Taking cash in or out of Australia? Read this.

Roberto Efflandrin

Whether you call it the Land Down Under or just Australia, the reality is that there are real restrictions and requirements when it comes to bringing cash across borders. If you’re travelling to or from Australia and plan to bring cash with you, you’ll definitely need to be aware of the rules.

Here’s some info to keep in mind to ensure a safe, smooth trip.

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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. However, if it’s $10,000 (AUD) or more (or the equivalent in a foreign currency) in total, you’re required to declare it at customs. This also applies to non-cash forms of money (like cheques, traveller’s cheques, and money orders).¹

How much cash can you take out of Australia?

For Australia, there is no limit to the amount of money that you can travel with, receive and send overseas. Just like in the point above, 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.¹

Keep in mind that the country you’re travelling 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.

Read more: Tax Implications of Transferring Money from Overseas to Australia

How much cash can you bring into australia per family or travelling group

The question then becomes, how does this work when it comes to a travelling group or family. Keep in mind that sharing cash and non-cash forms of money between members of a family or travelling group to avoid declaring it is considered “structuring” by the AUSTRAC and this is illegal.

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

As stated above,** one can’t really bring too much cash** to Australia. But if one brings in more than a combined value of $10,000 (AUD) in cash and non-cash forms of money, and it’s not declared to customs, one may risk facing penalties which include fines and even imprisonment.¹

What qualifies as cash and BNIs anyway?

Coins and notes qualify as cash when entering Australia.

Bearer negotiable instruments (BNIs) include:

  • Bill of exchange
  • Cheque
  • Promissory note
  • Bearer bond
  • Traveller's cheque
  • Money order, postal order or similar order

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.

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How to declare your cash to Australian customs

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 make your declaration online here – Online form: Travelling into or out of Australia with money.** **Sample reporting forms can be seen here.

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 unfavourable 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? Give Wise a try

Send money with Wise and you get the mid-market exchange rate, which means no expensive mark-up on your currency conversions. Fees are clear, shown upfront and secure.

Wise also offers the Wise Account, which allow users to send, receive and manage money in multiple global currencies, including Australian dollars, all from one account. You can also order a Wise debit card, which you can use to pay for goods and services at the mid-market rate when abroad.

Safety is super important at Wise and it’s regulated wherever it operates. In Australia, it is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL number 513764).

It’s super easy to arrange a payment with Wise. Once your account is approved, you can set one up in minutes, without the need to visit a physical branch in person.

Join over 13 million customers currently enjoying Wise. It’ll only take a few minutes to register and see what’s inside.

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Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

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

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Sources:

  1. Austrac reporting physical currency
  2. The speed of transaction claim depends on funds availability, approval by Wise’s proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners’ banking system, and may not be available for all transactions.

Sources checked on 17 Jan 2023


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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

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