Please sign in to post.

Carrying pounds in cash onto the airlines

We will be carrying GBP onto the airplane to London. How do we protect the cash as we go through the security search and our carry-on items are away from us on the security while we go through the x-ray search line? Do we put in our carry on or wear it on our body under a shirt in the security search line. Do we mention the money belts or do we leave it in the carry on luggage?

Posted by
9110 posts

You can't have anything when you go through the detectors. Toss it in your carry on. If they dig into it for any reason, you have to be right there watching. Why you're taking pounds to the UK is another whole issue. You know they have them there in large quantities, right?

Posted by
1586 posts

I put cash and any gold jewelry into a small zippered cloth pouch.(Don't put in any silver jewelry or coins.) I then safety pin this pouch into my carry -on. Use a safety pin at each end, feeding one pin through the hole in the zipper. While this pouch could still be stolen during a security check, it would be difficult to do so without being obvious.

Posted by
1164 posts

I'm not sure why you think this is a problem. Just about everyone who goes through a security checkpoint is carrying cash.

Posted by
31303 posts

Ron, Are you going to be carrying a substantial amount of GBP or just enough to keep you going until you can visit an ATM? You might place your Money Belt or Wallet inside your carry-on bag and run it through the X-Ray scanner. Unless they see something that warrants a closer look, they may not even open the bag. Once you're through security, retrieve it and continue to your flight. You don't need to mention your Money Belts as they don't need to know that. AFAIK, you'll only need to declare currency if it exceeds $10,000. I wouldn't suggest wearing it on your person because: > If it's detected by Metal Detector, you'll have to remove it and go through again, which is a bit embarrassing when you're standing there and holding up the queue. > If you happen to get a location that has a full-body scanner, it will be detected immediately and it will be a major production dealing with that. Happy travels!

Posted by
9110 posts

For the lurkers, here's how you go through security without looking like a dufus (and assuming that you're not pre-screened): Assume that you don't know what kind of detector you'll encounter and you don't know whether or not tablets will be in or out that day 1. Prior to arriving at the stand where you show your passport and boarding pass, your pockets are dead empty and every thing is chunked into your carry on. The mesh/plastic bag of suspicious crap is in an outside pocket. You belt is hooked to the exterior of the carry on somehow. The compartment for the tablet laptop is open or readilly accessible. 2. While moving down the line to the detectors, you untie your shoes and chunk the passport and boarding pass into the pocket you just pulled the dangerous liquids bag from. You take your jacket off and hold it in the paw not holding the carry on. 3. When you get to the conveyor you toss the carry on first and snatch the tablet from it and put it into the laundry tub while the other hand is placing the jacket alongside. All that's left to do before giving the container a shove is to kick off your shoes and toss them in. 4. You've never stop moving unless you had to wait for the dolt in front of you. 5. Walk over to your junk, suff the tablet in the bag and grab it with one hand and the shoes and jacket with the other. 6. Get past the idiots sorting their junk before you reconbobulate yourself. 7. If you need to be wanded or patted down, it can happen in one or two ways a. If it happens right pasts the detectors, you can look over and watch your precious stuff sitting at the discharge end of the conveyor. b. If you're pulled off to the side the security dude moves your stuff and you go through the indignity staring right at it. 8. Nothing will be opened without your being present.

Posted by
8954 posts

...and I kid you not they now have money sniffing dogs to enforce these currency regulations. I have encountered them entering the UK at Heathrow, and at Schipol in the departures area.

Posted by
2262 posts

I'd like to add one item to Ed's list, as this is me, and many others have this issue. I have a double hip replacement. If this is you, you will not know which type of scanner they are using (unless you have been through that airport recently). If it's the old style metal detector, you will be held back, and possibly separated a while from your stuff.
Make certain if at all possible you have a traveling companion who will be directly in front of or behind you who can watch over your stuff while you wait - I once waited 15 minutes for further review at Dulles. And thus one other preparation: They will not let you have your belt back while you wait. Don't make this the day that you are in old pants that can't stay up. Been there.

