STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are facing an alarming trend of travelers violating U.S. currency reporting laws after officers seized $350,918 in unreported currency since New Year’s Eve from 14 groups of international travelers at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Thirteen of the seizures with a combined total of $327,304 in unreported currency occurred since January 15.
Thirteen unreported currency seizures were from travelers departing the United States; one seizure involved travelers arriving to the United States.
Twelve (12) unreported currency seizures were recorded on travelers destined to Africa. One additional outbound and the lone inbound seizure occurred on travelers departing to or arriving from Asia. All seizures remain under investigation.
Nearly half (six) of the seizures started with an alert by CBP currency detector dog Fuzz, a three-year-old yellow Labrador.
None of the travelers were criminally charged and were released to continue their travel.
In all cases, CBP officers explained U.S. currency reporting laws to the travelers and gave them multiple opportunities to truthfully report how much currency they possessed. Instead, all travelers remained evasive and continued to underreport their currency, both verbally and in writing on federal currency reporting forms.
There is no limit to how much currency or other monetary instruments travelers may bring to or take out of the United States. However, federal law [31 USC 5316] requires travelers to report all currency of $10,000 or greater to a CBP officer and complete U.S. Treasury Department Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments [FINCEN 105]. Read more about currency reporting requirements.
“The overwhelming majority of travelers fully comply with our nation’s laws, and we appreciate that. But this trend is very unfortunate and unexplainable considering that people may legally travel from and to the U.S. with as much currency they would like and all they need to do is simply report what they have to a Customs and Border Protection officer upon arrival or prior to departure from the United States,” said Kim Der-Yeghiayan, Acting Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Washington, D.C.
Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws may be severe – from missing a flight and interrupting vacation plans, to seeing all their currency seized by a CBP officer, to facing potential criminal prosecution for bulk currency smuggling.
CBP officers and agents seized an average of about $217,700 in unreported or illicit currency every day during 2022 along our nation’s borders. Unreported bulk currency may sometimes be the proceeds of illegal activity, such as financial fraud and money scams. Greed may also cause some travelers to smuggle unreported currency that they may have lawfully attained to shield it from family or business partners.
Travelers can get an early start on reporting their currency by completing the fillable FINCEN 105 form prior to a CBP arrivals or departure inspection.
CBP's border security mission is led at U.S. Ports of Entry and at overseas CBP Preclearance locations by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality. Learn what CBP accomplished during "A Typical Day" in 2022.