Best PracticesCurrency SeizureSeizures

Can I Bring in More Than $10,000 to the United States When Travelling?

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog January 10, 2012 15 Comments

I’m coming back into the United States and I need to bring in more than $10,000. I heard that it is illegal to bring that much money into the U.S. when you travel. Am I allowed to bring in more than $10,000 to the U.S. when I travel? 

The simple answer to this question is: YES

Many people are under the impression that you are not allowed to carry more than $10,000 into the United States; this is nothing more than an urban legend. The fact is that you may legally carry any amount of money you want into or out of the United States, but there is a catch. When transporting more than $10,000, you must file a report declaring the exact amount of funds you are transporting to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). To be clear, there are no customs duties, taxes or other fees paid to U.S. Customs for the international transportation of the money; it is merely a reporting requirement to U.S. Customs.  On a Typical Day in Fiscal Year 2015, CBP seized $356,396 in undeclared or illicit currency.

If persons traveling together have $10,000 or more, they cannot divide the currency between each other to avoid declaring the currency. For example, if one person is carrying $5,000 and the other has $6,000, they have a total of $11, 000 in their possession and must report it.

What happens if you don’t declare your money? The penalties and repercussions can be severe. If you are stopped by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer and more than $10,000 is found on your person or in your belongings and this money was not declared, you run the very real risk of CBP taking all of the money you were carrying… and keeping it. Failure to report the international transportation of money is serious business. Not only could you lose your money forever, you may be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

On a side note, reporting requirements are not limited to cash dollars. The same requirements apply for various monetary instruments, including foreign currency, traveler’s checks, domestic or foreign bank notes, securities or stocks in bearer form. To learn more about the requirements of the Currency and Foreign Transaction Reporting Act, click here.

And if you are reading this blog post because you failed to report your funds and CBP has seized your money, your best bet is to contact an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced with these matters (info@diaztradelaw.com). There is an administrative process by which you can attempt to recuperate your funds and having the assistance of a skilled attorney is key to maximizing your chance of getting your money back and minimizing your chances of exposing yourself to civil and criminal fines.

My firm and I are greatly experienced with these matters, having handled hundreds of these types of cases nationwide. This is a Federal process most often done through email, telephone and snail mail correspondence with the Federal Government and so we can help no matter where in the country you are located or your monies were seized. Although we are located in South Florida, we handle cases all over the country. 

We have a webpage dedicated to Currency Seizures HERE with REAL SEIZURE NOTICE examples from CBP, a video describing the process and a sampling of some of our REAL successful results.

*Successful Past Results

Some REAL examples include:

  • $54,000 Seized by CBP – $49,000 Returned to our client
  • $50,800 Seized by CBP – $45,800 Returned to our client
  • $39,000 Seized by CBP – $36,500 Returned to our client
  • $37,360 Seized by CBP – $33,500 Returned to our client
  • $31,062 Seized by CBP – $28,562 Returned to our client
  • $16,334 Seized by CBP – $15,334 Returned to our client

Additional blog posts on currency seizures may be found HERE.

Contact us at info@diaztradelaw.com today to discuss your specific case.

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15 Comments

Steve May 23, 2012 at 10:24 am

What type of documentation do you need to support that the cash is yours? I been working in Afghanistan for 2 years and will be returning home this summer with approximately $50,000 in cash.

I have looked into wire transferring the money but the local Western Union will only transfer $2000 per transaction and cannot transfer to a bank, must be direct to a person and there is limited amounts of transaction per week, etc….so it’s really not an option.

thanks

Reply
george July 4, 2012 at 6:00 am

suppose, I carry less than $10000, do I still have to prove that the money is legit?
I have been frequently asked how much money I have even though my declaration says less than $10000.

Reply
John Myers August 23, 2012 at 3:43 am

Is it possible to check if a FINCEN form was filed for a passenger? Does US Customs have historical records?

Reply
Jen Diaz January 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Yes, you can submit a FOIA – Freedom of Information Act Request to Customs to get declaration forms, BUT, you need the consent of the person who declared the funds to get it!

Reply
Vijay Ravulapalli May 16, 2016 at 10:56 am

If a family of 4 are travelling, how will this 10k work, can each person carry less then 10k that need not be declared ?

