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Video Guide: Is It Illegal to Travel With More Than $10,000 US Dollars in Cash?
Cash and monetary instruments are permitted on domestic flights in the United States without restriction. However, a person with a large amount of cash may be asked by the TSA to provide proof of ownership.
A law enforcement agency may be called in if the TSA feels that the money is being used for illegal purposes, such as drug trafficking or money laundering (TSA has no law enforcement powers). Discover how to fly with large sums of cash by reading more.
Limits to cash on flights
It doesn’t matter how much money you think you have—a significant sum of money in the eyes of law enforcement and security agencies. An amount substantial enough to raise the awareness of law enforcement has a lot of money in it.
A large amount of money crammed into a backpack makes it look kind of weird. To travel internationally, you must report sums of more than $10,000 on your customs form, complete out form FinCEN 105, and be prepared for probable law enforcement interviews to justify the amount of money you’re carrying.
Only after you get in the United States does it matter what your currency is worth. It doesn’t matter if you have a suitcase full of cash; you must disclose any quantity of money above $10,000 while entering the nation.
How to fly safely on planes with your cash
Don’t put the cash in your checked luggage, of course. When they’re out of your sight, too many individuals have access to them, making it nearly hard to determine who took the money if it does go missing. TSA personnel have the authority to pat down passengers who attempt to carry large amounts of cash on their person, so don’t even think about it.
Putting cash in your carry-on, locking it with a TSA-approved lock, and never letting it out of your sight is usually the best compromise.
Keep your bag of cash in your sight at all times throughout secondary (extra) screening if you’ve been selected for it. After any screening, put your money in a safe place and out of the reach of others. There is a toilet at the airport where you can put on your money belt after you have passed security.
Domestic and International travel
There are no restrictions on how much money you can bring on an international flight to or from the United States. Passengers with $10,000 or more in cash, signed personal checks, travelers’ checks, gold coins, securities, or bearer stocks must notify US customs agents when they arrive in the country. If you don’t, you risk fines or even money confiscation.
Individuals, families, and other groups are all subject to the same reporting requirements. In the case of a five-person family flying together, each group member must disclose their share of the $11,000 total. Passengers are also obliged to disclose any non-US currencies or cash over $10,000.
On the other hand, if you’re flying out of the country with a lot of cash, gold, or other valuables, make sure you know the customs rules for your final destination. Traveling with cash is subject to different rules and restrictions depending on where you are. Check those regulations and laws before you fly, and if necessary, make alternate plans before you fly.
Securing your cash
When flying with cash, you should take a few simple precautions to avoid being a victim of theft or accidentally losing your money.
- Avoid carrying significant sums of money while on the road.
- Keep cash in a carry-on bag if you must travel with it.
- Checking luggage with valuables like cash, financial instruments, and precious metals is not a good idea.
- Don’t show off your cash or other valuables to strangers!
- Passing through a security checkpoint, keep your luggage and items in view.
- If your carry-on luggage is required to be inspected, be sure to keep your bag in view.
- Tell the truth if you’re asked about the quantity of money in your luggage by a TSA agent or other official.
As soon as possible, contact an airport police officer or other law enforcement representative (note that TSA agents are not law enforcement agents). If you suspect that an employee of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or other inspection area staff has stolen your property, contact a supervisor.
One of the most important things to remember is that this restriction applies to the currency from all countries, not just the United States. It doesn’t matter if you’re carrying British Pounds, Euros, or any other currency because they all match the conditions above.
Keep in mind that each currency and monetary instrument is counted individually. Having $6,000 in cash on hand plus a $5,000 traveler’s check puts you over the top.
When entering the United States, members living together in a single residence must indicate on a joint or family declaration if the family’s combined income exceeds the $10,000 threshold. This family must report their assets because they are more than $4,000 for a husband and $7,000 for a lady.