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I want to know if the unusual scenario of money orders written to myself would work as proof of sufficient funds, instead of the usual credit cards or bank statements. This is because I am currently in a situation where this is my only possible option and it is very lengthy to explain but I am hoping for a basic enough answer to help me along.

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    Even if you're being paid in money orders, what would be stopping you from opening a bank account and depositing them into it? Are you doing something dodgy to avoid getting your wages garnished for child support or something? Are you a criminal trying to launder dirty money? Worst of all, could you be an illegal immigrant who's trying to avoid leaving a paper trail?
    – nick012000
    Sep 4 at 11:55
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    How will you use the money order to pay for anything in a foreign country?
    – phoog
    Sep 4 at 12:50
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    Are you using the word "myself" to be more formal, or are these money orders from you to yourself? How are you planning to come by them? (I have not even seen a money order this century, much less used one.) For what do you need to show sufficient funds? This question needs this sort of information to be answerable. Sep 4 at 14:29
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    @nick012000 being an illegal immigrant is worse than being a criminal? Sep 5 at 11:31
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    What is a "money order"? Is it like a cheque?
    – Aaron F
    Sep 5 at 12:35
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In short: we don't know as we are not border control and this is at their discretion but I have a suspicion.

You didn't specify a country but you don't need to.

The answer is no, no, no, no.

People, you want to be boring at the border. We see saw many of these questions trying to outsmart border control, regulations -- but the border guard have already seen everything you could possibly think of, ten thousand times over.

Most of the time, proof of funds won't arise these days at border control. Sure it will for visa request but at the border it's not usual any more: either you have a visa and thus already vetted or come from a visa exempt country where they presume you are good. Actual border refusals are exceedingly rare. Thus, if it does come up, it's an unusual scenario and just about the last thing you want in an unusual scenario is an unusual answer. The border guard will have seconds on spot to make a decision. They will err on the safe side and you can enjoy a swift trip home.

In other words, if they want to verify your ties to your home country and you come up with ... that? what do you think is going to happen?? Because that's what they are chiefly concerned about: are you going to leave or stay and become an illegal worker. (Beyond, of course, admitting dangerous people.)

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    +1. If you're already in a position where they think something is unusual enough about you that they're asking for proof of funds, no good comes from compounding the problem by showing a weird sort of money that raises a lot more questions. Sep 4 at 7:31
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    I am guessing that the OP is based in North America. She or he should also keep in mind that money orders are not known in most countries. Sep 4 at 9:53
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    Key principle to live buy when dealing with borders, visas and similar bureaucracies: "you want to be boring". If they're used to seeing X, that's what you give, even if something else would make more sense.
    – dbkk
    Sep 5 at 18:34
  • @dbkk isn't that just a restatement of the answer?
    – user253751
    Sep 6 at 16:25
  • @user253751 Yes, but it applies in a broader context.
    – dbkk
    Sep 10 at 14:00
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This doesn't really add much to chx's excellent answer. But...

How can you possibly be in a situation where showing a money order is the only way to prove you have funds? Let's examine the possibilities? If you have good finances, but you've been dealing entirely on the basis of cash and have no statements, then stop travelling; open a bank account, get a credit card, start using them. When you've got a few months of statements start travelling. You can get a free credit card anywhere, and if you can't afford bank fees then you can't afford to travel.

The only alternative is that your finances are actually bad, and you've worked out some sort of scheme where you can obtain a money order just so you can show it to immigration. That's bad, and it's exactly the sort of thing immigration is trying to prevent.

I can think immediately of two ways this could be you trying to get around immigration rules - the money order may be fake, or you may have persuaded someone to write a real one for you on the promise that you will never cash it (or will pay it back). Both of those are immigration fraud. Believe me, if I can come up with those in a few minutes an immigration officer will take less then a tenth of a second to think of both of them.

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    I can't help but feel like this makes a lot of assumptions that whilst true in Western countries, may not be true in all developing nations Sep 7 at 8:28
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When you actually enter into the Schengen area, you have to show (on demand, not always) that you have the funds for subsistence during your stay. Usually that means a form which hotels, or supermarkets, or restaurants are going to accept as payment. There are countries which accept telegraphic money orders. And others which do not.

But I agree with the answer by chx, people in "complicated" financial situations are not the kind of tourist or business traveler who are welcomed. If you genuinely have that money, and if you have no other way to transfer it, carry cash. Amounts over €10,000 must be declared, but they are legal.

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    There's no EU country which demands over 100 EUR a day as a proof of subsistence and you can't stay for more than 90 days. So no, you don't need more than ten grand. Also, while they won't confiscate it like the Americans do but again, if the subsistence question comes up and your answer is a giant wad of cash, expect rather pointed questions -- again because, let's face it, that's not normal.
    – chx
    Sep 4 at 11:55
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    @chx, consider a family and you might reach that ballpark. And Germany explicitly allows money orders. That one country I know of. Others don't.
    – o.m.
    Sep 4 at 12:17
  • I believe the 10.000€ limit is per person, so while a family needs more money, they can also brng more. Sep 9 at 11:05
  • @Henriksupportsthecommunity, a child with that much cash in the carry-on luggage would certainly raise more questions than an adult simply declaring the total sum.
    – o.m.
    Sep 9 at 12:13
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Money orders are not very useful in international travel. Technically, you may be able to deposit them at a foreign bank, but even then it will taken some time for them to clear.

If you are looking for an option similar to money orders, travellers cheques could be somewhat better. In principle, they could be used for purchases or exchanged for cash in the country you're visiting. However, note that the use of travellers cheques is declining.

While travellers cheques would be relatively unusual nowadays as a proof of funds at the border, they would not be entirely unreasonable.

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    In Canada at least AMEX stopped selling travellers cheques in 2018. The Paris office of AmEx, that near legendary bastion of American finance in Europe (article from 1970), is now closed. You might be able to get one in the USA somehow but elsewhere I think it'd be a challenge to say the least.
    – chx
    Sep 4 at 20:08
  • "Traveller cheques" now often are delivered as a pre-payed ATM card... Sep 5 at 9:33
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    @chx - oh, thank you for the blast from the past! I used that Amex office as my 'bank' when I lived/worked in Paris for a year in the 80's. Cashed personal checks from my US checking account (where I was getting paid) weekly (with my Amex card). No fee, good exchange rate. The process of getting a checking account at an actual French bank was difficult, even with my Carte de Séjour. (Those were the days when we typically used checks, of course, I know that that too is now a blast from the past....)
    – davidbak
    Sep 5 at 15:50
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    Actually, traveller cheques are a great thing to have anyway when you are travelling! I never had to use them to prove that I have sufficient funds but I lost my wallet once and with it and all bank cards and cash. The traveller cheques in my suitcase came in really handy that day..! I always carry around 1.000 USD worth of traveller cheques whenever I travel abroad. I needed them only once - but believe me, I was really glad that I had them that one time... Sep 6 at 7:47
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    As a side note, when I moved from USA to UK (in 2003), I carried most of my funds in a form of Amex traveller's cheques. I knew I was moving for good, so closed my bank account in the USA, but didn't have a bank account in the UK just yet. When I closed the USA account (in Virginia if that matters), I got all the funds from it in Amex traveller's cheques, as those are issued to a named individual and can be restored (for a fee) in case of loss/theft. I had no problem depositing them into my UK bank account after I opened it, but it took 3 weeks to clear.
    – Aleks G
    Sep 6 at 17:40

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