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Taking cash out of the US

Travel Forums North America Taking cash out of the US

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1. Posted by Bellamy (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 4 Apr '07 16:59

I'm going to Eastern Europe next week to visit some relatives, one of which called me up and said hey bro, as long as you're coming here can you bring me a fat envelope full of cash?

He's a magazine distributor and his business partner here in the US usually just transfers the money or sends him some checks or whatever, but when he heard I was coming he figured I could bring it and avoid any fees and delays.

Now, I have no fear this money is illegitimate or anything - my cousin is a straight-shooter. However, I've never taken any real amount of cash out of the country and want everything to be nice and legal without any hassle.

The US customs regulations, as far as I read them, say I have to declare any amount I export over $10,000. My cousin's partner gave me exactly $10,000, and I will be carrying some spending money, so let's figure $11,000. Now, I have no problem declaring anything, this being legit money, but I was wondering what happens when you do declare an amount like that? Is there a duty to pay? Or some other fee? Do they give you the third degree or something?

I just want to have a hassle-free vacation and not have this favor turn into some bureaucratic nightmare or worse yet, a seizure.

I guess my question is, for any of you that have had experience exporting cash out of the US, can I just declare the $11k and be done with it and worry free? Thanks in advance for any help.

2. Posted by NantesFC (Respected Member, 531 posts) 5 Apr '07 14:17

I haven't done it myself before but I know it's like you said. Just declare it and it should be done and worry free. It's like any other thing you have to declare when entering/leaving the country.

3. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member, 623 posts) 5 Apr '07 20:57

There are no Exit Controls leaving the USA-no one checks anything but your hand luggage.

Of course if security finds a wad of cash when X-raying your carry on there will be questions asked and you'll have to prove you own the money.

IMO it's not worth it I wouldn't touch the cash at all.

4. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru, 1288 posts) 6 Apr '07 12:18

[quote=Bellamy]I'm going to Eastern Europe next week to visit some relatives, one of which called me up and said hey bro, as long as you're coming here can you bring me a fat envelope full of cash?

What are the regulations pertaining to BRINGING money into the country you are visiting?

Leaving the U.S. may not be the problem, the problem may be in how much cash you can bring into the country you are visiting. If you get caught with $10,000 in the country you are visiting what are the penalties, you know, is it one of the countries that puts you in prison without any trial, cuts our hand off??

I pass through customs in the U.S. 6 to 9 times a year, I get stopped for a personal customs check about 30% of the time. Never any problem with me but they do ask about how much money I have - might be the same with the country you are visiting.

5. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru, 1281 posts) 7 Apr '07 05:48

Just hide your cousins $10,000 in an inside pocket in your jacket or in a money belt hidden in your pants (so as it won't get x-rayed on exiting the airport in Eastern Europe you'd be going through) and then have the $1,000 in the normal place you'd carry it. Then if they ask how much money you have say "about $1,000" (assuming that is how much of your money you are carrying), then they'll let you through with no problems. If you said I am carrying $11,000US on me, well that'd raise a lot of questions, you'd probably have you bag searched, a touching down and a load of questioning because they think you are trafficking drugs etc to have that much money. Even though you know it is all legit from no sources of illegal stuff they don't know that, so it may well raise suspicions and cause hold ups and inconveniences.

If you don't care if they go snooping in to your history (seeing it would be your name you'd have to put down even though it is your cousins money), then declare it. As long as you aren't going to look like you are hiding something by carrying that huge wad of cash I'd just go through without declaring it to avoid any hassels that will probably come your way even though you'd be breaking the rules.

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 7, 2007, at 5:51 AM by aharrold45 ]

6. Posted by fuzzypuppy (Budding Member, 62 posts) 7 Apr '07 19:54

@aharrold45
No offense or anything but your advice is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Things will go far far worse for him if he does not declare it and they find it. A nice legacy of "The War on Drugs" is that any large amount of money you don't declare is automatically assumed to be drug money, even if there is no proof. They will seize it and they don't have to give it back (once again, even if there is no proof it is illegal money, the fact that you didn't declare it is proof enough to them). Then comes the detainment while they investigate him.

@Bellamy
aharrold45 is right in the fact that declaring it will raise lots of questions anyway. If you want this vacation to be hassle free and not turn into a bureaucratic nightmare or a seizure tell your relatives to man up and absorb the fees of wiring the money. The fees can't be that much.

You also don't say where in Eastern Europe. Are you sure you want to take the chance that the corrupt customs officials (there's no such thing as an uncorrupted Eastern European official) won't seize it anyway?

This situation still sounds fishy to me...

7. Posted by kevandshan (Full Member, 142 posts) 10 Apr '07 14:58

Just declare the money. It is no big deal.
This requirement is to prohibit criminal activity. Basically the will record that you took the money out of the country to monitor whether you take multiple amounts out of the country on a regular basis. It was implemented to control funds being transferred between drug dealers. So if you are not a drug dealer or cheating on your taxes, and it is spending money for a good time...just declare it.

Consequences for not declaring......for not declaring cash, Customs will/may confiscate the cash! Yep, they have the power to keep it. I have seen $200 000 taken from passengers, so it depends on how lucky you feel???

If you are not a drug dealer (no offense!) then declare it...it really is no big deal, or get some travellers cheques:)

8. Posted by ikey (Full Member, 172 posts) 11 Apr '07 01:39

Simple, give $1000 back to your cousins boss and tell him to pay him that amount as he normally would and just take $9000 with you. As this is now under the $10000 declaration amount you will have no probs getting out of the US.
Just depends what the maximum amount you have to declare is for the country your visiting.

9. Posted by ikey (Full Member, 172 posts) 11 Apr '07 01:45

Also, if you do decide to declare it, make sure you have some official documentation from the guy who gave it to you. As NantesFC said, it's no different to anything else you have to declare, as long as you have a good reason for having it on you, their shouldn't be any problems.
Why don't you try calling customs to confirm all this???? afterall, $10000 is a LOT of money to risk, I certainly wouldn't be taking advise from us amateurs over that sort of cash.

PS did I mention I'm going to Eastern Europe next week, I'd be happy for you to wire me the money and I'll take it for you.......... ;) ;)

10. Posted by kevandshan (Full Member, 142 posts) 11 Apr '07 10:04

There is no need to have any documents for carrying cash. If you want to clarrify the issue check out the 'Foreign Currency Transactions Act', or Customs.

Your relative/ friend is likely asking you to bring the money so that they do not pay tax on it. This is popular amoung people avoiding taxation, by importing amounts less than 10g they do not have to declare it.

But you do not have to worry. So long as you dont do it every month, and so what if you do....it is not a crime as long as it is declared!! You can take out 1 million if you want to....so long as you declare it! Authorities have no technical or legal right to ask questions about that money aside from common law questions (general crap).

All you have to do is fill in the form. Many people carry cash, especially high rolling gamblers from Asian and South American countries who carry hundreds of thousands in cash on person as they dont trust their customs agents. They declare it.....are never asked questions or anything...besides $10000 is not that much money (for them).