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Questions for American expats
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Gus Barkley



Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:11 pm    Post subject: Questions for American expats Reply with quote

Question #1
What service would you recommend for sending money from the US to the UAE? I am used to sending money from here back the US but since I want to buy a car and I've sent too much money home I need to go the other direction. I tried Western Union and they literally refused me. I asked, "Would this be a problem if I were sending my money from Iowa to New York?"
"No."
"So it's only a problem because I want to send money to the middle east?"
"Yes."
It is safe to say I will never, ever use Western Union again for any transaction.

So any other ideas?

Question #2
My health insurance from my employer (UAEU in my case) covers me in the US but only pays out based on hospital rates in the UAE. I know of two people working here who faced $50,000+ bills due to medical emergencies while in the US. The reimbursement rate was THAT much lower. Is there a decent high deductible plan available for a month vacation in the US?

Question #3
Under Obamacare we have to prove we have health insurance or pay a fine. Does anyone know how this will work for expats? How do we prove we have insurance from a company that doesn't report to our government?

I appreciate any insightful information. Smile
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peripatetic_soul



Joined: 20 Oct 2013
Posts: 46
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:01 pm    Post subject: Question for American Ex-pats Reply with quote

Hi, Gus,
I was in UAE for several years and am back in the US. Here is a website that will address your questions about Obamacare and ex-pats. Basically, you are exempt if you file Foreign Exclusion and can prove you have lived outside of the US for stipulated period of time that qualifies you for that filing.
http://yucalandia.com/living-in-yucatan-mexico/aca-obamacares-effects-on-american-expats-living-abroad/

The website has so many glitches, the healthcare.gov employees are so incompetent and unable to answer your questions, and the whole system is replete with snags that I wouldn't worry if I were you. Regards, PS
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peripatetic_soul



Joined: 20 Oct 2013
Posts: 46
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:13 pm    Post subject: Questions for American Ex-Pats--Sending money back Reply with quote

Hi, Gus,
I encountered this situation while in UAE. My sister has power of attorney so she was able to wire money back to my HSBC account from the U.S. I also established a relationship with the head teller back home (used a credit union) so I would email that person with any of my needs in UAE and during travels. I highly recommend a credit union. They are really concerned about the security of your account. I would email the teller and let her know I spent X, Y and Z in such a country so that she would not block the transaction. You will need to furnish your routing number to the bank in UAE as well and best to establish a relationship on that end as well. Of course, regular banks in the US are always looking for ways to charge you fees, e.g., receiving wired $ from a non-USD country, which is why I changed to the credit union where no fees were involved. Good luck.
P_S
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peripatetic_soul



Joined: 20 Oct 2013
Posts: 46
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:16 pm    Post subject: Questiosn for American Ex-pats - Western Union Reply with quote

Hey, Gus,
Never ever use Western Union. This is NOT a secure transaction and if money gets lost in transit, it's your loss. Even if you want to make a deposit on a rental while vacationing overseas, never wire money from Western Union. The landlord can deny receipt and you have no proof to verify same b/c anyone could cash that Western Union transfer so it's your word against the intended recipient. Best to transact through a bank or credit union at all times. Hope I've addressed your concerns.

P_S
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 843

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:37 am    Post subject: Re: Questiosn for American Ex-pats - Western Union Reply with quote

peripatetic_soul wrote:
Hey, Gus,
Never ever use Western Union. This is NOT a secure transaction and if money gets lost in transit, it's your loss. Even if you want to make a deposit on a rental while vacationing overseas, never wire money from Western Union. The landlord can deny receipt and you have no proof to verify same b/c anyone could cash that Western Union transfer so it's your word against the intended recipient. Best to transact through a bank or credit union at all times. Hope I've addressed your concerns.

P_S


That is absolutely not true. The person who is receiving the money had to show an ID, and sign for the money, so if you are mailing it to someone who you KNOW, there is no chance of the money being lost. Even if you send it to someone you don't know and they try to say they didn't get it Western Union will provide you with the copy of the signed receipt. Having said that, you might want to look at Xoom, it has more options than Western Union and is cheaper.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16064
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:23 am    Post subject: Re: Question for American Ex-pats Reply with quote

peripatetic_soul wrote:
The website has so many glitches, the healthcare.gov employees are so incompetent and unable to answer your questions, and the whole system is replete with snags that I wouldn't worry if I were you. Regards, PS

It seems that a few million managed to get beyond the glitches and I'm not surprised that the employees don't know all the answers. I doubt that many of them even encounter any expats to have researched our rather odd situation.

