Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

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tampaite
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Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by tampaite » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:49 pm

Is there a limit on taking cash on-board domestic US flights ? I understand taking millions may raise eye-brows but what about a smaller amount like $40k ?

I heard about the customs rule but that only applies for international passengers flying into US. Would TSA stop you from boarding if you are carrying cash?

bberris
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by bberris » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:03 pm

Because it's a fire hazard?

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JamesSFO
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by JamesSFO » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:04 pm

I'm not aware of any such rules; however, more generally there are often asset seizures of large sums of cash. My point being I wouldn't risk that since it will get X-rayed and you will get pulled aside and someone may decide to seize the cash... At which point even if you are innocent and the $ are legitimate getting it back can be hard.

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flamesabers
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by flamesabers » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:09 pm

Here's what I found on the TSA website:
When presented with a passenger carrying a large sum of money through the screening checkpoint, the TSA officer will frequently engage in dialog with the passenger to determine whether a referral to law-enforcement authorities is warranted.
https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2009/04/14/tra ... ash?page=2

Rupert
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Rupert » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:09 pm

There's no rule or law that limits the amount of cash you can carry. But you'd better be prepared to explain where the money came from and where it's going because law enforcement assumes anyone carrying that amount of cash (and $40k is a LOT of cash) is a drug dealer. They'll likely pull you back into their little interview room and have a drug dog sniff the cash. The drug dog will alert because almost all circulating cash has passed through a drug dealer's hands at some point, and you'll sit around for hours and hours until the matter is resolved. In other words, don't carry that amount of cash.
Last edited by Rupert on Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:10 pm

tampaite wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:49 pm
Is there a limit on taking cash on-board domestic US flights ? I understand taking millions may raise eye-brows but what about a smaller amount like $40k ?

I heard about the customs rule but that only applies for international passengers flying into US. Would TSA stop you from boarding if you are carrying cash?
400 . . . . . $100 dollar bills takes up a lot of space.

NewPhoneWhoDis
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by NewPhoneWhoDis » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:13 pm

JamesSFO wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:04 pm
I'm not aware of any such rules; however, more generally there are often asset seizures of large sums of cash. My point being I wouldn't risk that since it will get X-rayed and you will get pulled aside and someone may decide to seize the cash... At which point even if you are innocent and the $ are legitimate getting it back can be hard.
I agree with this. There's no defined limit, but if anyone from law enforcement finds out that you have that much cash on you, there's a reasonable chance they'll take it from you because they can. You don't even need to be charged with anything and the onus will be on you to prove that the money wasn't obtained through illegal means.

Tallis
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Tallis » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:14 pm

I'm with JamesSFO. The possibilities of civil confiscation or simple theft are too alarming to make me willing to carry large amounts of cash on an airplane. One disturbing story from 2015:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... 0514d7b664
Last edited by Tallis on Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:16 pm

Airsafe.com says there is not, but gives some practical tips.

I know there was a restriction on exporting one- and five-cent coins, as well as on melting them. It may or may not still be in effect. Frankly I'd prefer not to lug hundreds of pounds of them to some foreign land, so it won't disturb any of my travel plans.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by 123 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:25 pm

JamesSFO wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:04 pm
I'm not aware of any such rules; however, more generally there are often asset seizures of large sums of cash. My point being I wouldn't risk that since it will get X-rayed and you will get pulled aside and someone may decide to seize the cash... At which point even if you are innocent and the $ are legitimate getting it back can be hard.
+1
I think the risk of asset seizures for having a large amount of cash is the biggest risk of carrying cash. Law enforcement seems to have a "finders keepers" mentality in a lot of cases, until the individual proves why they have that much cash with them. Even without the TSA there are a lot of unexpected ways a significant amount of cash could be exposed/found by law enforcement personnel, things like traffic accidents. I've always thought of jewelers and gun dealers as often legitimate bearers of large amounts of cash. But with the rise of the state authorized
medical and non-medical legal marijuana businesses there seems to be a lot of cash flowing that has to stay out of the regular banking system due to federal regulations toward seizure.
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Jeff Albertson
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Jeff Albertson » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:28 pm

lot's of info out there

Law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did last year
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... last-year/

Jeff Sessions’s Justice Department turns a $65 million asset forfeiture spigot back on
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... ning&wpm=1

Civil Forfeiture: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEpZWGgJks

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:33 pm

Why do you need to carry that much cash? Flying to buy a car off craigslist? Pay a contractor at a vacation home for a kitchen remodel?

