Sometimes the failure to file the required report with Customs leading to a currency seizure arises because there is a mistaken assumption that only currency, or only U.S. currency, needs to be reported. This is wrong.
The reporting requirement applies to all monetary instruments. This is a legal term, defined in at least two places. First, 31 USC 5312 defines them, in relevant part, as:
(A) United States coins and currency;
(B) [ . . .] coins and currency of a foreign country, travelers’ checks, bearer negotiable instruments, bearer investment securities, bearer securities, stock on which title is passed on delivery, and similar material; and
The Federal Regulations, namely 31 CFR 1010.100(dd), provides a more detailed definition
as to what is included in the definition of monetary instrument, including:
(ii) Traveler’s checks in any form;
(iii) All negotiable instruments (including personal checks, business checks, official bank checks, cashier’s checks, third-party checks, promissory notes (as that term is defined in the Uniform Commercial Code), and money orders) that are either in bearer form, endorsed without restriction, made out to a fictitious payee (for the purposes of §1010.340), or otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery;
(iv) Incomplete instruments (including personal checks, business checks, official bank checks, cashier’s checks, third-party checks, promissory notes (as that term is defined in the Uniform Commercial Code), and money orders) signed but with the payee’s name omitted; and
(v) Securities or stock in bearer form or otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery.
(2) Monetary instruments do not include warehouse receipts or bills of lading.
It is noteworthy that the statute says it includes the foregoing, with the implication that just because a type of monetary instrument is not listed will not, by necessity, mean that is excluded from the reporting requirement.
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:
- Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
- Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
- Structuring currency imports and exports
- Is it $10,000 per person? Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
- Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
- Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
- Responding to a Customs currency seizure
- How do I get my seized money back?
- Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
- How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?