Declare gold or silver bullion as a monetary instrument when traveling internationally?

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Some emphasis mine:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said:
What constitutes as "Negotiable Monetary Instruments" for currency reporting requirements?

Negotiable monetary instruments that must be reported by travelers or persons sending or receiving them (other then by electronic means by a banking concern) are:
  • Coin or currency from the U.S. and/or other countries, including gold coins
  • Travelers Checks
  • Checks, promissory notes or money orders that can be cashed by the bearer. This includes checks or money orders made out to someone other than the bearer that are endorsed without restriction(i.e. for deposit only.), and incomplete checks, money orders, promissory notes that are signed but on which the name of the payee has been omitted (the "To" line is left blank)
  • Securities or stocks in bearer form
Monetary instruments that are made payable to a named person, but are not endorsed or which bear restrictive endorsements are not subject to reporting requirements, nor are credit cards with credit lines of over $10,000.

Gold Bullion is not a monetary instrument for purposes of this requirement. You can obtain the currency reporting form FinCEN 105 for more information. instruments bullion

As I read it*, you can travel with 1,000 gold bars or ingots and not have to declare them because they are just bullion (not foreign or domestic coins or currency), but if you travelled with more than $10,000 worth of gold or silver coins, you would need to declare them.

I'm not sure why they draw the distinction this way. It's a bit fuzzy on whether rounds from private (foreign or domestic) mints are considered bullion or coins.

It's also not clear whether you are required to declare the nominal face value of gold and silver Eagles and silver America The Beautiful coins or their bullion value.

*I'm not a lawyer and not dispensing legal advice here.
I'm in no way a lawyer either (thankfully!), but in my humble opinion in order to be currency it should have some sort of common monetary value clearly stated on it, as does paper currency. And since we live in a world of government currency, then it should come from a recognized government authority (US Mint, Royal Canadian etc). Therefore, American Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaves would be currency with the face values that they have. A privately minted coin, bar, brick, or 1 ton golden disk of glory would be bullion. So your Apmex rounds, NTR bars, and whatever else would be considered bullion. Of course, since this is probably a reasonable standard, the actual standard is something else completely.
... Of course, since this is probably a reasonable standard, the actual standard is something else completely.


Yeah, that's how I'd interpret it if I were using the common understanding of the word bullion. It vexes me that they were vague about defining the terms "coin" and "bullion". Most definitions I find in dictionaries are specific about bullion not being a coin in form - only bars, ingots or plates.

I was told the contrary by outgoing US Customs when I took some of my gold to Peru It's a long-ish story and I am too tired to go through it right now. The amount was WELL OVER $10,000, so I filled out the damn form.

This is a question that has come up at ZH. And I have seen pretty authoritative explanations on both sides (yes do have to declare, no you don't). I decided to play it safe.

I'll tell the whole story sometime soon. The only other time I took gold out of the US, my wife and I split it up so that we each had a total of less than $10,000 in liquid assets.

So, I have a decent starter amount of gold down there in Peru should we want to run and hide (rather than stay and fight) if the chips go down...


I re-read the lead-off post. I was taking Gold Eagles (gold coins). So maybe that info is indeed correct. But, in Peru any bullion would likely have to go through destructive testing before being accepted.

EDIT Again:

@ dontde

That's not what the Customs lady told me re the value of my Eagles. Market value, not nominal (face) value. She was trying to trick me. She had made a call...
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Gold Eagles are technically legal tender currency.
I would assume any legal tender would have to be declared, but I don't think they would care about a private mint. I'm not sure but that would be what I would think. I can tell you that TSA is definitely looking for it, see the below video:

<old video removed from youtube, account closed>
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...the above video is quite shocking. Come on, America, what has happened to you???? Why on Earth ANY government entity shall interrogate people about their belongings, be it cash, silver, or whatever, for fox's sake, when travelling? Jesus, it is right on like during the martial law introduced in '81 in Poland, to stiffle the huge Solidarity movement (country-wide workers unions, connected/being an opposition to the Party (because one political Party, in a robust regime, really is enough ;)). I can't believe it only required half a generation lifetime, to turn this symbol of freedom upside down!
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My strong advice is for you to contact the nearest office of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency and explain what you propose to do and ask them what you should do to conform to the law. You should ask for and receive a written response from them so that you can use it when you actually depart. Also ask Customs if you need to notify them of your date and departure flight as a precaution against the very real possibility a local customs agent at the airport may not know the rules that cover this situation.

