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 required 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:
- 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?
- Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations