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Voyager39

Residency Disclosure While Living Abroad

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Voyager39

I plan to retire in the PI within the next few months.  Until recently I expected to acknowledge my expat status to all of health insurers, financial institutions, etc., and to appropriate make alternative arrangements for those services.  More recently, a poster on an investment forum recommended that expats continue to report U.S. residency even while living abroad for extended periods of time, in view of the difficulties that arise from reporting a foreign address.

For example, many U.S. financial institutions won't do business with any U.S. citizen with a foreign address, due to onerous tax paperwork requirements.  As a result, many move their assets to one of two brokers who can establish international accounts for expats.  Regarding health care, I can maintain my original Medicare enrollment while abroad, but continued enrollment in Medicare Advantage requires U.S. physical residency.

Based on the above, I was wondering what expats here do in connection with this issue.

 

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T.S.

I'm not retired, but I keep a USA address on USA accounts.

I had no problem getting a replacement American Express card shipped to me in Cebu last year when I had a fraud issue, even though they had a USA address on file for me. It was a Filipina in Manila who answered the call and set up the replacement shipment for me. 

Some other mail, cards, etc, I either have family forward to me or hold for me and pick it up during a USA visit.

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Dafey

I can only answer for my situation...

I am married to a Philippine wife and enjoy Balakbayan status instead of the 13a, or SRRV visas. This means when traveling with my wife we get a BB stamp in our passports good for 1 year. After that we must leave the country.

I maintain a US residence in a state that does not have state taxes, (officially we live with my daughter and she takes care of any important mail for me). My pension/SS are direct deposited into a Charles Schwab account and when I need cash I can withdraw at any ATM in the world without international fees. I am also reimbursed, at the end of the month, any ATM fees incurred.

My Medicare is not usable in the Philippines but I can avail when I go to the US.

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Jawny

Not sure where the concern is about "report US residency" nor where such a "report" would go. Since you come from a state with no income tax, there’s little financial risk ( from my limited experience) to maintain a connection to the Evergreen state.  Voter registration and drivers license for example are good to establish and maintain. 

Seems like the issue with some banks in the USA is not so much residency as having a physical location to mail things like credit cards and the like.  Hence, the requirement for the USA address.  Again, I am no expert in this and have even had some issues with residency myself. 

Do you have a specific concern?

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Voyager39
2 hours ago, Jawny said:

Not sure where the concern is about "report US residency" nor where such a "report" would go. Since you come from a state with no income tax, there’s little financial risk ( from my limited experience) to maintain a connection to the Evergreen state.  Voter registration and drivers license for example are good to establish and maintain. 

Seems like the issue with some banks in the USA is not so much residency as having a physical location to mail things like credit cards and the like.  Hence, the requirement for the USA address.  Again, I am no expert in this and have even had some issues with residency myself. 

Do you have a specific concern?

By "report" I just meant whatever address info I allow to remain in my profile for various institutions.  I wasn't referring to a specific action or document.

Regarding specific concerns, one of these is simply the desire to not be seen as committing fraud.  Not knowing all the rules regarding residency and domicile, I'm not sure if it's legal or not to move overseas and to simply say nothing to various institutions (financial, health insurance, etc) about any change of address.

I don't know if you what you say about U.S. banks would apply to mutual fund companies that I participate in.  Consistent with the linked articles below, I grew to believe that expats living abroad faced major restrictions in owning, buying, and selling U.S. securities.  I couldn't find a link just now, but have read that in certain cases, U.S. institutions closed the accounts of U.S. citizen clients of theirs that they discovered were living abroad, resulting in the forced sale of all of their securities and the attendant massive one-year tax hit that would be incurred if they had significant assets in a taxable account.  This is one of several concerns.  I've read on other boards that two brokerages that U.S. expats can still use are (a) Schwab; and (b) Interactive Brokers.

https://thunfinancial.com/home/american-expat-financial-advice-research-articles/us-brokerage-accounts-american-expats-closed-2015/

https://assetbuilder.com/knowledge-center/articles/american-brokerages-slam-the-door-on-us-expats

Another concern is the preservation of my health insurance.  My current understanding is that I can maintain original Medicare whether I live in the U.S. or not.  That way, while M-care won't work in the PI, it's available to me upon arrival back in the U.S.  However, avoiding the 20% co-pay of M-care would require re-enrolling in Medicare Advantage (MA).  I was told that upon return, I could sign up for a local Kaiser plan but that the plan would only become effective starting on the first of the month following my return (assuming that I say that I'm living abroad).  If I officially preserve my U.S. address with the insurer, I could maintain my MA coverage and avoid the Medicare co-pays.