Posted by
1886 posts

Ron, For significant cash (anything over 200E or 200GBP, my husband wears a holster style money belt. Two options for getting thru security: 1) ask for a manual pat down (never takes that long and is done in a private room)....explain quietly that you are wearing a money belt, OR 2) carry the money belt in your take-on bag (or if a spouse in her purse), have it be the VERY LAST item you put through the x-ray belt....have it proceed only at the exact minute you are stepping up to the screener for your body screen, and tell the screener that you want to not get detached from it (do this quietly) 3) IF the regular screening is taking longer and your item is sitting there, very nicely tell the screener you want to make sure you can keep an eye on your bag/purse,etc. 4) you mention WE will be....if traveling with a spouse or friend, have that person go before you, shoot your cash thru with their stuff, and then be the very next person in line, so she/he can grab the bag if there is a delay in your getting through. Timing is everything. 5) I am always very kind, but never the least bit shy about speaking up about not wanting to get detached from my money, phone, computer, etc.
6) once thru security (if not doing the manual pat down), hit the restroom and privately put the holster style money belt on, so you don't have to worry about your cash when you land We have personally found that asking for the manual pat down is the easiest, and we were advised to go this route by a family member who worked for an airline.

Posted by
3557 posts

As Ed said: Get past the idiots sorting their junk before you reconbobulate yourself. My pet peeve is the people who stand right at the spit out point of the x-ray machine to wait for their stuff and STAY there to put their shoes back on, get dressed again, etc. If your stuff is after theirs, it can be held before even going into the x-ray. At first I thought it was just one anomalous idiot, but I now know they're everywhere.

Posted by
2081 posts

ron, i get a box of those freezer type ziplock bags and put my change in them when im going to/from the airports. i just put all of my change in them and put them in my carryon. no problems. also, when they say "noting" in your pockets, they mean it. happy trails.

Posted by
5657 posts

You are subject to fines up to 5000 GBP if you fail to declare cash in excess of 10000 Euro equivalent on arrival to the UK. There is a UK customs form for that purpose. Note that the cash limit means any combination of cash - GBP, EURO, USD,YEN etc. and bank drafts, cashiers checks etc. Etc.

Posted by
9110 posts

Whoa! Hold on just a minute. I haven't seen the British form for a while, but I think the limit is expressed in sterling, not euro. Before you get all of that dough into the UK, you have to get it out of the US. There's a ten grand limit of what you can tote without filing a 105. And the limit applies, cumulatively to everybody traveling together (maybe it's just family members, not friends, I forget). It applies both coming and going. Fill the little form out and you can lug as much as you can lift. Don't fill it out and I think the penalty is forfeiture/seizure of the lot plus big fines and pokey time. I'm also pretty sure the max US fine is a bit stiffer than what Edgar says the British one is. First things first.

Posted by
5657 posts

I think the $10000 USD restriction is bringing cash into the US. https://www.gov.uk/bringing-cash-into-uk Bringing cash into the UK If you bring €10,000 or more in cash, or the equivalent in another currency, to the UK from outside the European Union (EU) you must it. Cash includes: notes and coins bankers' drafts cheques of any kind (including travellers' cheques)
If you're travelling as a family you need to cash over €10,000. Form C9011 You could face a penalty of up to £5,000 if you don't your cash or give incorrect information. Your d cash can be seized by Customs Officers if they have reasonable grounds to suspect a crime. They can keep the cash for 48 hours - after that they need a court order.

Posted by
9363 posts

I have a knee replacement (and a plate and screws in the ankle of the same leg). On my four flights last month, I made the machine beep twice, and both times I was patted down AND wanded extensively right out in full view of everyone, not in a private room. I was able to keep an eye on my stuff easily at the first airport (Glasgow). At the second (Heathrow), where the process was more extensive, they asked me to point out my belongings on the belt, and they set them aside next to the man at the scanner. I was never out of sight of my stuff, and I felt that they did attempt to make sure that it was secure while I was being dealt with. As for your issue, I do as others have suggested - everything is in my carryon at the moment of scanning. The only place I had to automatically take off my shoes was in Chicago. Even at Heathrow I left them on until they decided to search me, when they asked me to remove them and send them through the machine. It just depends on where you are, but I would never try to wear a money belt through security.

