Checklist to prepare your move out of Thailand
As I am preparing to move from Bangkok to Jakarta, I remember searching online for any kind of help or check list of what to do before leaving the country.
This is when I realized that nobody must be leaving, as there was no information or shared experience on what to do ! It was odd, as this is the single country where whether I search in French or English I couldn't find a single testimony of people preparing their move out... When I left Malaysia, there was a number of administrative process to take care of: from taxes, public retirement funds to immigration.
In the end, it seems like Thailand is a lot easier in terms of departure preparation. Here is what I did:
- If you plan on keeping a bank account here, just make sure you have updated all your latest passport information, so that you can access to all the functionality online for future transactions without any problem from abroad. This can be a temporary measure to keep it open for a while to have back your flat deposit or any pending cash coming your way. But I think a last visit in Thailand to close it should be considered... The last time I had to make an international bank transfer with SCB, it took me 1 hour to explain face to face at the bank, and luckily I read over the shoulder of the clerk as she did so many typing mistake it would have been refused otherwise ! I am sure you will have to do a last transfer to your new country of residence.
- Telecom, if you have a postpaid plan, a simple call / visit to the center was enough to cancel it. (I was at AIS) They will require that you pay the last billing cycle and will cancel your number within 3 hours. (this was from my husband experience). I closed my 2 months after leaving Thailand as I needed the number for OTP purchases until I get full possession of new Indonesian banking means. It was as simple on the phone, they communicated to me the amount to transfer for the last billing cycle - I did it through my SCB bank (that I had not yet closed) online platform - you then need to send your bank in note to an email that the operator will tell you. A couple of days letter I received an email with the receipt for my last billing cycle and all was done.
- Internet: No idea - our plan was through the condominium so the owner took care of it for us.
- Sprinkle water: for the ones using this service, cancel and inform them 16 days before departure so that they can organize the collection of your last vouchers and bottles. Then they refund it to you within 15 days by bank transfer.
- Inform your landlord ( I guess with the latest Thailand law, it is a 1 month notice ?). Check your contract for the clause. Ours was 2 months notice.
- Small change: if like me you have collected a couple of thousands 1 THB coin in our condo entrance box of loose crap, then you start spending them on BTS & local bus rides or if you have a SCB account you have a coin machine at the SCB Branch in Centralworld. Quite slow but working very well, you will need your bank account book for the machine to accept your coins.
- Points & rewards ! If like me you never really paid attention to this endless number of loyalty program, you might end up with a substantial amount of points to redeem. I redeemed 4 years worth of rabbit points to recharge my BTS cards for almost my last month at work. I used up all my AIS points in Central voucher for last gift (to myself) souvenir shopping as well. My last grocery shopping at villa market were always discounted to finish those ones as well ! In the end it amounts for quite a substantial amount of savings.
Immigration & Taxes:
It is always good to be in good standing order, as you never know if one day you are to come back ! I was surprised as how little the two departments communicate to each other. For example in Malaysia you needed to do a tax clearance before cancelling your work permit at the immigration. If you didn't do it in this order, the company employing you couldn't finish the last step to free one "foreigner quota spot" off their workforce.
Make sure your company prepares an anticipated tax declaration for the year your are leaving. Bring this to the tax bureau for which your company depends on. ( This is not according to your home address, but where your company declared you - or where you declare yourself if you do it by yourself ). Submit it and pay the fees or taxes required if any. I did ask for an original receipt that I paid 30 THB and a certified copy of my anticipated declaration to keep in my archives. I looks like the tax bureau doesn't issue "Clearance letter" as in Malaysia.
Immigration wise, your company should be able to do all for you and they don't require any tax information from you. It took in total 4 hours at the immigration to get it done. My HR did gave me back my blue book (work permit) so I guess if I was to come back, things would be easier for me to work here.
Upon cancelling the work permit, I had 3 days to leave the country before my non-B visa was officially cancelled. So I planned a quick visa run to come back on a tourist visa and close all the last elements in Bangkok before the final move.