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How much cash can you travel with when you fly?

How much cash can you travel with when you fly?
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Travel is awesome! But no matter how fantastic it is, there are myriad ways to get in trouble; travelling with cash is one of them. Most countries have rules about how much cash you can travel with, restrictions on local currencies, and procedures for declaring cash. Here’s a quick look at what to watch out for.

Why travel with cash?

Only 23% of payments in the UK in 2019 were made using cash. But there are some great reasons to use cash when you’re travelling, most importantly, the fact that not everywhere accepts cards.

If you use cash, it’s easier to track your spending, you often get a better exchange rate, you avoid ATM fees and identity theft, and you won’t have to spend hours on the phone when your bank blocks your card.

Why do you have to declare cash when you travel?

The Financial Action Task Force puts out recommendations to control terrorist financing, money laundering, and similar crimes. In short, they recommend that governments keep track of people carrying money in and out of their countries.

What do you need to declare?

To comply, most countries insist that travellers declare large sums of notes and coins, bankers drafts, and cheques (including travellers cheques) when entering and leaving a country. If you’re travelling as a family, the limit applies to the whole family.

In addition, many countries have a limit on the amount of local currency you’re allowed to import; if you’ve got more than the limit, it could be confiscated.

Always double-check the latest information on government websites, as it might have changed. If you don’t comply, you could receive a fine, or even end up in prison!

Entering, travelling in and leaving the EU

If you’re travelling to the UK from the EU, you don’t need to declare any cash. However, if you’re planning to enter or leave the EU with the equivalent of EUR 10,000 or more in cash, you must declare it on an EU Cash Declaration Form. When you arrive, hand the form in at Customs in the arrivals area of the airport.

If you’re travelling between EU countries, check their individual requirements, as they can vary. You can find links to the relevant information on this page. In all cases, if Customs finds undeclared cash in your baggage or on your person, you can be fined.

Upcoming changes

On 3 June 2021, new rules come into force. The first relevant change extends the definition of cash to include commodities like gold and diamonds that are valuable and easy to sell. The second allows competent authorities to act on amounts of cash below EUR 10,000 if they suspect criminal activity.

Entering and leaving the UK from non-EU countries

If you’re bringing the equivalent of EUR 10,000 or more in or out of the UK from a non-EU country, you must declare it on this form at least 72 hours in advance. If you don’t comply, you face up to £5,000 in fines.

Even if you do declare, Customs can seize your cash for up to 48 hours if they suspect a crime. However, if they want to keep it for longer than that, they need a court order.

Travelling to non-EU countries

Please check the latest information on government websites before you travel. Traveling Light’s Customs Cash Limits page is a helpful guide.

Country

Amount of local currency permitted

What to declare

Comments

How to declare

Australia

Unlimited

AUD 10,000 or equivalent

GBP 5,600

Declare cash on arrival form.

Declare non-cash when asked by an Australian Border Force or police officer

Customs arrival form

Canada

Unlimited

CAD 10,000 or equivalent

GBP 5,900

 

On arrival

Iceland

ISK 8,000

No requirement to declare

N/A

Can only export amount of foreign currency imported

On arrival

India

Foreigners aren’t allowed to import Indian rupees

USD 5,000 in cash, or USD 10,000 in cash and travellers’ cheques

GBP 4,000 / GBP 8,000

 

Customs arrival form

Mexico

USD 10,000 in local currency

All foreign currency

N/A

Can only export foreign currency declared on arrival

On arrival

Morocco

MAD 2,000

Equivalent to MAD 100,000

GBP 8,300

 

On arrival

New Zealand

Unlimited

NZD 10,000

GBP 5,200

Declare cash only

Border Cash Report Form

Thailand

THB 50,000

USD 20,000 or equivalent

GBP 16,000

 

Declare to a Customs Officer on arrival

Turkey

Unlimited

USD 5,000 or equivalent

GBP 4,000

 

On arrival

Should be noted in passport by officials

USA

Unlimited

USD 10,000 or equivalent

GBP 8,000

Declare money or other monetary instruments

Be prepared for interviews with law enforcement

Customs arrival form

Form FinCEN 105

Takeaway

Even if you’ve got a fantastic reason for travelling with cash, always check the rules and find out how much cash you can travel with before you travel. Of course, you could always use a travel credit card instead!

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