Posted by
1549 posts

Several weeks ago in Chicago, TSA wanted to "pat" me down a little more than normal with a wand type thing that they then "test" in a machine. I was not allowed to pull my stuff off the conveyor yet. The TSA agent pulled me aside, and kept saying, "watch your stuff", "keep an eye on your belongings"...... I did, 60 seconds later, picked my carryon, briefcase, computer, and liquids off the conveyor. But the fact that the TSA person kept telling me to watch, tells me they have problems with things disappearing if you are not watching. I travel a lot and I see people put loose wallets, cell phones, and cash, passport, driver's license in the bin. IMO, you are asking for trouble, put your loose items inside your carry on. No one is going to open your bags looking for the valuables, but how easy to palm a wallet, cell phone, or drop your passport on the floor and not notice until you arrive in Europe. I'm through airports at least once a month, so going through security is habit for me and I do the same routine every time. But for those people that travel once a year on vacation, going through security can feel rushed and stressful, especially if traveling with children. Think about how many things you are putting through the x-ray ahead of time. 1) carry-on 2) purse 3) computer 4)jacket 5) belt 6)liquids (less is better). Then when you pick your stuff off the conveyor count your belongings again, take your stuff to a nearby bench so you can methodically "get dressed"/organized/act together, before you walk away do one last quick "inventory". It's so easy to get distracted, and you may already be stressed after taking too long to get through security, so DON'T rush. Take your time.

Posted by
991 posts

I have to agree with Jeff. Everyone takes cash with them. I usually have a couple of hunderd £'s left over from a previous trip. BIG money is another thing...too bulky anyway.

Posted by
31303 posts

@Marco, We also have a similar Proceeds of Crime law here, and anyone carrying amounts greater than $10K should be prepared to prove where the money came from. If travellers fail to they're carrying more than $10K, CBSA officers can apply one of four or five penalty levels, with the top level being complete seizure of ALL of the money. There is an Appeal process, but apparently it's rarely successful. We have a reality TV show here called Border Security, which shows the day-to-day activities of CBSA officers at airports, land borders and Post Offices. It's unbelievable the scams that some people try to get away with! One of the most common violations is people from "third world" countries arriving with HUGE Wheelie bags loaded with frozen meats and vegetables of all types (I guess they don't know that we have food over here). If they fail to tick the "are you carrying food" box on their Customs card and deçlare the items, they're often fined $800 on the spot! One Canadian that was shown on the program returning home with $18K in U.S. dollars was really thinking ahead. He had won the money in Vegas, and had taken a photo of the Slot Machine on his Smartphone, showing his win. He and his loot were released quickly. Cheers!

Posted by
4536 posts

As well as the European law, there is also the UK Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to take into account. This enables a customs officer or constable to seize cash at the border if he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that it is recoverable property ie the proceeds of crime or is intended for use in unlawful conduct. So if you have more than £1000 be sure you could if asked prove its origin and what you intend to do with it. Probably best to bring in less to be safe, even if the above happening is remote.

Posted by
638 posts

Ken, the last paragraph brings up and interesting question. When and American wins a substantial amount of money in Vegas they have to fill out tax forms so the Internal Revenue Service can get their cut. Now, being he was Canadian I wonder if Vegas does the same for Canada or simply says "here's your money". I wonder if the CRA gets notified of the winnings or if the winner get avoid paying an income tax on money won in a foreign country. In this case since the customs officers knew about it are they obligated to notify CRA or handle it in some other administrative way?

Posted by
5657 posts

Michael's report about currency sniffing dogs may be drug dogs reacting to contaminated money. "Prevalence of Drug-Tainted Money Voids Case Law: Court cites findings that more than 75% of currency in L.A. bears traces of cocaine or other illegal substances.". Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Abrahamson, Alan, Nov 13, 1994 Lesson learned is to launder your currency if you are going to sneak a large amount of money across national boarders. Or do what most of us do: use ATM accounts to get currency for spending money and use credit cards to settle the bigger invoices.

