How Much Money Can I Bring Into the United States?

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How Much Money Can I Bring Into the United States?
(Flickr.com/Mads Boedker)

When travelling outside the United States, people naturally want to bring souvenirs, gifts and other items from foreign nations into the country. There are rules and restrictions on many items, including cash. The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division of Homeland Security, is responsible for regulating these items. The CBP currently states that £6,500 is the threshold at which they apply certain constraints.

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No Restriction

There is actually no restriction on the amount of currency anyone can bring into the United States. However, if the currency is valued at or over £6,500 GBP (U.S. dollars), the traveller must submit a completed form FinCEN 105 (formerly CF 4790) declaring the amount and other details about the currency. The traveller must declare the amount of currency and submit this form to customs officials upon entering the country. This rule applies to people travelling together; for example, two people travelling together with £7,150 cannot split the money between themselves to avoid declaring it. Customs officials can provide the form, or travellers can download it from the CBP website.

Types of Currency

This rule applies whether the currency is U.S. or foreign coins, U.S. or foreign paper money, stocks, endorsed personal checks, travellers' checks, securities or money orders. If the traveller has physical possession of the currency, it must be declared. Customs officials will convert foreign currency into U.S. equivalents based on the day's conversion rate for the purposes of declaration.

Exceptions

Travellers to the U.S. do not have to declare checks or other monetary instruments that are not endorsed or that have restricted endorsements. They also do not have to declare gold bullion or credit cards with more than a £6,500 limit.

Non-Citizens

The traveller must declare possession of the currency whether he is a citizen of the United States or not. This applies whether the traveller's final destination is the United States or another country.

Consequences

When a traveller declares, through the FinCEN 105 form, that she has more than £6,500, CBP turns the form over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), who will then determine whether it will assess any taxes or fees. If she does not properly declare the currency, U.S. Customs officials can seize it.

Other Situations

Travellers do not have to declare a wire transfer made via regular banking procedures. The bank will report the transaction to the IRS. However, if a person ships more then £6,500 to the United States, whether by mail or other methods, he must declare this transaction and fill out the necessary form to submit to the CBP. Additionally, if an individual in the U.S. receives a shipment of money in excess of £6,500, she must declare that as well.

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