Travelers entering or leaving the U.S. with more than $10,000 in “monetary instruments” have to file a Currency and Monetary Instrument Report (CMIR) with U.S. custom officials.
Due to concerns that prepaid cards are being used for money laundering and other criminal uses, new proposed rules will extend the definition of “monetary instruments” to include prepaid cards and gift cards, gift cards, and potentially even cell phones to the list of “monetary instruments” whose value must be declared upon entering or leaving the country. When the total exceeds $10,000, the individual would have to file a special report with customs officials.
Interestingly, the rules may be extended to cell phones that can be used to accomplish digital fund transfers.
Credit cards and debit cards, which are considered more visible to law enforcement, are exempt from the rule.