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CBP Makes Cash Seizures

Release Date: 
November 12, 2015

International travelers risk it all by not reporting currency

HOUSTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at airports in the Houston Field Office region have seized unreported currency totaling nearly $50,000 in past week.

“There is absolutely no limit to the amount of currency a traveler can bring into or take out of the United States,” said Houston CBP Director of Field Operations Jud Murdock. “The only requirement is travelers must report aggregate amounts that reach or exceed $10,000.”

Cash seized by CBP

CBP officers seized this cash from international travelers arriving to San Antonio International Airport because the travelers refused to provide a truthful report of the currency they were carrying.

U.S. law requires international travelers to properly report currency in their possession whether traveling into or departing from the United States.

While the Houston Field Office includes international airports in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, the most recent seizures occurred last week at San Antonio International Airport and at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport which are among the first currency seizures of the fiscal year. 

On Nov. 3, CBP officers working at the San Antonio International Airport discovered a pair of travelers carrying over $16,000 in unreported currency.  The travelers, who are citizens of Mexico and traveling together, arrived separately to CBP for processing and each reported they were traveling alone.  

Both who claimed to be traveling alone and reported carrying less than $10,000. However when question furthered, the travelers, a father, 53 and his daughter 27 admitted that they were in fact traveling together.  The amount of currency discovered among their belongings added up to $16,000.   The currency was seized for failure to properly report currency in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000.

Three days later at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport CBP officers seized currency from a traveler who was departing the United States head to Argentina.  The passenger reported $9,000 in his possession, however when CBP officers completed the currency verification, more than $33,400 was discovered.  The cash was found in several envelopes stashed among his belongings. CBP seized the currency.

“International travelers are provided multiple opportunities to truthfully report the amount of currency in their possession,” Murdock said.  “Those who refuse to comply with the federal reporting requirements face the risk of having the currency seized.”CBP officers at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport seized more than $33,000 after a traveler refused to truthfully report the currency in his possesion.

International travelers with negotiable monetary instruments valued at $10,000 or greater in their possession must complete a form FinCEN 105, Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments according to U.S. law.  Negotiable monetary instruments include currency, personal checks that have been endorsed, travelers’ checks, gold coins, securities or stocks in bearer form.

Currency is reported by completing FinCEN Form 105 and giving it to a CBP officer.  Currency is not limited to U.S. currency, but includes all negotiable monetary instruments such as Traveler’s Checks, money orders and securities.  A complete list of negotiable monetary instruments is available on FinCEN Form 105.

Last fiscal year, CBP seized more than $81, 496,161 in undeclared or illicit currency.

As the holiday travel season approaches, international travelers are encouraged to visit, Know Before You Go, to learn about reporting requirements and how to make proper declarations.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017