Travellers urged to declare excess cash before leaving Australia

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A passenger plane flies over a barbed wire fence as it approaches Sydney airport February 23, 2010.
A passenger plane flies over a barbed wire fence as it approaches Sydney airport February 23, 2010. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

Travellers going in and out of Australia are reminded to declare cash in excess of AUD $10,000 or more. This would make travelling to airports smoother.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Border Force (ABF) continue to observe international travellers who do not declare their total amount of cash, specifically at the Sydney International Airport. Aussie travellers are allowed to carry an unlimited amount of cash into and out of Australia under the law. But they need to declare amounts of $10,000 or more Australian dollars (or foreign currency equivalent) first.

To do so, travellers need to complete an online form. The Cross-Border Movement – Physical Currency form is available for download at the AUSTRAC website. A copy can also be obtained before overseas departure at all international airports or seaports. Further details are available at the AUSTRAC website.

Travellers can submit their completed forms to an ABF officer at all international departure points. The form has to be handed before leaving the country.

Simone O’Mahony, acting commander for the AFP, assured that once the form is completed, travellers can bring unlimited amount of cash. He explained that such requirement is important to combat money laundering by organised crime syndicates and prevent offshore funding of terrorist organisations.

O’Mahony said travellers’ participation is needed to achieve these goals. All it takes is to complete an online form. Doing so, he said, can save travellers and their families from stress and a potential fine at the airport.

ABF Regional Commander NSW Tim Fitzgerald said that several factors lead to undeclared amount of cash. These include mistrust in financial institutions and misunderstanding by travellers. “ABF officers assist travellers at international airports to do the right thing and declare sums over $10,000, however if the cash is not declared our officers have various means of detecting cash using x-ray, detector dogs and physical inspections,” Fitzgerald said in a media release published at the AFP site.

Acting AUSTRAC National Manager Intelligence Lynne Walker maintained that declaring cash over the threshold amount is a legal obligation. “Navigating through an airport can be an overwhelming experience. As part of your travel preparation, remember that if you’re carrying $10,000 or more it needs to be declared. Doing this ahead of time will save you the stress of filling out a form at the airport,” she said.