Tag: houston

Money hidden in a traveler's bag that was not reported is photographed by CBP after seizure.

CBP Seizes $86,000 Smuggled in Houston

CBP announced the seizure of around $86,000 in cash from a man in Houston. The seizure took place on December 7, and, sounds like a very unfortunate incident for the man whose cash was seized. In this case, he is a Peruvian national and it sounds like he was only in the United States for a layover on his trip from Japan.

While at the Bush Intercontinental Airport, he went through Customs (presumably to do some more duty-free shopping) when he was taken for a secondary inspection to pay taxes on some cigarettes. For whatever reason, CBP supposedly explained the currency reporting requirement to him and he declared only $4,000.

Apparently, he had keys to some other luggage on his person. CBP located the luggage that those keys belonged to and inspected it, and lo and behold, discovered $86,000 hidden within 8 packages of photo paper. A picture of that concealment is included. Here’s the story:

HOUSTON— U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) seized over $86,000 from a traveler en route to Peru.

A Peruvian national, arriving from Japan, was referred to secondary for duty collection on cigarettes.  CBP officers explained the currency reporting requirements and the traveler declared $4,000, Dec. 7.

A baggage exam revealed keys to additional luggage, which the traveler claimed were in Peru.  The luggage was located and inspected, at which time CBP officers discovered $100 bills lined within eight packages of photo paper totaling $80,000. An envelope containing over $2,400 was also discovered.  In total, CBP seized more than $86,000.

“Travelers have no limit to the amount of currency they can bring into or take out of the U.S.; however, they are required by U.S. law to report if they are carrying $10,000 or more,” said Port Director Charles Perez.  “When travelers refuse to comply with federal reporting requirements, they face the risk of having the currency seized and possible civil and or criminal penalties assessed.”

Now, the link provided by CBP is to their own Q&A about currency reporting requirements. Frankly, the advice given their is more or less accurate, except that the law requires a report of more than $10,000, not $10,000 or more. It’s a difference of a penny but that’s the law, so CBP gets it partially wrong.

No word on whether or not this traveler was arrested, but likely they would have mentioned that fact if it was the case with this bulk cash smuggling seizure — money concealed with the apparent intention to not file the currency report. Did this traveler have that intent? Hmm, a tough call — a great argument could be made that he did not!

Loss of Cash to Texas CBP via Notice of Forfeiture & Intent to Seize

Losing cash to Texas CBP

In the context of negotiation to get some of my client’s seized cash returned from CBP, I once had a conversation with a Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures officer. I remarked that I couldn’t believe how much money people lost to CBP through cash seizures. Without hesitation, he replied “I can’t believe how much money people don’t try to get back from CBP.”

So in consideration of people about to lose some cash to CBP, let’s have a look at some money seizures by CBP in Texas that are on the verge of being forfeited (that is, lost forever to the government). All of this information is courtesy of www.forfeiture.gov, and spans cash seizure notices of seizure and intent to forefeit for April 22 and April 29.

First up, Houston:

HOUSTON, TX
2016530100037301-001-0000, Seized on 04/14/2016; At the port of HOUSTON, TX; U.S. CURRENCY; 1; EA;
Valued at $333,485.00; For violation of 31USC5317/5316

A whopping $333,485 was seized in Houston, Texas, for a simply failing to report it. Houston is one of the ports where I’ve heard that Customs can be pretty fair in giving people plenty of opportunity to make the cash report. Next up, Presidio/El Paso, Texas:

EL PASO, TX
2016240300008401-001-0000, Seized on 02/17/2016; At the port of PRESIDIO, TX; U.S. CURRENCY; 4,907; EA; Valued at $138,209.00; For violation of 31USC5332(A),31USC5332(C),31USC5316,31USC5317

This is more than just a failure to report — the reference to 31 USC 5332 means that it is also seized for bulk cash smuggling, which likewise means that a greater amount of money is subject to forfeiture by CBP. In addition, because just below this entry and bearing the same case number is a 2004 Ford F150 truck, we can safely assume that this $138,209 was concealed within the the truck.

