“In some cases, a consulate may accept other forms of proof of assets, such as crypto-assets,” said Laura Bernard of the European Commission.
For international travelers who are still able to cross borders in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, using cryptocurrency to prove they have the means to survive abroad is a relatively new concept.
Many countries have closed their borders to visitors in order to protect their residents from COVID-19, but some have continued to accept students, retirees, and others seeking medium- to long-term stays through immigration. Under normal circumstances, entrants are sometimes required to present proof of funds, both to demonstrate that they have the necessary savings to provide for themselves and to reduce the likelihood that they will work illegally.
The definition of “Evidence of Funds” or “Proof of Funds” varies, but it is typically a bank statement, a line of credit, or simply showing an immigration officer cash holdings. However, some of the world’s 195 recognized countries have hinted that they are open to accepting cryptocurrency as proof of financial sufficiency as long as liquidity is established.
“In my 15+ years, I’ve never seen a consulate accept non-liquid financial documents, such as a holding portfolio, even if there are seven figures in the account,” said Evan James, COO of Peninsula Visa, a visa and passport processing company. “I understand that cryptocurrency is liquid, but I believe it would need to be presented almost as a bank account. if an applicant wants to use a cryptocurrency account, the onus would be on them to ensure the consulate is comfortable with its liquidity.”
According to the United Kingdom’s government website, “Bitcoin savings” are not acceptable financial evidence for student visa applicants. One of the consulates from a Schengen member country, which includes 26 European countries, told Peninsula Visa that it would only accept fiat bank statements as proof of funds at this time. Other immigration departments, on the other hand, hinted that there was nothing explicitly prohibiting travelers from using cryptocurrency to meet this requirement.
“There is no prohibition on using cryptocurrency as proof of funds, but applicants must provide evidence of the amount and ownership,” said Immigration New Zealand manager Marc Piercey. “Visa applicants will probably find it easier to show more traditional forms of funds, such as bank statements or credit card balances.”
The European Commission’s press officer, Laura Bernard, reiterated that bank statements or proof of income were required “in almost all cases,” but added that there was no universal policy for all EU member nations: “As each visa application is assessed on a case-by-case basis, there is no one-size-fits-all rule regarding the proof of sufficient financial means.” As a result, in some cases, a consulate may accept other forms of asset proof, such as crypto-assets, if the particular circumstances of the applicant and the intended journey justify it.”
According to our sources, a HODLer who plans to relocate abroad told a consular officer that he presented his crypto portfolio, salary history, and “a tiny bit of cash” as part of his application for a spousal visa. At the time of publication, the country was closed to short-term visitors and had only recently reopened to a limited number of foreign students and business visitors.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.