Have you taken more than 10,000 euros cash abroad or entered the Germany with a lot of cash? If so, you could face severe fines of up to 1 million euros. The same applies to cash equivalent to cash, such as savings books, gold and cheques.

Any person travelling with cash, gold, cheques or other equivalent cash with a total value of 10,000 euros must declare this to the competent customs office. This applies to travel within the European Union orally and on questioning. For journeys to non-European countries, this must be done in writing in advance.

Violations of this are punished by the customs administration and fines fixed.

Carrying more than €10,000 and caught by German customs?

If you entered Germany with more than €10,000 in cash and have been threatened with a fine by customs at the airport, please contact our customs lawyers directly on +49 40 369615-0. Please do not make any statements, before we have spoken.

Cash when travelling within the EU

The movement of cash, gold, cheques and other cash within the Member States of the European Union shall be monitored. The control units of the Customs and the Federal Police supervise the borders of the Federal Republic. In this respect, controls can take place at ports, airports or even on trains that travel across borders.

Both those entering and leaving Germany who are carrying more than 10,000 euros in cash must declare this amount verbally to the customs officers on request. So if you are asked to declare your cash at a customs check, you must declare the type and value of the cash verbally. The obligation to declare is therefore only verbal and on questioning. You donot have to fill in a registration form before you start your journey. However, when questioned, you must be able to explain the origin of the cash, the beneficial owners and the intended use.

If cash is concealed when questioned and then found after all, penalties may be incurred here.

Cash when travelling out of/into the EU

Do you want to import or export more than €10,000 cash from or to a non-EU country to Germany? Please note that you must declare the amount unrequested in writing to customs. This also applies to travel to Switzerland. For this purpose, you must use the form “Declaration of cash” from customs. You can fill in the form electronically or by hand. It must be signed when they present it at the customs office.

The obligation to declare cash over €10,000 also applies to transit flights. So if you are travelling by plane originating in a non-EU country and are in the transit zone of a Member State airport before proceeding to another third country, you must likewise declare your cash in writing.

If you fail to declare cash or give false information about cash you are carrying while travelling, you could face serious fines.

What counts as cash and is reportable?

Notifiable is in any case cash. This is to be understood as:

  • Banknotes and coins, which are valid means of payment
  • Banknotes and coins, whichare not valid means of payment but can still be exchanged for a currency that is valid means of payment. This is still possible, for example, with the German mark or the Austrian schilling when exchanging them for euros.

Foreign currencies must be converted into euros using the exchange rate on the day of entry or exit in order to check whether the exemption limit of €10,000 has been exceeded. In the case of collector and investment coins, the actual value and not the nominal value indicated on the coin is taken as a basis. Casino gambling tokens, which serve as currency in casinos, are not considered cash.

cheques, savings books or gold must be registered

Please note that other means of payment are also considered cash by law and must therefore be declared when travelling. These include, for example:

Transferable bearer instruments:

  • Sola bills
  • cheques/travellers cheques
  • payment orders
  • Shares
  • Electronic money
  • Credit cards

Means of payment equivalent to cash:

  • Savings books
  • Precious metals, such as gold, platinum or silver
  • Bills of exchange, interest coupons and bonds
  • Gold coins with a gold content of at least 90%
  • Uncoined gold in the form of bars, nuggets or nuggets with a gold content of at least 99.5%

In principle, jewellery and other goods made of precious metals or precious stones do not have to be displayed. However, jewellery purchased while travelling must be declared. Up to an exemption limit of €300, no customs duty or import VAT is due. For air or sea travellers, the allowance is €430. As soon as this amount is exceeded, an import turnover tax of 19 % of the purchase price must be paid.

When travelling with gemstones, such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires or emeralds, you must observe the import and export regulations of the respective country of travel. You must declare raw diamonds as part of a customs declaration. This is to prevent the import of “blood diamonds”.

Have you received a penalty notice?

Our lawyers at O&W from Customs Law assist you and your company with questions regarding notices of fines.Before any statements are made to Customs, consultation with our Customs Law lawyers should take place.
You can reach our lawyers by telephone at +49 40 369615-0.

Who must declare cash

All persons entering from outside the EU with cash in excess of €10,000 are required to declare. If travellers within the EU exceed the upper limit of the amount, they must be able to declare it to customs officials when asked.

