Taking cash in or out of Canada? Read this.

TransferWise
11.07.18
4 minute read

Whether you call it the Great White North or just Canada, the reality is still that there are restrictions on how much cash you can take in or out. If you plan to visit Canada, you’ll want to know exactly what the rules are surrounding bringing cash across the country’s borders, and this guide can help. Read on to learn everything you need to know about carrying cash in and out of Canada.

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

There are no limits to how much cash you can bring into Canada, and it’s not illegal to bring large amounts across Canada’s borders. However, if you have C$10,000 or more (or the equivalent in a foreign currency), you must declare it at the border.

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

As stated above, there’s no such thing as bringing “too much cash” to Canada — the country has no limit on how much cash you can bring in. But if you have C$10,000 or more and you fail to declare it at customs, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has the authority to seize all of your cash. You won’t be able to get it back until you pay a fine, which can range from C$250 to C$5,000. If the CBSA suspects the money is proceeds from a crime or being used to fund terrorist activity, it won’t be returned, and you’ll have to file a review to start an investigation.

What qualifies as cash anyway?

Coins and notes in any world currency qualify as cash when entering Canada. The same goes for what the CBSA calls “monetary instruments,” which include stocks, bonds, bank drafts, cheques and traveller's cheques. Any combination of money and monetary instruments valuing C$10,000 or more must be declared.

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

Travellers from all countries are required to declare cash when entering Canada, if the amount is C$10,000 or more.

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

Travellers from all countries are required to declare cash when entering Canada, if the amount is A$10,000 or more.

Declaring cash at your arrival

If you’re carrying enough cash that you need to declare it and it all belongs to you, you’ll need to fill out a Cross-Border Currency or Monetary Instruments Report – Individual form. If you’re carrying cash for someone else, you’ll need to complete a Cross-Border Currency or Monetary Instruments Report – General form. Either form can be downloaded and filled out ahead of time, or filled out at customs as you enter or leave Canada.

How much cash can you take out of Canada?

Canada 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 C$10,000 (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 which country you’re headed to.

Exchanging currency in cash is very costly

Exchanging currency in cash is generally not the cheapest way to obtain Canadian dollars. If you exchange cash at an exchange service, even if it advertises no fees, it’s probably still charging you an unfavorable, marked up 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.

Canada has seen years of declining crime rates and is generally considered to be very safe, but it’s still never a good idea to carry large amounts of cash on your person, especially when you’re a visitor in a foreign country.

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

TransferWise is one option for sending money internationally, and it allows you to send it 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 Canadian 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.

With these tips in hand, you’re ready to hit the Canadian border with all the know-how to carry cash in or out without a hitch. Safe travels!

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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