How Much Money Can You Travel With Domestically?

Travel1 year ago
Picture of a person in an airport terminal with a ticket and passport in hand

Whether you are traveling domestically or flying internationally, there is a lot of admin and documentation you need to take care of before you leave. And one of the most important tasks is to make sure you always have enough cash on you to enjoy your trip without any obstacles or stress.

Whether you want to make sure you have enough money to cover your meals and visits for a short stay or are worried about carrying a large sum for a longer period - you need to make sure you know the rules before you fly.

Below we will talk you through the details of traveling with a small or large amount of and whether there is a limit to flying with a large sum of cash on a domestic flight in the US.

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How Much Cash Can You Fly Within the United States?

The rules for disclosing large amounts of cash when flying depend on your destination.

If you are flying internationally with more than $10,000 cash, you will need to fill in a FinCEN 105 form to disclose how much cash you have in your possession.

If you are traveling on a US domestic flight, there is no TSA rule which requires you to disclose if you are carrying more than $10,000 on a flight.


Should I Declare a Large Amount of Cash on a Domestic Flight?

Although the Transportation Security Administration has no law or limit to the amount of money you are traveling with, you need to declare when you carrying a large amount of money on a flight.

Carrying large amounts of physical cash on a flight may raise the suspicion of law enforcement powers and may make TSA suspect underhand activities. This could result in them turning the issue over to some kind of criminal activity agency.

This is especially true if you are traveling internationally. If you choose not to disclose the cash you are carrying and a law enforcement agency suspects that the money may be used for drug trafficking or money laundering, you may find that you are subject to questioning and they may turn the amount of cash or monetary instruments over to authorities.

So, to avoid hassle and delays, it is always better to be honest about how much you are carrying and declare it upfront.


What Counts as Cash When You Are Flying?

Whether you plan on carrying a large sum of money or a small amount, you need to make sure you know what counts as cash when you are declaring what you are carrying.

When flying within the United States or heading off for international travel, you should be aware that cash doesn't only include notes and coins.

The cash you are carrying can also include cheques, traveler's cheques, and banker's drafts. US and foreign currencies are all considered cash - except for those which are no longer in circulation (as these can't be spent as cash.) Difficult to convert coins that can still be spent will still count as cash you are carrying.

Valuable metals and items such as gold, casino chips, and stones are not considered cash. But there may still be limits to how much you can fly with depending on local customs laws.


Can the TSA Seize My Cash Before a Flight?

If you are traveling with a large sum of cash, you may find that a TSA screener will stop and detain you. They cannot take your money off you but may contact other agencies who legally can.

If the TSA suspects that your money is being used for an illegal purpose, they may contact a law enforcement agency to seize your assets.

Bringing a large sum of cash to the airport is not illegal but does increase the chances that you will be delayed, questioned, and may even have to deal with your cash being seized if you are searched and detained.

Agencies that may enact civil asset forfeiture from you at an airport include the Customs and Border Patrol, local law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security, and the FBI. You may then face delays and legal issues as agencies complete their investigations and you apply to have your money returned.


Person sitting in a terminal


Where Should You Pack Your Cash when Flying?

When considering how much cash to take with you on your flight, you should also think about where you want to carry it. Whether you are traveling with large amounts of cash domestically or internationally, you need to take steps to make sure your assets are secure.

You shouldn't put your cash into a checked bag, as this bag will be away from you for most of the flight and other people will have access during the loading, unloading, and during the flight.

Checked bags can also go missing, due to mishandling and you don't want your hard-earned cash to be lost along with your other belongings!

So, it is always better to keep your cash close to you in your hand luggage so that you always know where it is and have it close by.


Takeaway - How Much Money Can You Travel With Domestically?

There is no limit to the amount of money you can fly with domestically in the US, but that doesn't mean that bringing a large amount of money with you will be seamless and trouble-free.

Although there is no legal limit to the amount of money you can fly with, carrying large amounts of cash with you will raise red flags with TSA screeners and cause delays and legal hassles.

Law enforcement agencies may want to make sure that you are not engaging in illegal activities and you may even face having to turn over your cash during a detain and search.

To avoid problems, it is always better to limit the amount of cash you fly with to a sensible amount and arrange for a transfer or access your savings account when you reach your destination. This will help to keep your trip as event-free as possible!

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