Cross-border movement (CBM) reports

Cross-border movements occur when monetary instruments are moved into or out of Australia. 

All individuals and reporting entities, must report cross-border movements of monetary instruments in Australian or foreign currency if the combined value is AUD10,000 or more.

  • Cash
  • Bearer negotiable instruments (BNIs): 
    • Bill of exchange
    • Cheque
    • Promissory note
    • Bearer bond
    • Traveller's cheque
    • Money order, postal order or similar order
    • Other negotiable instrument not covered above.

Money orders, postal orders and similar orders, and any negotiable instruments not otherwise listed above, must still be reported as BNIs even if they do not specify the amount to be paid or the payee.

Cross-border movements can happen when someone carries monetary instruments with them across a border (such as on a plane) or when someone sends or receives monetary instruments to or from overseas via mail or shipping (including by courier).

Recent changes to cross-border movement reporting

Changes to the way you report the cross-border movement of monetary instruments of AUD10,000 or more (or foreign currency equivalent) to AUSTRAC took effect on 17 June 2022. The changes to CBM reporting are a result of reforms to the AML/CTF Act passed in 2020. 

Historically, it was a requirement to report the cross-border movement of physical currency of AUD10,000 or more in all circumstances, and the movement of BNIs only if requested to do so by a police or an Australian Border Force officer.

From 17 June 2022, you must report the cross-border movement of all monetary instruments with a cumulative value of AUD10,000 or more (or foreign equivalent) to AUSTRAC. This includes BNIs as well as physical currency, whether these are carried in person or sent/received by freight, courier or postal service.

Types of cross-border movement reports

There are two types of cross-border movement reports:

  • Cross-border Movement – Monetary Instrument (Carrying) report. This report must be made if you depart or enter Australia via an international airport or seaport with a combined monetary instrument value of AUD10,000 or more, including BNIs and physical currency
  • Cross-border Movement – Monetary Instrument (Sending/received) report. You must make this report if you send or have received monetary instruments by ship or courier, or mail it into or out of Australia.

These reports are available through your AUSTRAC Online account.

When to report movement of monetary instruments  

If you are carrying monetary instruments across borders, you must submit a report before you pass through customs when arriving or departing Australia. 

If you mail or ship monetary instruments in to or out of Australia, you must submit a report before sending it.

If you have received monetary instruments from outside Australia, you must submit a report within five business days of receipt.

Rules about carrying and declaring monetary instruments

You can carry monetary instruments for someone else, but you must submit a CBM-MI report where their value is AUD 10,000 or more. On the reporting form, the person carrying the monetary instrument must give information about themselves, as well as information about the person they are carrying the money for and the person they are delivering it to.

Sharing physical currency to avoid reporting is called ‘structuring’. It is against the law.

For example, a party of travellers, such as a family, might choose to break up a reportable amount of currency among themselves, so that each traveller is carrying less than AUD10,000. If this involves, for example, a young child ‘carrying’ AUD9,950 across the border, it may be considered that the main purpose of dividing the cash among the party is to avoid the reporting requirement.

It is against the law to make multiple trips across the border with amounts of cash less than AUD10,000 to avoid reporting requirements. It is also against the law to make someone else do this.

Penalties for structuring include fines and imprisonment.

What happens to CBM reports

The information provided on the form is stored securely and is only accessible to AUSTRAC and a limited number of partner agencies including law enforcement. Personal details are not provided to any private companies. For more information, see AUSTRAC’s Privacy Policy.

Penalties for not reporting cross-border movements

You will face penalties, including prison and/or a fine, for not declaring monetary instruments in Australian and foreign currency if the combined value is AUD10,000 or more when you enter or leave Australia.

The penalties for failing to declare a CBM are 12 penalty units for an individual, and 60 penalty units for a body corporate. 

Find out more about penalties and enforcement.

Exemptions from CBM reporting

A CBM–MI report does not have to be made by:

  • commercial passenger carrier where the monetary instruments are in the possession of passengers
  • commercial goods carriers where the monetary instruments are carried on behalf of another person.

Carrying, sending or receiving gold bullion is not required to be declared to AUSTRAC.

The content on this website is general and is not legal advice. Before you make a decision or take a particular action based on the content on this website, you should check its accuracy, completeness, currency and relevance for your purposes. You may wish to seek independent professional advice.

Last updated: 15 Jan 2024
Page ID: 30

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