The United States has very strict laws when it comes to importing and exporting monetary instruments, including precious metals. The two branches that govern the transporting of monetary instruments are the Department of the Treasury and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The government entity that enforces the law is the U.S. Customs Service.
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Find out what the import and export limits are of the country you are travelling to, by checking with the foreign country's airport customs service. If you are importing or exporting via a mail or shipping service, ask the mail carrier (postal, shipper or courier) if any restrictions apply to the country you are importing and exporting from or to. The carrier will provide you with the necessary documents and forms you need to fill out before they handle your merchandise.
Fill out a "US Customs and Border Protection declaration form 6059B," which will be provided by the airline or cruise carrier on which you're travelling. If you're importing or exporting via mail carrier, skip to Step 4.
Declare the value of your precious metals on the declaration form if the amount is over £6,500.
Complete U.S. Customs "FinCEN form 105" if the value of your precious metals is over £6,500. The form contains all instructions that you need to follow (see Resources).
Pay taxes and duties on your precious metals if the value is over £6,500.
Tips and warnings
- It would be very helpful to hire the services of a Customs Broker in your state, to help you with Foreign Customs laws, fees and paperwork.
- You can also locate foreign customs services information by going to the U.S. Department of Commerce website Buy USA.
- For added protection, it wouldn't hurt to fill out U.S. Customs form 4457 "Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad" and CBP form 301 "Custom Bond" (insurance for importing).
- If you are a business entity, completing the correct forms is a must. You can find a complete list of U.S. Customs forms at the Customs Border Protection website.
- There is a fine and/or imprisonment for not completing the necessary forms when required. Be sure to fill out all of the forms and turn them in or mail them when asked.
- You risk confiscation of your precious metals if you do not declare a value of more than £6,500.
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