How hard is it to open a bank account in Thailand. Until a few years ago, this process used to be simple and did not take much time and effort. Times have changed definitely for the worse. This process, once simple and easy, is now hard and complicated.
This change is the result of increase of regulation affecting the banking sector. Emerging issues are cross-border banking and serving of non resident foreigners.
The Situation about How to Open a Bank Account in Thailand
Contrary to a common assumption, there are no rules in Thailand that prevent foreigners from having a bank account in Thailand. However, the banks choose if and with whom they do business with. Each bank sets its rules and policies regarding collaboration with foreigners and non-residents on its own discretion. When asking to open a bank account as a foreigner in Thailand, the bank will usually assign you to one of the following main categories. The category is decisive for further procedure and the connected restrictions thereto:
- Tourist without visa but a permit of residence for up to 30 days for tourism (valid for nationals of most countries). Especially from the banks point of view, you are a typical non resident;
- visa holder but staying less than half a year in Thailand: Even though you are one step ahead of a common tourist and you obviously have some ties with the country, the bank will still qualify you as a non resident;
- you have a long term visa and you have already lived more than half a year in Thailand. The bank will qualify you as a permanent resident foreigner;
- you have a Thai passport.
Foreigners falling within the first category must overcome the most obstacles whereas the restrictions will greatly ease from point 2 onwards. The same rule applies to the amount of paperwork required. The more ties you have with a country, the better your chances are.
The following topics might further be relevant to a bank’s rules and policies regarding a possible foreign customer:
- Quality and intensity of collaboration between Thailand and the country of nationality of the foreigner in question;
- You are a citizen of a non-sanctioned country and your criminal record is clear;
- How well do you present yourself; how strong are your language skills?
- Amount of money you are willing to deposit at the bank;
- Your ties with the country;
- Your personal relationship to the respective bank.
In practice, all these factors play a decisive role among others and none of them is determining on its own. Last but not least, it is important to notice the training and general skill level of bank employees. Some banks just plain out do not want to deal with foreigners and non-residents.
It always makes a good impression to dress up nicely when asking for the manager of the bank of your choice like you would for a job interview. It often makes sense to ask the bank manager, especially so if you plan to make a high deposit.
You will need the following documents:
Needed Documents and Steps
- Provide your passport;
- Appearance in person;
- An additional identification (e.g. with national ID card, driving licence);
- Proof of residential address (e.g. in the form of an utility bill or bank statement indicating said address);
- Reference letters;
- KYC profile with proofs your net worth, your income and your source of your funds like inheritance, business, stock market gains, etc.
Since this compilation of documents is not generally binding and each bank handles this topic differently, we recommend that you find a competent lawyer who can introduce you to a sincere bank and who handles the paperwork for you.
Conclusion on How to Open a Bank Account in Thailand
The lawyers on LAWGATE will get you professional support as from the very beginning and therefore, will save you time and nerves. Find your lawyer on the platform instantly and get a digital – if desired even visual consultation from your living room.
Finally, we advise against using dubious low cost offers, no matter how promising they might sound. Not only can this path lead to legal troubles, it potentially puts your deposited money at risk and might make expensive legal proceedings necessary in the following.