What does NOT constitute a Monetary instrument for the purposes of 31 USC §5317?

Monetary instrument

Monetary instruments:

In other words what types of currency CAN you bring in or out of the country without declaring it (i.e. what is not a Monetary instrument)? As you may remember traveler’s checks, foreign currency equaling the amount of $10,000.00 USD, and endorsed checks all count. The U.S. customs and border protection department has put forth a helpful list:


The most interesting exception here is that for unendorsed checks. This means if you have not signed the back of the check, you can easily evade reporting requirements. Also of note, what is a bill of lading? This is not a common legal term, but it means “a document signed by a carrier (transporter of goods) or the carrier’s representative and issued to a consignor (the shipper of goods) that evidences the receipt of goods for shipment to a designation and person.”


Time is of the essence in currency seizure cases and it is important to immediately file a petition for relief. The longer the money remains in the custody of U.S. Customs, the more likely that the assets will be forfeited to the government. Customs seizure law is complex, and it is important to have experienced legal representation throughout the process. Most of the currency that is seized will ultimately be forfeited to the government, primarily due to a lack of aggressive recovery efforts. This is an area of the law where an attorney with expertise can prove extremely valuable.

To retain our experienced customs seizures lawyers call (877) 406-6906., or contact us with a private message, we practice throughout the US.

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