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Before heading to the airport, make sure you’ve met the requirements for entering or reentering the United States. This includes traveling with large amounts of money. Here’s what you need to know about bringing money into the USA on a plane.
How Do I Pack Money For International Travel?
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Twitter page recommends travelers seek advice from their airline on how to safely pack money for international travel. Generally, travelers should consider placing money in their carry-on bag and securing it with a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved lock.
What Qualifies as 'Money'?
Paper money used as legal monetary tender in the United States or the country of issuance, traveler's checks, gold coins and securities or stocks (in bearer form) all count as money. “Bearer form” describes a situation in which there is no owner of record so the person that holds possession of the securities or stock certificate is considered the owner.
How Much Money Can I Bring?
There's no limit. Transport as much money as needed to the United States on an airplane. However, if you’re planning on bringing $10,000.00 or more, (see “What Qualifies as Money?”), then you must report to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon arrival in the United States. Reporting includes filing FinCEN Form 105. Gold bullion is not subject to the reporting requirement. Families traveling together will need to complete the form for each person who meets the minimum reporting threshold.
Where Can I Obtain FinCEN Form 105?
FinCEN Form 105, Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments, can be downloaded from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website or obtained from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. It’s best to have the form completed before your trip so it can be presented upon arrival in the United States. NOTE: Even though information regarding the transportation of more than $10,000.00 is requested on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Customs Declaration form, you are still required to complete FinCEN Form 105 if you meet the reporting threshold.
What If I Don't Report?
If you do not report as required, the money may be seized by the United States government. If your funds are seized by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer, you will need to follow the agency’s process which includes receiving written notification of seizure within three (3) working days. The notification should then direct you on the next steps regarding your case.
Here’s something else to keep in mind: it’s not only United States federal law that you report the funds but that you report them accurately. Failure to disclose the full amount may be viewed as fraud. Violators are subject to civil and criminal penalties which could result in $500,000.00 in fines and ten years in prison.