General Question

syriansteve's avatar

How much money are visitors allowed to bring in to and out the U.S. ?

Asked by syriansteve (41points) May 28th, 2011

I’m travelling with my family to the US this week. I have hospital appointments everyday for a week to get medical treatment as I’m visually impaired. Then, I’m going to Canada to obtain my Permanent Residency Card (PRC). So, I’m thinking to bring with me $30,000 – 40K U$D. Take into consideration that we are 5 travelers, 2 adults & 3 kids.

How much am I allowed to bring into the U.S.? & How much am I allowed to take with me when I’m travelling to Canada?

Do I need to declare the money? if so, would I be entitled to any taxes by the IRS?

P.S. I would appreciate it if you know about the regulations in both the U.S. & Canada.

Many Thanks!

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8 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

I would ask the Syrian embassy or one of the consulates in the US. They would be most familiar with the situation.

Best wishes on your medical treatment and welcome to the US.

Syria Embassy , United States
2215 Wyoming Ave.
D.C. 20008
United States of America
Website URL:

Syria Consulate General , United States
United States of America.
Website URL:

Syria Consulate , United States
1022 Wirt Rd., Suite 300
TX 77055
United States

Syria Consulate , United States
3 San Joaquin Plaza, #190
CA 92660
New Port Beach
United States

syriansteve's avatar

@jaytkay Thanks man. But unfortunately, calling the Syrian Embassy isn’t helpful at all as I have already tried.

What would happen if I bring 30 or 40K with me, would I have to pay taxes to bring it in or out of the US?

I have a letter from my doctor in the US saying that the cost of the surgery itself is approximately $20,000.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

What Visa are you using to come to the USA? B-1, J-1 ?

The $10,000 cash per person rule means you have to declare at time of entry to USA that is ANY large cash amount ( it’ is not taxable because you brought it into the country ).

The Doctor’s visits may require you fill out a form for a large cash transaction.

Visa International, Bank Audi Syria is offering a credit card( Visa Gold * in US dollars for credit ) Why don’t you use a credit card for Doctor’s appointments / surgery?

How are you paying for airline tickets? Because a combination of CASH and SYRIA will set off security alarms at the airlines.

syriansteve's avatar

Well, Audi Bank does not give a credit limit over $5,000. I already have it and used it to book my tickets.
My visa is B-1.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

As for travelling to the US, it might be helpful to refer to the US Customs & Border Control Site.

Do I have to declare currency when entering the U.S. in-transit to a foreign destination?

When entering the U.S. in-transit to a foreign destination, you will be required to clear U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If you have “negotiable monetary instruments” (i.e. currency, personal checks (endorsed), travelers checks, gold coins, securities or stocks in bearer form) valued at $10,000 or more in your possession a “Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments” form FinCEN 105 must be submitted to a CBP Officer upon your entry into the United States.

Monetary instruments that are made payable to a named person but are not endorsed or which bear restrictive endorsements are not subject to reporting requirements, nor are credit cards with credit lines of over $10,000. Gold bullion is not a monetary instrument for purposes of this requirement. The requirement to report monetary instruments on a FinCEN 105 does not apply to imports of gold bullion.

Failure to declare monetary instruments in amounts of or over $10,000 can result in its seizure.

Take a look at the details of the form listed in the last line of this link. It may provide additional helpful information.

Here is another link from the same site on:
Foreign visitor having to carry a certain amount of money to enter the U.S.
Published 06/15/2004 03:46 PM | Updated 06/04/2010 09:05 AM | Notify Me

_Does a foreign visitor have to carry a certain amount of money to enter the U.S.?
Yes. Travelers visiting the U.S. from a foreign country must be able to prove to a CBP Officer that they have sufficient funds (i.e. credit cards, cash, travelers checks, money orders etc.) to cover their travel, lodging, entertainment, meals, etc. in order to be admitted into the U.S._

CBP Officers are aware that there may be circumstances in which a traveler may have limited funds. In those cases they will determine the admissibility of the traveler based on the information provided to support the reason the traveler has insufficient funds.

If you have invited someone to visit you with the understanding that you will be hosting them at your house and providing meals, etc., it is advised that you confirm your invitation in writing so that they have something to show the CBP Officer. The letter should include your full name and address. This will not guarantee their admission into the U.S., but it will help the CBP Officer fully assess their situation.

If you need to have a certain amount of money on hand, and it cannot be put on a credit or debit card, then it sounds as if it would be best to get a letter from the medical center performing the operation and notify the US CBC in advance.

WasCy's avatar

I would be very nervous carrying that amount of cash, regardless of legality.

If you can, I’d suggest setting up a relationship with a bank or some other trusted funds depository in the United States and wiring the bulk of the money there ahead of the visit.

Failing that, how much can you bring in travelers’ checks from where you are?

I would do almost anything I could to avoid carrying that much cash. So much can go wrong.

Another aspect of holding cash in the USA that you may not be aware of is that regardless of whether or not it is legal (or safe), if you’re stopped for any number of relatively innocent reasons by the police: speeding, illegal lane changes while driving, minor traffic accident – and found to be carrying that much cash – then it may be summarily confiscated and you may have to sue to recover it. This is all part of our ridiculous and stupid War on Drugs (and possibly because of your travel on a Syrian passport, the War on Terror as well). The “thinking” is that cash is used in large amounts by drug dealers and terrorists because of its relative anonymity and difficulty in tracing. So if you’re dealing with large amounts of cash then “you must be up to no good”.

It’s called Civil Asset Forfeiture (the term you should google) in the US, and it is unfortunately a fact of life.

Otherwise, I don’t think that the US has restrictions on the cash you can bring into the country, but the country that you’re leaving may have restrictions on what you can carry with you as cash. (And I think the US has restrictions – the amount $10,000 seems stuck in my head – on what you can legally take out of the country in cash.

But seriously, between the police acting like criminals, and the actual criminals themselves, you risk losing all of the cash.

Furthermore, financial institutions are required by law to report individual transactions of $5000 or more to some federal agency, and this can get you on other radar screens that you’d be better off away from.

See if you can avoid dealing with such large amounts of cash. It will be better for you all around if you can. (Plus many businesses don’t want to be paid with a lot of cash, because of their own risk of robbery – as well as the difficulty they sometimes have in checking that much cash to be sure it’s not counterfeit.)

Nullo's avatar

As I recall, during our stay in Italy, my dad had a Deutschbank account. The bulk of our assets were with a credit union in the United States. As I had little interest in finance, I never discussed it with him; however I would guess that he would transfer money between them as needed.

HungryGuy's avatar

I fly into the US regularly. Before you land in the US, the flight crew will give you a form to declare if you’re carrying over $10,000. I’ve never carried this much cash with me, as I usually use a credit card for travel expenses. I presume that you’ll have to pay taxes on it. Can you pay the hospital in advance with a credit card or wire funds before you leave home? People often travel do other countries for specialized medical procedures, so your situation isn’t unique. Perhaps the billing department of your hospital can give you some advise or alternate ways to pay.

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