The last entry, for Laredo, Texas, is more puzzling:

LAREDO, TX
2016231000003901-001-0000, Seized on 04/02/2016; At the port of ROMA, $3,200.00; For violation of 31USC5317,31USC5316,31USC5324

The cash reporting requirement only applies to amounts of money being transported in excess of $10,000, but this entry indicates that $3,200 was seized for both a failure to report and a structuring violation. But you can’t violate the cash reporting law by transporting less than $10,000. So how is it that CBP is forfeiting $3,200?

Well, it’s possible it was some small part of a structuring transaction; but in that case, I would expect to see another entry with the same case number of seizure date the brings the amount to over $10,000. It’s also possible that the person only transported $3,200 because they did not want to have to report traveling with more than $10,000. More likely (in terms of a structuring violation), would be that there was a sequence of transactions of moving money across the border and, when they were all added up and CBP got wind of the structuring plot, they seized this last bit of $3,200. If you don’t understand that, you haven’t read our article on cash structuring to avoid the reporting requirement.

Have you lost cash to CBP through a money seizure?

A loss of cash to CBP through seizure is a traumatic experience. If the money has not already been forfeited, there are some good chances to get it back if you know what you’re doing. Our customs law firms knows what it’s doing. You can learn more from our trusted legal guide to a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Stacks of Money Seized at Houston Airport in front of a Homeland Security Seal

$40k Money Seized at Houston Airport by CBP

According to this story, about $40,000 in money seized at Houston Airport by Customs & Border Protection

Stacks of Money Seized at Houston Airport in front of a Homeland Security Seal
Money Seized at Houston Airport by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”)

(CBP) was on its way to Turkey.

This is the tale of a classic failure to report cash to customs, which also might have involved a language barrier (e.g., the reporter could have meant to say “forty-thousand” instead of “four-thousand” if English was the person’s second language). But, in our last post we noted that if Customs has to ask you to report money over $10,000 and you haven’t already filed a FinCen 105 form, you’ve already violated the law.

Here’s the money seizure storm from Houston airport CBP:

HOUSTON– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday seized more than $40,000 in unreported currency in an outbound enforcement action involving a departing air passenger bound for Turkey.

The [money seized at Houston airport] occurred on Thursday, Jan. 7 when CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations observed departing air passengers on a flight bound for Istanbul, Turkey and selected a 73-year-old male U.S. citizen passenger for a secondary inspection after a CBP canine alerted to his luggage. During the examination, the passenger declared $4,000 but subsequent examination by CBP officers revealed a total of $40,091 in unreported currency within his luggage. CBP officers seized the unreported currency.

Was your money seized at Houston airport?

If you’ve had money seized at Houston airport by CBP you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Two red envelopes with Chinese characters on them and stuffed with U.S. dollars.

Why some Chinese travel with cash leading to airport seizures

One question I face from most Americans when I tell them that our customs law firm helps people recover from money after customs money seizure is, “Why would anyone travel with all that money?”

Two red envelopes (hongbao) with Chinese characters on them and stuffed with U.S. dollars.
Some Chinese bring money in red envelopes (hongbao) for the Chinese new year celebration to give to family

It’s a good question.The answer? Many foreign governments, China in particular, restrict the amount and method that its citizens can take from the country via capital-controls; when the economy tanks or the currency is devalued, it increases the desire to move the money into another country before the market gets worse.

A few years ago the Wall Street Journal did a story about rich Chinese trying to get their money out of China, in the form of cash, that illustrates this point. The story is Chinese Fly Cash West, by the Suitcase and it provides some insight into why people travel with Cash from China, and why Customs seizes this money from them at airports:

China restricts private citizens from taking out more than $50,000 per individual per year. While it is hard to enforce these restrictions, Chinese authorities are scrutinizing outgoing private cash amid a broad anticorruption drive and as worry grows over the risks of capital flight.

The money seized at airports represents just a sliver of private Chinese money pouring out, but highlights that Chinese citizens are turning to one of the oldest and simplest methods to evade those controls: taking cash out in a suitcase.

The articles goes on to say:

From 2009 to 2011, U.S. airport customs officers seized over $5 million in undeclared cash from Chinese citizens, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That is 8.4% of the total seized and more than double the nearest amount for another nationality.