Persons subject to declaration include:

  • Natural persons, including crew members, travelling within or outside the EU by air, land, rail or sea.
  • Legal persons, so if a person is carrying cash on behalf of a company, that person must declare the name of the company when making the cash declaration.
  • Also in the case of group travel, a declaration obligation applies from 10,000 euros for each individual member of the group
  • Minorsare subject to the same declaration obligation as adults. They are represented by their parents or legal representatives when registering cash.
  • Persons with mental disabilities and incapacitated adults are also subject to the obligation to register cash. Here, too, the legal representative acts vicariously.

Disclosure duty at all means of transport

The duty to report applies to travellers of all means of transport travelling with cash and equivalent means of payment with a total value of 10,000 euros:

  • Airplane/ transit flight
  • Ship
  • Train
  • Car
  • Pedestrian/ cyclist

You must declare your cash, gold and other cash as soon as you carry it on your body, in your luggage or in your means of transport and it exceeds the total value of 10,000 Euros.

Cash not reported – fine threatens

It is a regulatory offence for travellers to act untruthfully, incompletely, untimely or not at all when requested to do so by customs officials.

This administrative offence can be punished with a fine of up to one million euros under section 31 a of the Customs Administration Act.

If the information is complete and conclusive and there are no indications of money laundering or financing of terrorism, you can continue your journey without hindrance. If, on the other hand, there are indications of money laundering or the financing of terrorist organisations, the cash carried will be confiscated and the facts will be clarified.

If you do not have a permanent residence or residence in Germany, you will incur additional costs. If you violate the obligation to report, you must pay a certain amount of money as security for the implementation of the fining procedure. This amount of money is intended to ensure the proper implementation of the fining procedure. The amount shall be deposited with the competent customs office.

Do you have questions about the fine procedure?

Our lawyers at O&W from the customs lawassist you and your company with questions regarding the fine proceedings.
You can reach our lawyers by telephone on +49 40 369615-0.


There may also be checks and questions by customs officers at the borders if you are travelling with less than 10,000 euros cash. This can be done either on a random basis or on the basis of indications of criminal activity. The controls are intended to reduce the risk ofmoney laundering and terrorist financing. Customs may temporarily detain the cash until the facts of the case are clarified.

Do you have questions about the criminal and administrative offence procedure in customs law?

Before making any statements to customs, contact our customs criminal lawyers at +49 40 369615-0.

Important Answers to Cash Filing

If in doubt, find out exactly whether and how cash must be declared before risking a fine.

  • No, the form as well as the registration are free of charge.

  • No, you must lodge the declaration form at the customs office through which you are entering or leaving the EU.

    You can obtain the declaration form online at: Form 040000 or from customs officials. You can fill in the form by hand or electronically and it must be signed.

  • From a total value of more than 10,000 euros, the amount must be disclosed orally on entry or exit when questioned by the control officers. If the amount can be disclosed orally, it is also possible to travel with higher amounts of money than 10,000 euros.

  • For a total value of more than 10,000 euros, this amount must be declared in writing to the competent German customs office unasked when entering or leaving the country. Once this has been done, it is possible to travel with more cash than 10,000 euros.

  • Yes, since 3 June 2021, coins with a gold content of at least 90% and unmined gold in the form of bars, nuggets or nuggets with a gold content of at least 99.5% must be declared. This applies as soon as the gold exceeds a total value of 10,000 euros.

  • On a plane, it is compulsory to declare cash with a total value of more than 10,000 euros.

  • You must make the declaration at the customs office through which you are entering or leaving the EU. When doing so, pay attention to the opening hours of the respective customs office. You are obliged to submit the declaration unprompted. This also applies if you are not stopped and questioned by customs officials.
    If you are entering Germany by plane from a non-EU country, you may not use the green exit, but must hand in the declaration at the red exit.


Further information?

  • Video: How to declare cash on arrival
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/776 of 11 May 2021 Cash Monitoring
  • Sheet on the obligation to declare cash and equivalent means of payment when travelling within the European Union
  • Merkblatt zur Anmelde- und Anzeigepflicht von Barmitteln und gleichgestellten Zahlungsmitteln bei der Einreise aus einem Nicht-EU-Staat nach Deutschland und bei der Ausreise aus Deutschland in einen Nicht-EU-Staat
  • Formular Anmeldung von Barmitteln

Dieser Artikel wurde am 23. June 2022 erstellt. Die fachliche Zweitprüfung hat Rechtsanwalt Dr. Tristan Wegner durchgeführt.

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