What are the rules when you travel with liquid assets (cash)?

You probably want to take some pocket money with you when travelling. No problem, but keep in mind a couple of rules.

  • When do I have to declare cash when travelling?

    If you plan to enter or leave the European Union with 10,000 euros or more in cash, you must spontaneously declare this to Customs (1).

    If you are travelling between another EU Member State and Belgium, you must  not spontaneously declare this. During a control by Customs you may be asked about any large sums of cash money that you are holding. If you have 10,000 euros or more in cash with you at that moment, you will have to fill in the declaration form. (2)

    The obligation to declare large amounts of cash contributes to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorist or criminal activities.

    (1) Council Regulation (EC) 1889/2005.

    (2) Belgian Royal Decree of 26 January 2014 on supervisory measures for the physical cross-border transportation of currency.

  • How and where should I submit a declaration for cash money when travelling?

    The declaration must be submitted at the place where you leave or enter the European Union. For example, Belgians travelling to South America via Madrid must submit the Spanish completed declaration form in Madrid.

    The Belgian form is available at any Customs office.  As is the case for documents of the other EU Member States, it can also be found on the website of the European Commission.

  • What are the penalties if I don't declare cash when travelling?

    If you are responsible for the import or export of 10,000 euros in cash without having submitted any declaration, you are committing a Customs offence and a penalty shall be imposed.

    Moreover, the Customs authorities will always draw up a report of findings for the Public Prosecutor’s Department. On that basis, the public prosecutor may decide to open a money laundering investigation.

  • Who should submit the declaration for cash money when travelling?

    Any person entering or leaving the European Union with 10,000 euros or more in cash, is obliged to submit a declaration.  That also applies when you are carrying cash money from or for any other person or legal person (for instance the company you work for).  When you are travelling in group or with children, the rule applies individually.

  • What counts as cash money?

    ✓ banknotes and coins (foreign currencies will be converted into euro)

    ✓ traveller’s cheques and other bearer cheques

    ✓ letters of credit and cash bonds

    All the above-mentioned examples will be added up to determine whether the limit of 10,000 euros has been reached.