger Talk you agree to the Terms of Use