When I first investigated this issue, I didn't expect to have anyone in the U.S. who would receive my mail and keep it safe for me.  I now may have such a situation.  My current landlord may be willing to help me on that front.  However, I initially assumed that I would either have to get may mail abroad, or use a P.O. Box in the U.S., which many U.S. investment companies will not accept.  


 

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Jawny
1 hour ago, Voyager39 said:

 

Regarding specific concerns, one of these is simply the desire to not be seen as committing fraud.  Not knowing all the rules regarding residency and domicile, I'm not sure if it's legal or not to move overseas and to simply say nothing to various institutions (financial, health insurance, etc) about any change of address.


 

What I've been able to determine, fraud is only a consideration if you are attempting to gain some sort of benefit which comes from hiding the fact that you have set up a new residence. For example, if you gain some sort of tax benefit or an entitlement which is not given to overseas residents.  However, if you are simply trying to keep the banking process simple by not changing your address, then it’s not fraud with regard to your bank, your monies 

I don’t pretend to be an expert in these issues, but trying to reassure you that keep an existing mailing address makes a lot of sense.

I recall some LinC members describing getting some sort of financial benefit as a resident of their state.  If I remember correctly it had to do with the Affordable Care Act.  They got a reduction in premium costs as a resident, so long as they were a resident.  That seemed like a potential case of fraud.

When you first set up your banking here, you will be expected to provide details regarding your source of income etc for the bank to be compliant with FACTA.  Not a bullet you can dodge. 

I would caution you about having someone such as a landlord serve as your turn to sort of person regarding personal finance.  That may not be as permanent as you hope.  There are mail forwarding businesses which are described in detail in LinC archives as well as a google search 

 

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wondersailor

I know some investment institutions will not continue to carry an ira if you do not maintain a US residence. Mine is one so I have a mail drop account as my mailing address.

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Cebuandrew

For me, I use a company in the U.S., called "traveling mailbox." They have around 100 physical addresses in the U.S., and mine is in Portland, Oregon. I forget, but I think it is $180/year, and when I get mail, it is all forwarded to NC, I get an email giving me options what to do. I see the envelope in that email and decide if they open and scan it. After that, if I want the physical mail forwarded to me here, it seems cheap and easy. I forget how many "open and scans" I get for free each month, but I've never come close to the limit.

I let my U.S. Bank know years ago that I'd be traveling SE Asia for years to come, but they don't know I live here permanently. It is no fraud on my part--fraud is, by definition, saying a falsehood, blah, blag blah. I've said no falsehoods to any institution. Institutions invloved with U.S. Securities laws only care about 2 things: (1) Was the money one invested in them legally obtained; and (2) is the money paid out properly taxed? Though, with the latter, they just need to make an effort, with the payee ultimately responsible. Not sure why they need to know exactly where you physically reside, unless you are living in a Country the U.S. government sanctions. So sure, if you go live in North Korea, it'd probably be an issue. I think OP would be amazed of the millions of Americans with U.S. Security investments, living in central and south america, who don't let them know.

Different strokes for different folks, but I very much enjoy living off the grid. 

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Dafey

Residency is largely a state of mind. If you have a US mailing address and a US bank account you can 'Live' in the US while never setting foot there. I live in the US and haven't been there for 2 years. Not fraud...I'm traveling...mostly around the Philippines!

Keep in mind you can use a VPN to make it look like your computer is in the US while abroad...that may be a little fraudulent but necessary for security concerns also.

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Jawny

Just today I was able to complete a registration to a Capital One account.  A person I know has an account and added me to the account as co-owner.  It was a Capital One 360 account.  The process was relatively simple.

I was sent an invitation once the friend had told Capital One. The email invitation had a link with a registration process.  The part is was dreading was "proof of residence". Turns out, they had a simple way to confirm I was who I said I was.  There was no need to prove I lived where I said.  

The process must have gone to one of the credit reporting agencies, since I was asked three questions......have I ever lived at or used one of these address, and four different addresses were listed.  One I knew.  Second question was where was my SSAN issued.  Third question related to the first....what city is the address above in?

After that, I was able to set up a user ID and such.

The only issue after that was when I first logged in.  I am guessing the system detected I was logging in from overseas.  I was directed to choose one of two methods to verify it was me.  First method, send a text message to the phone number listed.  Second method was to receive a call whereby I would be confirmed to be myself. 

I opted for the text message, and it was easy for me to get the code sent by my contact.  I had. 60 minutes to complete the code use.  Worked like a charm.

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Voyager39
17 minutes ago, Jawny said:

The only issue after that was when I first logged in.  I am guessing the system detected I was logging in from overseas.  I was directed to choose one of two methods to verify it was me.  First method, send a text message to the phone number listed.  Second method was to receive a call whereby I would be confirmed to be myself. 

I opted for the text message, and it was easy for me to get the code sent by my contact.  I had. 60 minutes to complete the code use.  Worked like a charm.

You may have just answered one of my questions.  Posters here have addressed how they maintain a physical address (mail drop services); and local computer presence (VPNs).  I was going to ask how one emulates a local telephone number.  In Jawny's case, a contact forwarded a code needed for verification.  I'm not sure why this was needed.  Would it have been possible to use Google Voice or other service to receive an SMS message?

I guess I will have to read up on VPNs.  As a starting point though, are they similar to proxy servers?  Is the situation one in which the VPN is installed on a server physically located inside the U.S., and the user logs into the VPN?  Or is a VPN installed within the user's computer?  

Lots to learn I guess.

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Dafey

I have a VPN App I downloaded on my computer. It's free up to 500 mb a month so I need to remember to turn it off after I'm done. However, I barely ever use it.

Iphone has a built in VPN you can turn on and off.

When I'm asked for a 2nd verification I always try to opt for email. 

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Jawny
39 minutes ago, Voyager39 said:

a contact forwarded a code needed for verification.  I'm not sure why this was needed.  Would it have been possible to use Google Voice or other service to receive an SMS message?

 

When the account is set up, the user is asked to provide a primary and secondary contact number.  Turns out, these numbers can’t already be used by Capital One.  For example, the original owner of the account.  That number won’t work.  Once the numbers are selected (only one is needed, but better it there is two)...they become the default number that the account holder uses in the event a verification code is needed.  

So, when I log in, I will probably always be asked to use the verification process.  I can choose one of two methods....a code sent by text or a voice call.  The voice call can be an issue if someone else answers.  So, the text message is simpler.....assuming the phone can receive texts. 

Thus is not an account I expect I will ever need to log into.  It’s just good to have the ability to do so.

BTW, the verification process if you call them includes a process where an ID is scanned such as a passport.  Slightly cumbersome, but once done, they are satisfied the person on the phone is who they say they are (of course that person could also be the one that found your passport and SSAN....just sayin)  

I have no clue about google voice or such.  I do know the Capital One folks were pretty accommodating, but limited in their ability to use just any phone.  For example, a foreign phone number is not allowed.

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RangerUp
9 hours ago, Jawny said:

I opted for the text message, and it was easy for me to get the code sent by my contact. 

I wouldn't call it "easy" to require a separate contact in the US just to receive a  text message code from Capital One. I'd call a code sent by email easy, like most banks do.

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throttleplate
13 hours ago, RangerUp said:

I wouldn't call it "easy" to require a separate contact in the US just to receive a  text message code from Capital One. I'd call a code sent by email easy, like most banks do.

i have a bank in usa that does not use email to verify, only usa phone message or phone call and i use my sisters phone number and yes its a pain in the rear as i have the time difference to deal with and her availability for her to answer and check her messages.

I have since drained all my money from that bank and even a phone call to them to help me log in was flat out a no as they told me they are strict and i must follow the rules and they also must follow.

And no you cannot use a VOIP phone call as they said it wont get past their security so i tried by subscribing to a voip service and they were correct it doesnt work.

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