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Philadelphia CBP Seizes more than $39k in Unreported Jamaica-Bound Currency

Release Date: 
June 19, 2017

PHILADELPHIA — Federal currency reporting requirements are simple.  International travelers can carry as much currency as they wish into and out of the United States, but they must report all U.S. and foreign monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or greater on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form.  None of the currency is taxed.

The consequences for violating federal currency reporting requirements are severe:  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers may seize the currency, and officers may criminally charge the violator.

Yet, travelers continue to conceal currency or remain less than truthful during CBP inspections.

CBP officer at international airport
CBP officer at international airport

A Jamaica-bound traveler departing Philadelphia International Airport Thursday learned this lesson the hard way when CBP officers seized $39,225 that she possessed.  The traveler initially reported that she possessed less than $10,000.  After CBP officers thoroughly explained the currency reporting requirements, she wrote down that she possessed $20,000.  A CBP inspection revealed $39,225.

“This currency seizure illustrates the importance and consequences of travelers complying with all U.S. laws, including currency reporting regulations,” said Shawn Polley, Acting CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.  “The best way to keep all of your currency is to honestly report it all to a to Customs and Border Protection officers during inspection.”

The traveler was not criminally charged and was allowed to continue her journey to Jamaica.

“As the nation’s border security agency, Customs and Border Protection is charged with enforcing hundreds of laws and regulations at our nation’s international ports of entry,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the mid-Atlantic region. “CBP plays a critical role in helping to keep our communities safe, and it’s a responsibility that we take very seriously.”

Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP’s Travel section to learn more about the CBP admissions process and rules governing travel to and from the U.S.

The Privacy Act prohibits releasing the travelers’ names since they were not criminally charged.

CBP’s Office of Field Operations

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S.  In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong. 

On a typical day, CBP seizes $289,609 in undeclared or illicit currency along our nation’s borders.  Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2016.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.  Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.

Learn more about CBP at CBP.gov.

Last modified: 
June 20, 2017