You may bring into or take out of the country, including by mail, as much money as you wish. However, if it is more than $10,000, you will need to report it to CBP. Ask the CBP officer for the Currency Reporting Form (FinCen 105). The penalties for non-compliance can be severe. "Money" means monetary instruments and includes U.S. or foreign coins currently in circulation, currency, travelers' checks in any form, money orders, and negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form.

Last modified: January 2, 2014

FinCen Network


In 2009, the GAO found "opportunities" to improve "interagency and state examination coordination", noting that the federal banking regulators issued an interagency examination manual, that SEC, CFTC, and their respective self-regulatory organizations developed Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) examination modules, and that FinCEN and IRS examining nonbank financial institutions issued an examination manual for money services businesses. Therefore multiple regulators examine compliance of the BSA across industries and for some larger holding companies even within the same institution. Regulators need to promote greater consistency, coordination and information-sharing, reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, and find concerns across industries. FinCEN estimated that it would have data access agreements with 80 percent of state agencies that conduct BSA examinations after 2012.

Since FinCEN's inception in 1990 the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco has debated its benefits compared to its threat to privacy. FinCEN´s value is hard to gauge without publication of evidence. It does not disclose how many 'Suspicious Activity Reports' result in investigations, indictments or convictions, and no studies exist to tally how many reports are filed on innocent people. FinCEN and money laundering laws have been criticized for being expensive and relatively ineffective, while violating Fourth Amendment rights as an investigator may use FinCEN's government database system to investigate people instead of crimes.

It has also been alleged, that FinCEN's regulations against structuring are enforced unfairly and arbitrarily; for example, it was reported in 2012 that small businesses selling at farmers' markets have been targeted, while politically connected people like Eliot Spitzer were not prosecuted. Spitzers reasons for structuring were described as "innocent".