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Taxation and Customs Union

EU Cash Controls



Entering or leaving the EU after 3 June 2021 with cash or certain valuable items worth over EUR 10 000?

Get up to speed with the updated rules!

As part of the EU’s efforts to tackle money laundering and the financing of terrorism, all travellers entering or leaving EU territory are already obliged to complete a cash declaration when carrying EUR 10 000 or more (or equivalent in other currencies, bonds, shares or travellers’ cheques). Customs authorities are empowered to check persons, their luggage and their means of transport. They are also empowered to detain undeclared cash.

What changes as of 3 June 2021?

1) The definition of ‘cash’ in the rules will be extended to include certain other valuable items.

This means that as of that date, you must lodge a cash declaration if you are carrying EUR 10 000 (or its equivalent in other currencies) or more in value of one or more of the following items included under the new definition of cash, when entering or leaving the EU:

  • Banknotes and coins (including currency now out of general circulation but that can still be exchanged in a financial institution or central bank),
  • Bearer negotiable instruments such as cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders,
  • Gold coins with a gold content of at least 90 %,
  • Gold bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99.5 %.

2) Customs authorities may also now request that a cash disclosure declaration be lodged when they detect EUR 10 000 or more in cash (as included in the new definition), being sent by post, freight or courier (unaccompanied cash). If requested, this declaration should be made within 30 days by the recipient, sender or by an appointed representative of the two.

3) The new rules also authorise customs authorities to act on amounts lower than EUR 10 000when there are indications that the cash is linked to criminal activity.

If you do not lodge a declaration (or a disclosure declaration when requested in the case of unaccompanied cash) for cash amounts of EUR 10 000 or more, or if there are indications of a link with criminal activity, the cash may be detained and you may face penalties. The cash declaration itself records detailed information about the economic provenance and future use of the cash.

How do I fill in a cash declaration when I enter or leave the EU with EUR 10 000 or more in cash?

Member States use a harmonised declaration form, which you must complete in one of the languages available in the country where you enter or leave the EU. Non-EU language reference versions of the form are also available to help travellers complete their declarations.

Further information and the link to the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/776 which includes in its Annex the forms used in each Member State are all available here.

If you are carrying cash on behalf of a company, the name of the company must be given in the declaration. For persons travelling in a group, the EUR 10 000 limit applies to each person individually. The obligation to declare cash also applies to minors through their parents or legal guardians, and to people under guardianship through their legal representative.

If you are unsure whether you have to declare or not, you should seek advice from the competent authorities at the point of entry or exit of the EU.

What penalties apply for non-compliance with the rules or non-declaration?

Apart from the possible detention of the cash in question, each Member State can apply its own penalties that are ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive’. This can include significant fines for non-declaration.

Some EU countries also have national provisions governing cash carried between EU Member States or even within one country. While these provisions are not part of the EU rules, the Commission strongly recommends that you check what your obligations are before travelling.

What happens to the data I provide in the cash declaration?

Relevant authorities will store information provided in cash declarations related to the movement of cash entering or leaving the EU for a period of five years before erasing it.

Member States will transmit data to their national Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).

Member States will also exchange information about cases of non-declaration, and cases of declarations where there are indications of links with criminal activities (including for amounts lower than EUR 10 000). They will also share anonymised risk information and risk analysis results.

In some cases where there are indications of adverse effects for the EU budget, certain information may be shared with the European Commission, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) and with Europol.