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by mmarreco » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:34 pm

tampaite wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:49 pm
Is there a limit on taking cash on-board domestic US flights ? I understand taking millions may raise eye-brows but what about a smaller amount like $40k ?

I heard about the customs rule but that only applies for international passengers flying into US. Would TSA stop you from boarding if you are carrying cash?
I have flown with similar amounts with no issues. However I was worried about asset forfeiture and I made sure I had the bank receipt showing that the cash was withdrawn from my bank account so I could prove where it came from it someone asked.

BTW $40k in 100s is not much volume, it fits in a quart-size ziploc bag.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by sport » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:38 pm

I would be afraid to walk out of the bank with that much cash. There are people who would literally kill to get their hands on it.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by mouses » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:38 pm

Why would someone carry a giant amount of cash?

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Pajamas
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Pajamas » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:48 pm

mouses wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:38 pm
Why would someone carry a giant amount of cash?
It shouldn't be anyone else's concern and law enforcement in particular should not be asking that unless it is in the context of a real crime investigation.

Unconstitutional property seizure is a genuine problem and it's not restricted just to cash. I'm not sure exactly how it has continued since it seems to me to be clearly forbidden by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, although I am not a constitutional lawyer.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitutio ... _amendment

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by nisiprius » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:51 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:10 pm
400 . . . . . $100 dollar bills takes up a lot of space.
I'd have said it was very manageable. A bundle of a hundred bills is about 6" by 2.5" by 0.5" thick, and that's $10,000. $40,000 would be a two-inch-thick stack, and would weigh 400 grams = less than a pound. If you arranged two stacks of two bundles side-by-side, it would be 6" by 5" by 1" thick, not too different from a trade paperback book.

It would make a definite bulge in an overcoat pocket, but it would fit into a toiletry case, let alone any real piece of luggage. I assume it would be visible in an X-ray or whatever kind of imaging system they use, and probably look different from a paperback book.

Whether or not it is right or wrong, air travel nowadays falls in the unpleasant gray area in which many things may be perfectly "legal" for a traveler to do, but it you seem to be doing something "unusual" it may be perfectly "legal" for law enforcement to do things that will cause you stress, alarm, serious inconvenience or worse.

The poor clueless MIT student who was arrested at the airport because she thought it was cool to be wearing a kind of piece of art or jewelry with a visible circuit board and flashing LEDs is a case in point.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:54 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:51 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:10 pm
400 . . . . . $100 dollar bills takes up a lot of space.
I'd have said it was very manageable. A bundle of a hundred bills is about 6" by 2.5" by 0.5" thick, and that's $10,000. $40,000 would be a two-inch-thick stack, and would weigh 400 grams = less than a pound. If you arranged two stacks of two bundles side-by-side, it would be 6" by 5" by 1" thick, not too different from a trade paperback book.

It would make a definite bulge in an overcoat pocket, but it would fit into a toiletry case, let alone any real piece of luggage. I assume it would be visible in an X-ray or whatever kind of imaging system they use, and probably look different from a paperback book.

Whether or not it is right or wrong, air travel nowadays falls in the unpleasant gray area in which many things may be perfectly "legal" for a traveler to do, but it you seem to be doing something "unusual" it may be perfectly "legal" for law enforcement to do things that will cause you stress, alarm, serious inconvenience or worse.

The poor clueless MIT student who was arrested at the airport because she thought it was cool to be wearing a kind of piece of art or jewelry with a visible circuit board and flashing LEDs is a case in point.
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dm200
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by dm200 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:01 pm

Be aware as well:

1. Any transaction (in or out) of a bank or credit union over $10,000 in cash (currency and coin) will require the bank or credit union to file a CTR (Currency Transaction Report).

2. Any actions or attempts to hide or not have such transactions not be reported (such as $9,000 each day for several days) would result in a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) and could land you in a big mess - even if you, otherwise, have done nothing "wrong".

Many other posts are very good and inform of various risks.