At a minimum you will need to complete Census Bureau Form 7525-V, “Shipper’s Export Declaration.” Form 7525-V is required for exported commodities with a value exceeding $2,500. At current silver and gold prices the coins would exceed this reporting threshold. Failure to file a shipper’s export declaration can result in the commodity’s seizure. ...

OK, Here's my story regarding traveling with gold internationally.

When we were planning our move from Alaska to NZ via Australia, I called US customs, Australian customs, and NZ customs. They all told me that I had to report when exiting and entering. Also, Australia wanted receipts that showed the coins were purchased more than one year prior to entry.

Anyway, this is what happened: We went through security in Ketchikan Alaska. There, I asked for a private screening (something I did every time as I didn't need my coins displayed in front of the entire airport), when the security agent saw my coins he said something about gold "when things hit the fan the government will just confiscate it", I told him that that would be admitting that their fiat isn't really money thus validating gold, I saw a little light go on in his head, which I always enjoy. That was no problem and a couple of flights later I was in LAX preparing for my flight to Australia. I went to the customs agent there and attempted to file a form, but the agent told me that it was unnecessary, I pressed him a bit but he said there was no requirement, so I left it at that.

When we arrived in Australia (where we were planning on spending a few months visiting family (my wife is an Aussie), we went through customs and told them what we were carrying. Mind you this was considerably more than the $10,000 limit in value, but under it in face value. It would take 200 one ounce coins to reach the $10,000 limit. Anyway, the gal in customs looked at our custom form and we told her we were carrying gold coins, she went and talked to her superior, came back and asked how much we had, we told her and off she went back to her superior, she returned in a few minutes and said, "OK, you can go" and that was it. They didn't even want to look at it or the receipts to verify that they were over a year.

Next we had a domestic flight from Brisbane to Melbourne so we had to go through security (again I asked for a private screening) and they were like "why?", the lady was kind of rude, but eventually I got it. Funnily enough, they made my wife take a dinner set that had butter knives and forks out of her carry on and put it in her checked bag even though she had carried on the american flights; go figure. Also, just to show how stupid and beurocratic the security rules are, after going through a private screening and while my wife was putting the dinner set in her checked bags, I sat down next to the security area and waited. While there, I got the "random" selection and had to go through it all again. The stupidity of it is, who would go through screening and pass and then hang around if they really had anything illegal?

Anyway, we left the gold in a safe deposit box in Melbourne when we first moved to NZ, as we had no idea where we would find a home or when. After we found and bought a home, I went on a one day trip to Melbourne to see Nana and visit my safe deposit box. Nana is my wife's grandmother who migrated from Eastern Europe (Yugoslav-Hungarian) in the 60's so she knows about gold and jewelry as wealth and me and 85 year old granny had a great time going down into the bank vault where the safe deposit boxes were.

I caught a flight back to NZ that night and on arrival raised a few eyebrows at customs. The agent, of course, had to bring over her superior and he is looking at my coins and asks about receipts and I show them to him. Like most everyone else, they ask if I'm a bullion dealer or collector. He knows the current price of gold and then remarks about one of my older receipts, "wow, you could get gold for $300 an ounce?"

That's my story. It was a lot of fun, but a bit nerve racking at times. I had a bum bag (fanny pack) where I kept it all and kept it with me at all times on the plane, etc.

Most of the security and customs people I encountered wanted to think of me as a collector or dealer, my recommendation is to agree with them or just call yourself a collector. I would definitely NOT say you're fleeing currency collapse!

Anyway, I hope this helps anyone whose thinking about heading overseas. The bottom line is that you just want to make sure that you declare your gold. I remember that at about the time we were getting ready to move that some guy got stopped crossing the boarder into Canada from the US. He was carrying a lot of gold coins and his crime was not reporting them. As far as I know, that's all he got in trouble for. $.02
Awesome! For now, this will likely be the norm, some sideways glances, a shrug and go ahed sir. But in the near future, they will all want to peel off a "tax" of some sort or another. You can count on it.
Traveling With Precious Metals (Article)

Found this article which might be useful for those of you who are traveling with pms from or to the US:
Traveling With Precious Metals
By Robert E. Bauman
Offshore Confidential

Imagine you are docilely going through the long security line at John F. Kennedy International Airport, headed for your overnight flight to London Heathrow. As your carry-on bag goes through the X-ray, a burly TSA agent is called over to confer with the machine operator. He then looks at you and says: "Please come with me, sir."