Reply
Jennifer Diaz June 3, 2016 at 12:49 am

Check out this blog post – lays it all out for you! If you still have questions – schedule a consultation with us by emailing info@diaztradelaw.com.

http://customsandinternationaltradelaw.com/2013/12/13/international-travelers-beware-u-s-customs-will-seize-your-money-if/#more-1578

Today, CBP issued a final rule, “to broaden the definition of “members of a family residing in one household” to more accurately reflect relationships for U.S. citizens, residents and international visitors who are traveling together as a family.”

CBP confirmed “the expansion of the term will include long-term same-sex couples and other domestic relationships which would allow more returning U.S. citizens, residents and international visitors to file a joint customs declaration for items acquired abroad. The rule will be effective thirty days after publication in the Federal Register.”

CBP clarified the definition of “domestic relationship” and advised it includes “foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards, other dependents, and individuals with an in loco parentis or guardianship relationship. Also included within the definition two adults who are in a committed relationship including, but not limited to, long-term companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships where the partners share financial assets and obligations, and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else. Members of a family residing in one household” will continue to encompass relationships of blood, adoption, and marriage.”

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Rohit Khanna May 16, 2016 at 11:51 am

What do you mean by persons travelling together? I am travelling with my wife and kid and have bought the 3 tickets together. My other son is also travelling with us, but I have bought the trip separately since his return date is different. Would you count all 4 of us travelling together?

Thanks in advance

Reply
Jennifer Diaz June 3, 2016 at 12:48 am

Check out this blog post – lays it all out for you!

http://customsandinternationaltradelaw.com/2013/12/13/international-travelers-beware-u-s-customs-will-seize-your-money-if/#more-1578

Today, CBP issued a final rule, “to broaden the definition of “members of a family residing in one household” to more accurately reflect relationships for U.S. citizens, residents and international visitors who are traveling together as a family.”

CBP confirmed “the expansion of the term will include long-term same-sex couples and other domestic relationships which would allow more returning U.S. citizens, residents and international visitors to file a joint customs declaration for items acquired abroad. The rule will be effective thirty days after publication in the Federal Register.”

CBP clarified the definition of “domestic relationship” and advised it includes “foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards, other dependents, and individuals with an in loco parentis or guardianship relationship. Also included within the definition two adults who are in a committed relationship including, but not limited to, long-term companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships where the partners share financial assets and obligations, and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else. Members of a family residing in one household” will continue to encompass relationships of blood, adoption, and marriage.”

Reply
Jean Pierre June 13, 2016 at 1:15 pm

I inherited USD $15,000 in a foreign country. I want to bring it to the US. What problems may I come across even if I declare it? I hear that it may be taxed or even held until CBP determines that it really was inherited.

Reply
Jennifer Diaz November 11, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Good question. I typically help my clients with the documentation you should have on hand when hand carrying currency. If you want to discuss your personal case scenario after reviewing our blog post, please schedule a consultation with us by emailing info@diaztradelaw.com.

Reply
Alice June 19, 2016 at 1:23 am

Say if my parents travel together with my aunt who is the blood sister of my mother, does that count as two families or one? Thank you!

Reply
Jennifer Diaz June 20, 2016 at 2:59 pm

Check out this blog post – lays it all out for you! If you still have questions – schedule a consultation with us by emailing info@diaztradelaw.com.
http://customsandinternationaltradelaw.com/2013/12/13/international-travelers-beware-u-s-customs-will-seize-your-money-if/#more-1578
Today, CBP issued a final rule, “to broaden the definition of “members of a family residing in one household” to more accurately reflect relationships for U.S. citizens, residents and international visitors who are traveling together as a family.”
CBP confirmed “the expansion of the term will include long-term same-sex couples and other domestic relationships which would allow more returning U.S. citizens, residents and international visitors to file a joint customs declaration for items acquired abroad. The rule will be effective thirty days after publication in the Federal Register.”
CBP clarified the definition of “domestic relationship” and advised it includes “foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards, other dependents, and individuals with an in loco parentis or guardianship relationship. Also included within the definition two adults who are in a committed relationship including, but not limited to, long-term companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships where the partners share financial assets and obligations, and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else. Members of a family residing in one household” will continue to encompass relationships of blood, adoption, and marriage.”

Reply
S.khan October 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm

If I bring e.a. $25k, cash is us custom ask me where I get this money

Reply
Jennifer Diaz November 11, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Hello S. Khan – after you declare the funds, CBP can request information on the source of the funds (after all, they are looking for money laundering/criminal activity). If you still have questions – schedule a consultation with us by emailing info@diaztradelaw.com.

Reply
Sean Vo December 8, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Very good,very helpful Sean Vo

Reply

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