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Nicolas
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Nicolas » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:17 pm

On Customs Declaration Form 6059B all persons entering the United States must indicate as follows:

"Mark an X in the Yes or No box. Are you or any family members traveling with you bringing $10,000 or more in U.S. dollars or foreign equivalent in any form into the United States?"

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/ ... ation-form

Note that it isn't illegal to do so, just that it must be declared. This is for entry into the U.S.A. I never heard of any limit or declaration of such for domestic travel.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by NYC_Guy » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:35 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:10 pm
tampaite wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:49 pm
Is there a limit on taking cash on-board domestic US flights ? I understand taking millions may raise eye-brows but what about a smaller amount like $40k ?

I heard about the customs rule but that only applies for international passengers flying into US. Would TSA stop you from boarding if you are carrying cash?
400 . . . . . $100 dollar bills takes up a lot of space.
It really doesn’t. That’s about a 2” stack, about two full bars of soap. I used to routinely travel with $50k at times. Never had an issue.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:38 pm

Perfectly legal domestically. However, that does not mean that some TSA agent will not try to act like J Edgar Hoover even though they have been directed not to intervene with passengers carrying cash unless there is an indication of something illegal. It certainly wouldn't hurt to have any large withdrawal receipts you may have from a bank with you to demonstrate where the cash came from. Again, it is perfectly legal, but if it gets seized, it is your burden to try to recover it which is usually much easier said than done.

The biggest issues I have had when traveling with such sums (other than one overzealous TSA agent prior to the above-mentioned directive) was exposing the cash to other passengers. You can request a private security screening. I was always more concerned with my exit from the airport than anything else. Be observant of your surroundings if you even suspect another passenger has seen your cash.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by NYC_Guy » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:40 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:33 pm
Why do you need to carry that much cash? Flying to buy a car off craigslist? Pay a contractor at a vacation home for a kitchen remodel?
Vegas, Kentucky Derby. Often easier than setting up a line of credit with the house.

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Nicolas
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Nicolas » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:53 pm

I'd be worried that a TSA agent would steal it. You can google it and find numerous examples. In June a TSA agent was found to have pocketed $10K after removing it from a woman's luggage at the Orlando airport. Being from Tampa you probably would've heard of it.
Last edited by Nicolas on Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:17 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:53 pm
I'd be worried that a TSA agent would steal it. You can google it and find numerous examples. In June a TSA agent was found to have pocketed $10K after removing it from a woman's luggage at the Orlando airport.
If you are going to carry cash, do not let it out of your sight. At all.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Spirit Rider » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:30 pm

dm200 wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:01 pm
Be aware as well:

1. Any transaction (in or out) of a bank or credit union over $10,000 in cash (currency and coin) will require the bank or credit union to file a CTR (Currency Transaction Report).
There were $0.7M CTRs in the first nine (9) months of 2017, on track for almost $1M for the entire year.
2. Any actions or attempts to hide or not have such transactions not be reported (such as $9,000 each day for several days) would result in a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) and could land you in a big mess - even if you, otherwise, have done nothing "wrong".
There were $1.5M+ SARs in the first nine (9) months of 2017, on track for more than $2M for the entire year.

There is almost no chance that your little blip is ever going to be noticed, unless you are already under treasury department and/or justice department investigation or your name is on some government database.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by whodidntante » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:09 pm

It's not illegal to have 40 grand in cash, or to take said cash on an airline. But I think having 40 grand would result in questioning and if there is probable cause then it could be seized.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by nisiprius » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:24 pm

I'm serious and I'd be curious to hear the answer if you decide to go ahead with it.

If
  • you actually plan to bring large amounts of cash through airport security, and
  • it's 100% legitimate, and
  • you are not relying on the checkpoint failing to notice it, or noticing it and not doing anything about it...
why not ask the TSA about it? Specifically, "If I wish to carry $40,000 in U.S. currency with me, what documentation should I bring with me to facilitate the screening if a TSA officer has questions about it?"

Of course, the answer wouldn't be binding.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-scr ... tcanibring
For items not listed here, simply snap a picture or send a question to AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter. We look forward to answering your questions, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends/holidays.

The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by CABob » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:07 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:24 pm
https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-scr ... tcanibring
The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.
Now that a little bit scary to me. :confused
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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:18 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:24 pm
I'm serious and I'd be curious to hear the answer if you decide to go ahead with it.