As you are led to a small cubicle, you nervously try to think of what you might have done wrong. While you open your bag as instructed, the stern-faced TSA agent points to a small package and demands to know what it contains. Inside are antique, collectible gold coins that you intend to sell to the same British dealer from whom you bought them years ago, but now they are worth much more.

Now the agent says: "I'm sorry, sir, I will have to confiscate them, but I will give you a receipt. You have the right to file an appeal."

You stand there dumbfounded, the whole purpose of your journey destroyed.

Safely Transporting Your Coins or Precious Metals

Serious problems can arise when gold or silver coins (or any precious metals) are transported personally out of the U.S. to other countries by auto, airplane, boat or public transportation - or the reverse, when entering the U.S.

In May 2010, the Houston reported that U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) agents and Border Protection officers at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport confiscated more than $250,000 in cash and almost $160,000 in gold and silver in 14 separate seizures from individual travelers during that one month alone.

At the time, I checked with several precious-metal experts and none had ever heard of government agents doing what these ICE agents did. It was news to them - and to me. And Houston, of course, is one of many international airports and entry and exit points in the U.S. So those figures could be multiplied many times over.

Because of the confiscations that already have occurred, I urge you not to travel with precious metals in any form, including coins. Any border crossing with more than $10,000 or more in U.S. dollars or foreign equivalent in any form must be reported on U.S. Customs Declaration Form 6059B. If you're moving U.S.-issued gold or silver coins, some advisors claim that you need to declare only the face value; $50 for a one-ounce gold Eagle, for instance, but that may cause trouble. Your friendly Homeland Security Administration agent isn't likely to be terribly sympathetic to this argument, and just might seize your coins.

Also, when you arrive in your intended foreign country you may face another Customs gauntlet. However, if you declare the gold as "cash," you'll hopefully be permitted to proceed.

If you must personally carry coins, my advice is to contact the nearest office of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, well ahead of travel, and explain what you propose to do and ask them how you can conform to the law. You should ask for and receive a written response so that you can show it if questioned by ICE agents. Also ask Customs if you need to notify them of your date and departure flight as a precaution against the very real possibility that a local Customs agent at the airport may not know the rules that cover this situation.

You will need to complete and bring with you a Census Bureau Form 7525-V, Shipper's Export Declaration. This form is required for exported commodities with a value exceeding $2,500. At current silver and gold prices, many coins would exceed this reporting threshold. Failure to file this declaration can result in seizure. The consequences for stating incorrect information are severe, including confiscation. They may also result in a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment.

If you have difficulty dealing with the U.S. Customs office, call the office of your local Member of the U.S. House of Representatives or one of your U.S. Senators and ask for their assistance. They should be pleased to help you.

There probably will be reporting formalities and Customs duties payable when you enter a foreign country. Most require you to fill out, sign and submit Customs Declarations upon entry, asking if you are importing currency or the equivalent. You should contact your destination country's embassy or consulate here in the U.S. to determine how they deal with silver and gold imports or exports.

Don't give them any definitive identification or travel information in case they put you on a travelers watch list.

If you intend to import gold or silver coins from offshore, it is advisable to hire a U.S. customs broker in advance of your travel. The customs broker can appraise the value of the coins and arrange for payment of the foreign country's Customs or other goods and services taxes. Your local FedEx or UPS office can advise you about how to contact customs brokers in your area. Of course, you should also bring with you proof of your ownership of specific coins or precious metals, as well as a statement of appraised value from a recognized appraiser.
Currency description

Gold Eagles are technically legal tender currency.
I found a good explanation of currency and other monetary instruments report
This is from the Dept of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
This should put the currency argument to bed
I found a good explanation of currency and other monetary instruments report
This is from the Dept of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
This should put the currency argument to bed

You note that you found a good explanation, but you do not quote it, you do not post a link, you do not reference it in any way, and you do not give us any way to follow up on what you found. :(
Hi superlative, welcome to the forum. :wave:

As I understand it, you need to declare gold eagles with FinCen 105 (if the value* exceeds $10,000), you need to declare gold bullion (bars) with the Census Bureau Form 7525-V, “Shipper’s Export Declaration” (if the value exceeds $2,500) and/or the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Declaration Form 6059B.

It's still not clear to me whether or not the "value" for gold eagles is face value or bullion value (for the FinCen 105 form). Also not clear is whether you need to execute a form 7525-V (and/or 6059B) for gold eagles (in addition to a possible FinCen 105).
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