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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 101532
Experience:  Private practice in several areas, including immigration
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I am not sure if this is an immigration law question, but it

Customer Question

I am not sure if this is an immigration law question, but it is sort of related thereto. My fiance (a Chinese national) has just had her K-1 and daughter's K-2 visas approved. In the meantime, she needs to begin to transfer money here to the US. She has a friend that owes her money to repay a personal loan and she wants her friend to transfer it to my credit union account and I can then transfer later to an account for her in an American bank. Are there tax or other banking-related laws that will create trouble for me? Essentially, the money will park there for less than two months and then transfer to another bank account that is not in my name. She also has other money to transfer from several bank accounts she has in Hong Kong and China. We do not want to violate any laws, but we do not want to end up with a lot of scrutiny, paperwork and tax trouble simply to transfer money she has already earned as a Chinese citizen to an American institution.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

How much money is going to be transferred?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The loan repayment from her friend is $36,000 USD. However, she also holds an additional $500k USD and $500k AUS in her Hong Kong bank that she will ultimately need to transfer. China has placed significant capital controls in place, so we expect transferring that money may (may not) be simpler once we are married and she has completed her change of status for her provisional green card... but I obviously have no idea if that even matters to the Chinese government.
Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.

Thank you. US has a federal law that any amount over $10,000, or aggregates thereof, or really anything suspicious, can and must be reported to the US Treasury. See HERE.

She can expect that the money would be reported. However, provided that this has nothing to do with illegal matters, it should not really matter. For example, plenty of rich foreigners come study on visas - even royalty - and have thousands or even millions transferred to them.

But she may be asked about this by the authorities at some point. So she should have all the paperwork to show that everything is legitimate.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of THREE OR MORE STARS and then click FINISH to submit that rating, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating (it does not cost anything extra to rate).

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
a transfer to my account from her friend to repay a loan my fiance made to her friend would likely raise some suspicion, since it was a personal loan; i.e., no documentation? Irrespective of the bank reporting requirements for amounts in excess of $10k, would the transfer be simpler once we are married; i.e., does it essentially become a spousal gift in the eyes of the IRS? How do people transfer millions of dollars out of China with the $50k per person per year limits in place?
Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.
So a transfer to my account from her friend to repay a loan my fiance made to her friend would likely raise some suspicion,
YES.
since it was a personal loan; i.e., no documentation?
The parties involved can enter into a post-matter contract to confirm that the debt is owed. This would help.
Irrespective of the bank reporting requirements for amounts in excess of $10k, would the transfer be simpler once we are married; i.e., does it essentially become a spousal gift in the eyes of the IRS?
If you mean the DEBTOR and CREDITOR get married? Well, it would be less suspicious but would still be flagged by the system, likely.
How do people transfer millions of dollars out of China with the $50k per person per year limits in place?
US has no limits to transfer in or out. If China has it, many people cheat the system. China is rife with corruption.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE THREE OR MORE STARS and click FINISH to submit your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thanks... I think this question may be somewhat on the fringe of your experience. I am very familiar with the Chinese and US rules, I am simply trying to limit the amount of paperwork/scrutiny. I realize I will receive some. I think I may try another avenue for advice. Thanks again.
Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.

No problem. Actually this happens more often than you'd think. But the general answer is that it should not be an issue provided it can be explained away and it really has no connection to drugs or terrorism.

If this was coming from - say - Turkey or Lebanon - there would be much bigger questions.

Good luck, and please don't forget to RATE my answer with three or more stars and then click FINISH to submit that rating – it is the only way I get credit for my time with you – or, please use the SEND button to keep on chatting – I want you to be satisfied.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
This may not be a true immigration law question... if you are not familiar with Chinese capital controls or how others manage to transfer their savings from China before and after they marry, then please pass on this question -- I do not want to waste your time. Thank you.

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