Currency SeizureInternational TravelSeizuresU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

International Travelers Beware – U.S. Customs WILL Seize Your Money…

posted by Jennifer Diaz December 13, 2013 7 Comments

Money given away

International travelers often contact me with the same distraught face as the man pictured to my left, after their money is confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as a result of not properly declaring currency on hand.

Declaration Form 6059B will look familiar to all international travelers as you fill it out when entering the U.S.  Many times, the rationale for seizure is that parties traveling together split their currency, and even though together they have over the $10,000 minimum, the travelers advise they are each carrying less then the $10,000 minimum requirement for reporting (in question 13 of Form 6059B), resulting in ALL of the currency on hand being seized. On a Typical Day in Fiscal Year 2015, CBP seized $356,396 in undeclared or illicit currency.

Recently, CBP seized $82,000 of currency, and arrested the female driver, after discovering three packages of bulk currency hidden within a vehicle as a female driver attempted to exit the U.S. and enter Mexico.

During this holiday season, this post will tell you what you need to know to assure it’s NOT YOU that has their currency seized when traveling internationally!

New Rule

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.”

If Currency is Seized:

Contact an expert in CBP seizure cases, and discuss your options, including filing a Petition with CBP.  I am a board certified expert in International Law, and have assisted numerous international travelers with successfully recovering currency seized.  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
  • $31,062 Seized by CBP – $28,562 Returned to our client
  • $16,334 Seized by CBP – $15,334 Returned to our client
  • $37,360 Seized by CBP – $33,500 Returned to our client
  • $39,000 Seized by CBP – $36,500 Returned to our client

Helpful Tips for Future Travel:

If your currency is seized, contact me immediately and I’d be pleased to help you.

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Tom Thomas August 28, 2016 at 5:01 am

Our family of 4 will be traveling internationally soon, we are traveling separately 2 on one date and 2 of us two days later.
how much money can we bring in the U.S. legally without problems

Jennifer Diaz October 14, 2016 at 3:14 pm

We have many blog posts discussing what constitutes a family and what the reporting requirements are – check them out here:

For specific legal advice for yourself, contact us at for a consultation.

Martha A. October 15, 2016 at 4:35 am

Question: if one works outside the US and is paid a large sum by check & takes ck to the bank to deposit in own acct in the US &to also withdraw money, but is advised because of the amount the bank had to report it to customs & you are told you must pay 1% before funds can be released, is this a fact or is this false? Thank you for your response.

Jennifer Diaz October 17, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Martha – your case is a bit more specific, I’d need to see any and all documentation from the bank and would suggest a consultation. For more specific help for your case, contact us at today.

F. M. Black June 29, 2018 at 6:23 pm

I have a friend who did a contract job in Turkey (he’s an architect) & they ignorance he brought a lot of money back to the IS with him. He has been in custody for 3 weeks because without access to his funds he has no money to pay the 3800. fine the FCEN agent says it will take to get him out. He only likes 500. Having all his fine. I have all I could to help but I have no more money to put on his fine. Was the agent supposed to ask me for money? She did. Thank you,
F. Black

Jennifer Diaz September 11, 2018 at 11:30 am

Contact our office for assistance. or 305-456-3830.

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