Transporting large amounts of cash isn’t necessarily illegal. Travelers must declare cash over $10,000 when they land in Canada or the U.S. Most undeclared cash is temporarily seized and subject to fines. If customs agents believe the cash comes from illegal activities, the onus is on the traveler to prove otherwise before it is returned.

I would correct this final paragraph with a few legal subtleties. If any amount of money is undeclared to customs, all of the money transported may be seized and, if legitimate source and use are not proven to Customs, will be forfeited forever (i.e., lost). This burden is on the traveler whether or not Customs believe the cash comes from illegal activities. It must always be proven.

Moving cash from China subjects a person to fines in China:

In China, violators of Beijing’s rules on moving out cash are also subject to fines. From 2007 to 2011, China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange levied such fines totaling 1.27 billion yuan ($202 million), according to the most recent data available.

The story goes on to state that seizures from 2009 to 2011 dramatically increased at airports in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Houston and San Francisco for money seized by Customs from Chinese nationals. But the numbers seized by U.S. Customs were smaller than that seized by Canadian customs. Apparently because property rules rules and investor visas are easier to obtain.

The New York Times also published a story we tweeted about:

I’m sure the cash is flooding the U.S. market now for the same reasons. Customs will seize unreported money from any Chinese traveler or immigrant at any U.S. airport if they catch them.

U.S. Customs Confiscates $50k in Cash at Texas Airports

Customs officers confiscated a total of nearly $50,000 from international travelers at Texas airports in the last few weeks alone. Specifically, the cash seizure by customs was at San Antonio International Airport and at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The first story involves $16,000 of currency that sounds like it was structured by an adult father and daughter traveling together in order to evade the reporting requirement. The story finishes by stating that in the last fiscal year (ending October 31), CBP seized more than $81,496,161 ($81.5 million!) in undeclared or illicit currency.

San Antonio Airport picture of $16,000 in unreported currency.
San Antonio International Airport discovered a pair of travelers carrying over $16,000 in unreported currency.

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.

The second story involves a single traveler leaving for Argentina who reported only having $9,000, but really had more than $33,000 (tsk tsk). In addition, the money was not in a single location but was in “several envelopes stashed among his belongings.” The fact that it was stashed may give rise to bulk cash smuggling as a second ground for seizure beyond the failure to report.

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.

Cash that was discovered in several envelopes stashed among belongings.
The cash was found in several envelopes stashed among his belongings. CBP seized the currency.

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.

$300 Penalty for Beef Smuggler

This customs law blog is about more than just currency seizures at airport, but also about running afoul of the laws enforced by Customs in other areas as well. Here is a great case in point: when arriving travelers, knowingly or unknowingly, bring into the United States restricted or prohibited merchandise, such as beef. Here is the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport intercepted a passenger’s attempt to smuggle prohibited beef, Aug. 20, resulting in a $300 penalty.

Beef is either restricted or prohibited from certain countries depending on the types of animal diseases which are prevalent in the beef’s country of origin. In this instance, the packaged meat originated in Vietnam where Foot and Mouth disease is prevalent.

CBP agriculture specialists conducted an examination of a passenger arriving from Vietnam.  The 20-year-old Vietnam citizen declared that she was bringing fish into the United States. However, when the agriculture specialists examined her luggage, they discovered 11 pounds of beef.   The packaging label indicated the meat was shrimp, squid and fish.

“CBP agriculture specialist are vigilant in their mission to protect American agriculture from intentional and unintentional biological threats,” said Houston CBP Port Director Charles Perez. “The risk of introducing plant and animal disease into our agriculture is real, and we are deeply committed to disrupting smuggling attempts that endanger our food sources.”

All 11 pounds of beef was seized and destroyed and the passenger was assessed a $300 penalty.

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing restricted or prhibited merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE). If you have a penalty call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country.

4 Houston CBP Airport Currency Seizures; Detroit CBP Leads

They say everything is bigger in Texas, but apparently not customs airport currency seizures effected by U.S. Customs & Border Protection. Houston CBP reports around $2.4 million seized from arriving travelers for FY 2015 thus far; an impressive sum, but not quite as impressive as Detroit’s $8 million for the same time period. It is more than CBP in Houston seized last year.

