As an expat you may want to send money out of Thailand to family, friends or for business. Thailand, however, like all other countries have rules and regulations to control the flow of currency in and out of the country.
Bringing cash in and out of Thailand
You can currently bring any amount of foreign currency into Thailand, though you must deposit it into a bank account or change it to Baht within one year of your arrival. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as if you are staying for less than 90 days or you work for an embassy or an international organization.
You can only take 50,000 Baht out of the country in cash, unless you are travelling to one of Thailand’s neighboring countries, in which case you are allowed to take out up to 500,000 Baht.
More information can be found on the Bank of Thailand’s website (http://www.bot.or.th)
Sending money out of Thailand
If you want to send money out of Thailand there are several options to do so. You can use international bank transfers, Western Union and Moneygram transfers, sending checks and Paypal transfers.
International Bank Transfers are generally inexpensive, costing around 400-500 Baht. Usually the transaction is completed within 2-3 days with some banks, but can take up to 5-7 days. There can be some problems with transferring money unless you are sending small amounts. If you are sending larger amounts you will need to fill out a form stating where the money has come from and prove that taxes have been paid. Likewise you may be required to have a work permit, but these rules are sometimes interpreted differently. This is to control manipulation of the Thai Baht by sending out large amounts of currency. Likewise, all international bank transfers are converted to the destination currency before they are sent.
For expats working in Thailand, you must have a copy of your work permit and a letter from your employer stating your income in Thailand. All international transfers are reported daily to the Bank of Thailand. The maximum amount of money you can send home is your annual income minus taxes and living expenses, which in reality works out to around 70% of your income. If you want to send more home you need additional documentation. Transfers over 5 million Baht will be reported to the Anti Money Laundering Office.
Other methods include sending funds abroad with services such as Western Union, MoneyGram, Travelex and international bank draft.
Western Union, MoneyGram and Travelex, which can make money transfers within 15 minutes, have similar approaches for international money transfers to banks.
Expats using these service providers do not need to have a bank account but they need to show some form of identification and provide the exact name, identification card or passport number of the recipient. They will be given a reference code to send to the recipient, who will have to provide it to the paying agent.
Western Union is available in most Thai banks, except for Siam Commercial and TMB Bank, which are agents for MoneyGram. Western Union is also available at Thai post offices and major shopping malls. Opening hours are the same as the agent’s opening hours, but there are several agents who are open until the late evening. Currently the Currency Exchange in Sukhumvit Soi 3, just around the corner from Sukhumvit Road, is the agent that is open the latest in Bangkok (until 10 pm.), good to know if you need to send or receive money in case of emergency. You can search for all agents in Bangkok and Thailand here: http://www.westernunion.com
MoneyGram is another agent who offers fast money transfers. They have far fewer agents, but are cheaper than Western Union. Opening hours are the same as Western Union, but most agents close on Saturdays and Sundays. A list of all agents can be found here: http://www.moneygram.com