Taking cash in or out of Australia? Read this.

28.12.17
3 minute read
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Whether you call it the Land Down Under or just Australia, the reality is that there are real restrictions when it comes to bringing cash across borders. If you’re traveling to Australia and plan to bring cash with you, you’ll definitely need to be aware of the rules. Read this before you go to ensure a safe, smooth trip.

How much cash can you bring into Australia? What are the limits?

There are no limits to how much cash you can bring into Australia, but if it’s $10,000 (AUD) or more (or the equivalent in a foreign currency), you’re required to declare it at customs.

What are the penalties if you bring in too much cash to Australia?

As stated above, you can’t really bring too much cash to Australia. But if you bring in more than $10,000 (AUD) and you don’t declare it to customs, you risk having it seized or getting yourself fined or even thrown in jail.

What qualifies as cash anyway?

Coins and notes qualify as cash when entering Australia, and if you carry them in amounts equal to or exceeding $10,000 (AUD), they must be declared. Bearer negotiable instruments (BNIs) like cheques, travellers cheques, bearer bonds and money orders must be declared if an Australian Border Force Officer requests them; otherwise, they’re fine to carry in and out of Australia. BNIs don’t count toward your cash total, so, for example, if you have $5,000 in cash and $5,000 in travellers cheques, you’re not required to declare your cash unless asked to do so by a border force officer.

Countries/Regions from which a declaration isn't needed if you’re travelling to Australia

Travellers from all countries are required to declare cash when entering Australia, if the amount is $10,000 (AUD) or more.

Countries from where declaration is needed if you’re travelling to Australia

Travellers from all countries are required to declare cash when entering Australia, if the amount is $10,000 (AUD) or more.

Declaring cash at your arrival

Physical Currency (CBM-PC) reporting forms are available from customs officers at international airports and seaports. They may be handed out on planes or cruise ships before you land in Australia, but if not, they can be picked up at the airport as you make your way through customs. You can also download the form here and fill it out ahead of time.

How much cash can you take out of Australia?

Australia doesn’t have any rules about how much cash you can take out of the country, though you’ll still have to make a customs declaration if you’re carrying more than $10,000 (AUD) (or the foreign currency equivalent) in cash. However, the country you’re going to may have its own rules about how much cash you can bring in. Make sure to do your research depending on the country you’re headed to.

Exchanging currency in cash is very costly

Exchanging currency in cash is generally not the cheapest way to obtain Australian dollars. If you exchange cash at an exchange service, even if it advertises no fees, it’s probably still exchanging your money at an unfavorable exchange rate so it can make a profit. It’s generally cheaper to use your debit card to withdraw cash as you need it at a local ATM, where you may be charged an ATM fee, but will typically get a better exchange rate.

Even though Australia is generally a pretty safe place, it’s never a good idea to carry large amounts of cash while you’re travelling. That’s just one more reason to explore options outside of exchanging cash.

Travelling frequently? Want to save money? Give TransferWise a try

TransferWise allows you to send money internationally at the actual exchange rate, or the rate you see when you Google it. It’s fast, easy and secure.

TransferWise also offers borderless multi currency accounts, which allow users to send, receive and manage money in multiple global currencies, including Australian dollars, all at once. Beginning in 2018, borderless account holders will also have access to consumer debit cards, making accessing your money in foreign countries even easier.

Hopefully, with these tips in hand, your trip to Australia will go off without a hitch. Safe travels!

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