If
  • you actually plan to bring large amounts of cash through airport security, and
  • it's 100% legitimate, and
  • you are not relying on the checkpoint failing to notice it, or noticing it and not doing anything about it...
why not ask the TSA about it? Specifically, "If I wish to carry $40,000 in U.S. currency with me, what documentation should I bring with me to facilitate the screening if a TSA officer has questions about it?"

Of course, the answer wouldn't be binding.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-scr ... tcanibring
For items not listed here, simply snap a picture or send a question to AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter. We look forward to answering your questions, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends/holidays.

The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.
There is absolutely no question whether currency will be allowed through the checkpoint. It is unquestionably legal. Almost every passenger flies with some. There is no amount that is illegal to fly with domestically (IANAL, but feel free to research the legality). I would be beyond flabbergasted if the TSA site linked would tell you than you can not pass through a checkpoint with a large amount of currency. Of course, anyone who is curious can send the question to the TSA to see their response; it doesn't have to be OP.

The only question is whether the TSA agent will illegally confiscate it. Nobody can tell you that with any certainty. It shouldn't happen, but ...

And, of course, there are other risks which have been mentioned several times.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by sketchy9 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:53 pm

Are travelers cheques still a thing? If so, might that be an option?

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:01 pm

CABob wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:07 pm
nisiprius wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:24 pm
https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-scr ... tcanibring
The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.
Now that a little bit scary to me. :confused
An item not being allowed through security doesn't mean TSA has a right to seize any items.
However, since there aren't really any legit reasons to hold or carry $40K in cash (with bank checks, etc being the normal means of cash payments) that normally sets off alarm bells.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Gronnie » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:22 pm

I've flown with >$50k in my backpack on poker trips to Las Vegas and LA many times. Never been questioned at all.

Can fit $50k split between the cargo pockets of my shorts without it even being noticeable as well, it really doesn't take up that much space.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:37 pm

sketchy9 wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:53 pm
Are travelers cheques still a thing? If so, might that be an option?
They count the same as cash. That doesn't mean they're illegal. It does mean that if one is carrying enough of them one is vulnerable. That, I believe, is the consensus in this thread. It's legal, but leaves one vulnerable. One has to make a risk trade-off.

I don't know whether tens of thousands of dollars on a prepaid debit card, if any such thing is available, would make one especially vulnerable other than having a gun put to one's head, but how would anybody know who to rob?

One always could apply for a very-high-limit credit card, if approved put the money into a bank account, then pay off the charges before the due date without interest accruing, but of course that assumes your counterparty Beth accepts plastic. There's no obligation she do so, even if your transaction is completely legal and clearly legitimate.

If the same bank has local branches in both locations, and given the high value involved, it probably would be worth opening a new account, depositing the money at the departure site, and withdrawing it in cash at the destination. For $40,000 I'd suggest informing the destination branch in advance. Naturally it will create a report, but that's nothing to be afraid of as long as one maintains full documentation and is not in fact engaging in money laundering.

Anyway, who objects to slightly soiled $100 bills?

PJW

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by tim1999 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:27 pm

I have carried well in excess of 10k in cash while traveling on domestic flights without being questioned, usually in an internal zipper pocket within my carry-on bag. I worried most about it getting stolen while going through a busy security line in this scenario:
1. Cash is in my bag that I put on the conveyor belt for the x-ray machine.
2. I go through the body scanner, but the x-ray conveyor belt suddenly stops while they focus on someone else's bag ahead of mine.
3. I am now waiting on the other side of the x-ray machine and can't see my bag going into the x-ray tunnel.
4. People going through the body scanner behind me but waiting for their bags from the stopped conveyor belt pile up blocking my view of my bag even more.
5. Some fellow traveler has the opportunity to touch my bag outside of my vision. If I do see someone touching my bag I can't really run back through the body scanner to stop them without causing some huge scene and probably getting in trouble with the TSA folks.

I'd carry it on my person at all times but you can't do that with the body scanners.

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Re: Limit on carrying physical cash during domestic US flights

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:41 pm

I removed some off-topic posts. This thread has run its course and is locked (rant on law enforcement, derailed).
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