Posted by
8954 posts

Michael's report about currency sniffing dogs may be drug dogs reacting to contaminated money. No, police agencies have literally trained dogs to sniff out the ink and paper of US Dollars/UK pounds/Euros. Just like they use other dogs to sniff out fruit/veg or explosives. Having said that one of the primary reasons for doing it is the war on drugs. Governments have finally figured out it is easier to find the cash than spot the drugs. When drugs enter a country, cash has to eventually filter back to the cartels, and you can't swallow a 100,000 grand and store it in your digestive system;)

Posted by
2788 posts

I fly often, both back and forth to Hawaii and Europe. I have to go thru the "pat-down" procedure every time since I have an implanted pacemaker that the manufacturer and my cardiologist both recommend not being subjected to any of the type of magnetic waves that are found in airport screening places. When traveling with someone, I have them go first and then send my stuff the machine so that they can retrieve it at the other end. If I am traveling alone (half the time) I WILL NOT send my stuff thru the machine until a TSA agent is ready to take me thru for the pat-down exercise and most of the time that agent will grab all of my belongings at the other end and keep them near me during the pat-down. I have, upon occasion, encountered a TSA agent who was very unsuccessful in life before they got their TSA job, and sometimes I am forced to ask for a supervisor to correct that TSA agents behavior. I even had one TSA agent take me for the pat-down and then grab a wand to start going over me. I quickly separated myself from him and called for a supervisor who corrected the first agent. It does seem to help me to be friendly with those folks but not excessively so. If I think I had one of the better experiences going thru security and pat-down, I stop at the TSA desk and compliment them.

Posted by
31303 posts

@Barry, That is a good question. I believe even Canadians get nicked by the I.R.S. on wins in Vegas, but I've heard that they're able to recover the taxes. One of my friends spends five months in Vegas every year, and he knows all the rules about that sort of thing, so I'll try and find the answer. However, my memory was incorrect on the case I described - it was actually a traveller from the U.S. that won the money. See the video below. One other interesting incident that was shown on the new season of Border Security was the case of a young couple from the U.S. that were heading for a picnic in the park in Blaine but took a wrong turn and ended up in Canada. Since they entered the country, they were subject to screening. When the CBSA officer asked if they had any firearms, both the husband and wife said "yes". Both were carrying Glocks in shoulder holsters, and the weapons were immediately confiscated. The part that had me shaking my head was that there was another Glock stored in the baby's diaper bag. I'm not sure why they think it's necessary to carry that much firepower for a day out with baby? As they were honest with the officers, they weren't arrested and charged. The weapons were sealed in a pouch and walked back across the line, for the couple to pick up when they returned home. Here's a good example of what can happen to those who fail to deçlare amounts greater than $10K. This woman seemed (IMO) to be very evasive with the answers she was giving. www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBXrh7dfHhw I believe she had all of her funds confiscated.

Posted by
5563 posts

Karen, they or may not have had problems, but there are lots and lots of legends about theft floating around the internet. So, they tell people to watch their stuff so they won't contribute to the legends. There were baggage thefts before TSA, sadly--even to locked bags. Pam

Posted by
415 posts

@barry If a Canadian wins a large amount of money in Vegas, the casino withholds some for taxes in the U.S. I heard it was in the neighbourhood of 15%. There are legal ways to get it back. I'm fairly certain there is no tax on lottery or other legal gambling winnings in Canada. (but we sure make up for that in other taxes!). There will be tax on the earnings you make from those winnings in the future however (eg. interest, etc)

Posted by
12372 posts

I don't know why we are talking about large amounts of cash but you cannot take $10,000 or mor out of the US without declaring it. As for passing security, I routinely get stopped for an additional check because of titanium clips left in me following breast cancer surgery. I am used to it and my husband and I plan accordingly, for him to go through and collect our stuff while I am detained. Just be sure that someone keeps track of the bins carrying your money and other belongings.