These seizures in Houston include seizures at airports in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The story gives the details on some recent seizures which occurred at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Those stories are re-told below in the full story:

CBP officers effected the first of four recent seizures July 5 when a husband and wife enroute to Dubai reported carrying $10,000 as a family. After CBP officers explained the currency requirements, the couple signed the FinCen form. Final currency verification indicated the travelers were in fact carrying $15,433, which CBP officers seized.

Currency seized for failure to properly report an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000.
Currency is seized for failure to properly report currency in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000.

July 7, officers seized more than $27,000 after a U.S. couple traveling to Iran reported on FinCen Form 105 to having a combined $10,000 in their possession. After officers completed the currency verification, they seized $27,431.

The next day, CBP officers encountered a U.S. citizen and his wife who were enroute to Pakistan.  The couple reported they were transporting $9,500; however more than $23,800 was seized after officers completed the currency verification.

The final seizure of the week occurred July 9 when officers seized $22,900 from a couple enroute to India.  The couple reported $17,000 in the possession, however when officers completed verifying their currency, it totaled $22,900.

In all four instances, the currency was seized for failure to properly report currency in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000.

The story also says that across the nation, on a typical day, CBP officers seized more than $650,117 from people entering and exiting the United States.

If you have had currency seized from Customs do not try to respond yourself but hire our firm, because we know what we are doing and have successfully handled many cases like yours. If you have questions, please give us a call at (734) 855-4999. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit. Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP
  13. Don’t Talk About Your Customs Currency Seizure Case

 

$39K in Unreported Currency by U.S. Customs at Houston Airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizes a lot of money. In the last fiscal year, customs seized more than $81 million dollars in “undeclared or illicit currency.” On June 6, Customs seized over $39,000 in cash from a traveler arriving from Nicaragua. The story says it was seized for a “failure to properly report currency” exceeding $10,000, however, the fact that the money was tucked away in the pockets of 3 different pairs of jeans could give Customs enough facts to allege that it was concealed for the purposes of evading the report requirement — otherwise known as bulk cash smuggling.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, June 6, seized over $39,000 after a traveler failed to properly report the money as required by U.S. law.

Customs Seizes $39k from Nicaraguan Traveler
Some of the money was stored in the pocket of the traveler’s clothing.

The traveler, a 39-year-old U. S. citizen, arrived from Managua, Nicaragua and was enroute to Los Angeles, California.

While conducting an enforcement operation, CBP Officers encountered the traveler, and asked if he was transporting more than $10,000 in either currency or other monetary instruments. The traveler reported he was transporting $7,800; however, a search of his luggage discovered U.S. currency tucked in the pockets of three pair of jeans packed in his suitcase. The total amount of currency seized was $ 39,162.

The currency was seized for failure to properly report currency in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000.

“International travelers are provided multiple opportunities to truthfully report the amount of currency they are carrying,” said CBP Port Director Charles Perez. “Those who refuse to comply with the federal reporting requirements face the risk of having that currency seized.

“There is absolutely no limit to the amount of currency a traveler can bring into or take out of the United State,” Perez added. “The only requirement is to report amounts that reach or exceed $10,000.”

Travelers report currency 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.

Some of that money might be connected to illegal activity but a lot of that money is also from innocent, arriving travelers, confused about the currency reporting requirement. This appears to be one of those innocent cases where, for whatever reason (be it panic, ignorance, or unfair questioning), he only reported $7,800 instead of the nearly $40,000 that he was carrying. Because Customs has not disclosed his name, it sounds as though criminal charges were not filed yet.

If you have had your currency seized, please call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit. Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP
  13. Don’t Talk About Your Customs Currency Seizure Case

CBP Seizes Fake Apparel Worth $48K from Arriving Traveler

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a large amount of counterfeit clothing from a traveler that was arriving from El Salvador. I guess this puts to rest my belief that it is a rare occurrence when when Customs encounters somebody who is travelling from overseas with this large of an amount of counterfeit clothing.

