CBP Seizes Over $2.3 M at Texas Airports

Release Date:
July 16, 2015

International travelers who refuse to report currency risk seizure

HOUSTON -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working in the Houston Field Office area of operations seized over $2.37 million in unreported currency from the start of the fiscal year through June 30, 2015.

U.S. law requires international travelers to properly report currency in their possession whether traveling into or departing from the United States.

International travelers who refuse to report currency valued at $10,000 or greater in their possession risk having that currency seized.

While the Houston Field Office includes international airports in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, the most recent seizures occurred last week at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. In four separate incidents, international travelers departing the Houston airport for overseas destinations would not accurately report the currency they were carrying.

U.S. law requires travelers with negotiable monetary instruments valued at $10,000 or greater in their possession complete a form FinCEN 105, Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments. Negotiable monetary instruments include currency, personal checks that have be en endorsed, travelers’ checks, gold coins, securities or stocks in bearer form.

“International travelers are provided multiple opportunities to truthfully report the amount of currency in their possession,” said Houston 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 States,” Perez added. “The only requirement is to report amounts that reach or exceed $10,000.”

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.

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.

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.

During the same timeframe in fiscal year 2014, CBP officers in the Houston Field Office area seized more than $2.26 million. Across the nation, on a typical day, CBP officers seized more than $650,117.

International travelers are encouraged to visit, Know Before You Go, ahead of pending travel to learn about reporting requirements and how to make proper declarations.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.