And the links provided show that it follows the IRS rules for income exemption. That is good to know. Thus, if you are completing form 2555 with your taxes, you are exempt from the healthcare or the fines until you return. I didn't read all of those links, but if you permanently move back to the US, you would certainly be eligible to get onto the plans at any time of the year under the rule that allows you to apply after major life changes (like losing a job that has coverage).

When I was overseas, every year for summer leave I got a short term health insurance policy through the local travel agent. It was a British company whose name I don't recall at this point, but you had the choice of covering all of the world, including the US... or for less you could exclude the US.

As to transferring money back to the Gulf, you should be able to arrange it with your US bank. Have you tried calling them? If that doesn't seem to be a possibility, that would leave asking a relative to wire it to you.

VS
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Gus Barkley



Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thank all of you for the great feedback. I will search for traveler's insurance. Is there any particular company to recommend? (Assuming that's allowed on the forum.)

My bank situation is that I bank at a very small town bank. They are not capable of an international transfer. My attempt to send money was calling a friend in the US and having her stop by to pick up the money and take it to Western Union. Even though she had the receipt showing the money came from MY bank account and going to ME in the UAE, Western Union was not willing to process it. I believe in fraud protection but I'm hard-pressed to see how they could view it as fraudulent. In fact, their suggestion to me was to have my friend deposit the money into her bank account and then transfer it. To me, that's crossing a line into money laundering and for an amount of $10,000 could run my friend into tax issues. Anyhow, I am still seeking other options for sending money from the US. If it means switching banks I can but I appreciate being able to call a bank and have the people on the other end know my voice. Smile
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4318
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gus Barkley wrote:
Anyhow, I am still seeking other options for sending money from the US. If it means switching banks I can but I appreciate being able to call a bank and have the people on the other end know my voice. Smile

Look into credit unions. They offer pretty much the same products and services as banks, but their customer service generally rates higher than banks because they're smaller and community oriented.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16064
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gus Barkley wrote:
My bank situation is that I bank at a very small town bank. They are not capable of an international transfer. ... If it means switching banks I can but I appreciate being able to call a bank and have the people on the other end know my voice. Smile

I can't imagine a bank so small that it can't do an international transfer. After all, are they not receiving your transfers? This will likely not come up again, so you should be able to keep this bank and your relationship with them. (which is very rare nowadays)

Although your friend doing it would have no tax consequences, it would draw questions from the bank(s) involved as they have to be able to explain sources of large cash amounts. The Middle East connection would make it more... attention drawing. Laughing An immediate family member would draw fewer problematic questions and not look quite so much like money laundering.

VS
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2buckets



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 349
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used Western Union often to send money mostly to China and also the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. NEVER had any problems. I did find that if I went to a supermarket customer service desk that did WU transactions, they were less curious about where the money was going.

Here's how it works:

You go the WU office in the US, they are everywhere, give them the money and the EXACT NAME OF THE RECIPIENT, country and city. They will give you a TRANSACTION NUMBER. When it gets to the UAE, you go to any WU outlet, show identification and give the TRANSACTION NUMBER, and pick up the money in dollars or AED. The fee is any where between $20. and up, depending on how much is sent. The money gets there in 15 minutes.

Western Union no longer sends telegrams, money transfers are their biggest business. They do millions of transfers daily, from expat workers all over the world, (probably millions to Mexico from the US weekly).

They really have a great system, and are a major part of the "non bank" financial system.
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The Fifth Column



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 331
Location: His habitude with lexical items protrudes not unlike a damaged pollex!!!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Question for American Ex-pats Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:



When I was overseas, every year for summer leave I got a short term health insurance policy through the local travel agent. It was a British company whose name I don't recall at this point, but you had the choice of covering all of the world, including the US... or for less you could exclude the US.

VS


AXA...
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12736
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to check it out:

http://tinyurl.com/qdnkwlb


Regards,
John
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16064
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It wasn't AXA... but they are likely fine.

And PPP is, I believe, for a full time medical policy - though I didn't peruse the whole website. The travel policies are just for the length of time you are traveling and were very affordable. I assume that any travel agency can recommend a company.

VS
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The Fifth Column



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 331
Location: His habitude with lexical items protrudes not unlike a damaged pollex!!!

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
It wasn't AXA... but they are likely fine.

And PPP is, I believe, for a full time medical policy - though I didn't peruse the whole website. The travel policies are just for the length of time you are traveling and were very affordable. I assume that any travel agency can recommend a company.

VS


I assumed AXA as they seem to have summertime travelers insurance sewn up in the Khaleej, especially the UAE. Confused

P.s.- They're very good & reasonable.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16064
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what we needed... a recommendation of a current company. Cool

VS
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