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FAQs for Living and Working Overseas:

Written by a former Peace Corps Volunteer living overseas since 1989

The Expat Guy: FAQs for Working and Living Overseas

How do I send money home to pay my bills?

I have student loans and debts to pay back  home!

This is getting easier all the time. 

Many people head to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the Middle East to pay off student loans or other debts.  Sending money home is not difficult.  But, you need to set up a few things back home first.

Set up your Bank Account

You probably already have a bank account in your home country.  If not, set one up.  Before you go, ask the bank for their routing number, routing address or ABA routing number. The routing number - and your bank account number - are the numbers an overseas bank needs to send money to your account back home.  Some people will call this "wiring money home" and it is one of several options for sending money home.  It usually costs about US$25-50, so don't send small amounts or the charges will eat up too much of your money.  Ask your bank if they charge to receive money.  You don't want to be charged on both ends if you can avoid it.

You'll need to find a major bank in the town where you work - or sometimes you'll need to go to the capital city or a large regional center and find a bank that does foreign exchange.

Foreign banks will want to see your passport (of course) and often would like to see your working papers - take everything to the bank with your - the first time - until you know exactly what they want.  Different banks, even in the same country, will often have different requirements.  And don't be surprised if a different branch of the same bank has different requirements.

International Money Orders - or International Bank Checks (Cheques)

To save some money on the charges, some people will get an international bank check as they often cost as little as US$3-10.  But then you still have to mail the check home to someone you trust - or your bank - and hope it gets there okay.  There can also be delays while the check clears on your home side as well. 

Korea and Japan have excellent postal systems - so no worry there.  But, many other countries have unreliable postal systems and you will need to gauge the risk of losing the check and getting it replaced.  That can take a long time - perhaps as long as two or three months - or more.

Sending Cash Home

Not recommended, but I have, at one time or another, for one reason or another, just gotten cash and mailed it home to a relative to have it deposited in my account.  If you do this, conceal it well and don't register it - it needs to look as inconspicuous as possible to make sure it gets there.  Though many people are obsessed with registering mail - in some countries it cries out: "Steal me!" 

Mail the money only to someone you trust, of course.  I sent the money to my mother.  If you can't trust your mom . . .



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