Typically, counterfeit importations are just subject to seizure. In other words, the ‘penalty’ is loss of the goods through government seizure and forfeiture. However, Customs can impose monetary penalties under 19 USC 1526(f) on “any person who directs, assists … aids and abets [in] the importation of merchandise for sale or public distribution” once the property is seized.

Customs may presume that the large quantities means that is must have been intended for sale or public distribution. Thus, this person may have exposed himself to a monetary penalty equal to the MSRP of the seized goods as if they were real. It could be that it was meant for public sale or distribution, or it could just be that all these articles were intended for personal use and the buyer just could not stop himself from getting a good deal. Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport seized counterfeit Gucci, Burberry, Lacoste, Versace, Armani, Ferrari, Coco Chanel, Tory Burch and Michael Kors merchandise, May 13,

Counterfeit Clothing Seized by CBP

valued at more than $48,000.

The seized items included shirts, hats, shoes, purses and jewelry destined for Houston.

CBP officers conducted an inspection of a passenger arriving from El Salvador with checked bags. During the inspection, they discovered 161 brand-named articles that appeared to be counterfeit. The items did not appear to be of the quality consistent with legitimate goods as the items included unusual labeling and the markings on the clothing were not manufactured by the trademark holders.

Counterfeit Chanel Jewelry

“Packing hundreds of phony articles in suitcases doesn’t release passengers from their obligation to adhere to U.S. import laws and requirements,” said Houston CBP Port Director Charles Perez. “This seizure protects the trademark holder, their businesses and their employees and denies criminal organizations from reaping profits from the sale of counterfeit and illegitimate consumer goods.”

Counterfeit Chanel jewelry was among the seized items. Watches and jewelry topped the list of seized items sorted by value in fiscal year 2014.

CBP officers obtained digital images of the merchandise and forwarded them to the trademark owner to determine their authenticity. After verifying that the merchandise was counterfeit, CBP seized every item for infringement of intellectual property rights.

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE).If you have had merchandise seized by customs because they allege it is counterfeit and contains trademark violations and/or have a received a notice of penalty for importing alleged counterfeits or for making an importation contrary to law, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Please read these other articles:

CBP Seizes $38 Million so far in FY 2015; $15k from Nigerian Traveler

In the story below, CBP officers in Houston seized more than $15,000 from a Nigerian traveler at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport who was leaving the country for Nigeria. The story gives us some new interesting figures; so far for this fiscal year Customs has seized nearly $38 million from people all across the nation. Last year they seized a total of $81 million, or $650,000 per day. That’s a lot of cash!

Now the story itself is unremarkable so I’m not sure why it merited a “news release” from Customs. This is the typical situation where we represent our currency seizure clients; when they make an inaccurate report to Customs. Here’s the text:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport seized $15,841 from a traveler flying to Nigeria.

The 38-year old Nigerian man was waiting to board a flight to Lagos, Nigeria when CBP officers asked him if he was transporting more than $10,000 in monetary instruments. The traveler declared carrying $6,400 of his own and another $4,400 for a friend.

CBP officers advised the traveler that currency reporting requirements for anyone arriving and departing the U.S. must be declared on CBP Form 503 and the declaration must include all currency. The traveler was allowed to complete the CBP Seizure of $15krequired form but when officers verified the amount of currency, an additional $5041 and about $74 in Nigerian currency were discovered in the traveler’s backpack.

CBP officers found a total of $15,841 in U.S. currency which was seized for attempting to export currency exceeding $10,000 without filing a report. The Nigerian currency was returned to the traveler for humanitarian purposes as he was flying into that country.

“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 Port Director Charles Perez. “The only requirement is to declare amounts that reach or exceed $10,000.”

From Oct. 1, 2014 through Mar. 30, 2015, CBP officers nationwide seized nearly $38 million.Last fiscal year, officers averaged $650,117 in undeclared or illicit currency seizures per day totaling more than $81 million, nationwide.

Travelers can avoid seizure by declaring currency when the amount reaches $10,000. International travelers carrying more than $10,000 into or out of the United States must report the amount they are transporting or risk the currency’s seizure.

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

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations