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Travelling to and from Australia with money

Travellers can carry an unlimited amount of money into and out of Australia. However you must declare cash in Australian and foreign currency if the combined value is A$10,000 or more, and you must declare non-cash forms of money when asked by an Australian Border Force or police officer.

Carrying money across borders is a common money laundering technique. Declaring physical currency or bearer negotiable instruments (BNIs) when you travel is a legal requirement.

Declaring cash when travelling overseas

You usually declare physical currency at the Customs examination area when entering or leaving Australia. You can fill in the form at the international airport or seaport, or you can download and complete the form before you leave.

If you want to complete the form before arriving at your departure point:

  1. Download the Cross-Border Movement - Physical Currency form (PDF, 1295KB). Print it out, then complete and sign the form.
  2. Bring the completed form with you to the airport or seaport.
  3. Give the form to an Australian Border Force officer.

Declaring non-cash forms of money when travelling overseas

Non-cash forms of money such as cheques, promissory notes, traveller's cheques, bearer bonds, money orders or postal orders are called bearer negotiable instruments (BNIs). They often include the instruction 'pay to the bearer'. The bearer is the person in possession of the BNI.

Declaring BNIs is different from reporting currency. You only have to declare BNIs if an Australian Border Force officer or police officer asks you to when entering or leaving Australia. If you are asked to declare BNIs, you must do so, whatever their value. This applies even if the BNI doesn’t have a stated value (such as a blank cheque).

You need to declare the BNI and complete the form even if the BNI does not specify a payee (a person who the funds would be paid to).

You will usually be asked to declare BNIs at the Customs examination area. You must complete the form and give it to the officer immediately. You can download the Cross-Border Movement – BNI form (PDF, 221KB) before you travel, although you will only have to submit it if asked to.

Border Force or police officers can examine items you have with you to see if you have a BNI or have made a false declaration. If you make a false declaration, the officer may seize the BNI.

Fees for carrying money

You won’t be charged any fees for carrying or declaring physical currency or BNIs.

Rules about carrying and declaring money

Penalties for not reporting money when travelling overseas

You may face penalties, including prison and/or a fine, for:

  • not declaring cash in Australian and foreign currency if the combined value is A$10,000 or more when you enter or leave Australia
  • not declaring a BNI when asked by Border Force or police officers.

What happens to a form once it is submitted

Australian Border Force forwards the completed form to AUSTRAC.

The information provided on the form is stored securely and is only accessible to AUSTRAC and a number of partner agencies including law enforcement. Personal details are not provided to any private companies.

Getting a copy of your completed form

You can apply for a copy of your completed form under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). You can’t apply for information about another person, unless they have given their permission. Find out more about our freedom of information policy and processes.

Getting help

Australian Border Force or police officers can help you complete the declaration form. You can also contact us for more information.

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: 8 Jul 2019
Page ID: 53

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