Undeclared currency seized by traveler to Lebanon.


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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, a passenger traveling to Lebanon had her undeclared currency seized at Philadelphia International Airport.

CBP officers approached the traveler and informed her of the currency reporting requirements. After explaining the requirements they asked the traveler how much money she was carrying. She replied $10,000 and upon subsequent examination or her belongings, CBP officers seized a total of $15,000.

Customs released $300 to her for “humanitarian purposes” and released her.

As you are aware, all currency over $10,000 needs to be declared. The currency is not taxed nor taken, but only has to be reported. People traveling in the same party are subject to the $10,000 limit as a party and not individually. The humanitarian relief is a discretionary amount and is not always given to the travelers.

If you have had a  currency seizure at the airport or any of the 400+ ports of entry to the US, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes a combined $92K in unreported currency from 5 different foreign-bound travelers.


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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized nearly $91,819 from 5 different sets of travelers for violating federal reporting laws of currency in excess of $10,000 or more.

The most recently reported CBP currency seizures included:

  1. $18,171 in U.S. dollars and foreign currency from a family heading to Germany. The family reported $9,500. CBP released 700 Euros ($819 USD conversion) and 3,170 Shekels ($871 USD conversion) to the family for humanitarian purposes.
  2. CBP officers seized $22,449 in U.S. dollars and foreign currency from a man traveling to Austria. The man reported 15,000 Euros but Officers found an additional $4,957 in U.S. dollars on the man’s body and in a carry-on bag.
  3. CBP officers seized $15,650 in U.S. dollars from a woman boarding a flight to Austria Tuesday. The woman reported $9,000. Officers discovered additional currency within a purse and a carry-on bag. Officers released $650 to the woman for humanitarian purposes and released her.
  4. CBP officers seized $13,164 in U.S. dollars from two women boarding a flight to the UAE. The women reported $9,500 but officers discovered additional currency. Officers released $964 to the women for humanitarian purposes and released the women.
  5. CBP officers seized $22,385 in U.S. dollars from a family boarding a flight to Ghana. The family – husband, wife and wife’s sister – reported $5,000 and $7,000. Officers discovered additional currency in envelopes on all three persons that the man claimed to be his. Officers released $385 to the family for humanitarian purposes and released the family.

CBP reports the travelers were either citizens of the U.S., Jordan, Pakistan, or Ghana. None was arrested.

While not mentioned in the CBP release, here’s more information about currency seizures:

  1. You have to report US and foreign currency.
  2. You have to report anything you have while entering or leaving the US.
  3. If you are with your family, they will count the family as 1 person. Each individual family members do not have a $10,000. Like above, I suspect the family going to Ghana in #5 above thought the $10,000 limit was per person.
  4. Humanitarian purposes means CBP will give you some of your money if they believe you will need the money to travel to your ultimate destination.

If you or someone you know has had currency seized, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu immediately, the time is running on getting your money back. Call 832-896-6288 today or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.


Flying back to the US after the holidays? Be wary of these items that are prohibited from entering the U.S.

pexels-photo-123013.jpegTraveling overseas is a great opportunity to take a break from work, visit family, or just visit and explore what the world has to offer.

After a nice trip abroad, it is easy to forget about the many prohibited items U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not allow to enter the US. Here’s a summary of some prohibited items from CBP’s most recent revisions as of December 8, 2017:

Please note, that all passengers carrying fruit, vegetables, meat and/or poultry products still must declare these products to CBP for inspection – regardless whether or not it is allowed into the US.

1. Muraya or “orange jasmine” is used in the construction of alters. Orange jasmine greenery may carry the Asian Citrus Psyllid, an insect that carries citrus greening disease.
2. Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Sour Oranges, Sweet Limes, Guavas, Mangoes, Peaches, Pomegranates from Mexico are prohibited.
3. Most fruits from outside the US.
4. Cut flowers with berries.
5. Kinder eggs, they pose a choking hazard and are illegal for consumption in the US.
6. Moon cakes containing egg, beef, poultry or pork NOT from Canada. If CBP officer can not confirm the filling of a non-Canadian mooncake, it may be denied entry.

1. Fruit from Canada with proof of origin.
2. Cut flowers (does not include dried, bleached, dyed, or treated plants, filler, greenery, fern fronds.
3. Ethrogs, also known as Citrus medica is allowed after inspection. Travelers will need to open the container and unwrap it. In the event insect stings or pests are found, the ehtrog will be prohibited from entering the US.
4. Twigs of myrtle and palm fronds require inspection.
5. Gift baskets may be allowed after inspection by FDA, CBP and USPS (if mailed)
6. Baked goods (bread, cereal, crackers, cakes).
7. Moon cakes with verified Canadian origin.

Safe travels everyone! If you or anyone you know has had property or currency seized by CBP, give us a call for a free consultation at 832.896.6288 or attorney.dave@yahoo.com

What happens when U.S. Customs seizes your items?

Customs Currency Seizures

We are often asked what happens after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”) seizes your merchandise. While there are many different scenarios and factors that influence the client’s specific seizure case, here’s our effort to summarize what typically happens.

At all the ports of entries into the U.S., Customs will stop, examine, search, detain and or seize merchandise from persons entering or leaving the U.S. or merchandise being being exported or imported to and from the U.S.

Customs officers are entrusted to enforce the hundreds of laws for the over 40 government agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). Customs’ job is to assist these agencies in ensuring unsafe and prohibited items are not allowed to enter the U.S.

A typical Customs officer may search for items such as counterfeit merchandise, illegal drugs, food or drugs not approved by the FDA or items from a country in which the U.S. has an embargo. The list of prohibited items is exhaustive and our clients are often surprised their items were seized.

Items and merchandise held by Customs are sent to a Centralized Examination Station (“CES”) to “maintain control and accountability of merchandise imported into the United States” (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP Directive No. 3270-007A). Customs has 35 days from the time of arrival of the items in the U.S. to detain the items for examination. At this time, Customs will also notify the importer, customs broker or attorney with an explanation for the detention.

After 35 days has passed, the cargo must be seized or released. However, as previously mentioned, the amount of various government agencies involved and associated bureaucracy may cause a delay of 60 days or more.

If it is determined that a violation did occur, the merchandise will be seized by Customs and then transported to a Seized Property warehouse. Once the items arrive at the warehouse, it will remain there until it is authorized to be released by Customs. The paperwork regarding the seized items will then be sent to a Customs Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Office (FP&F). At the FP&F, a paralegal reviews the file, prepares a written Seizure Notice and mails the notice to the party responsible for the items.

The Seizure Notice identifies when and where the cargo was seized along with the basis for the seizure.

It is important to seek immediate assistance when you receive a Seizure Notice as Customs only allows 30 days to Petition Customs for the release of the seized items. A Petition is a written explanation to persuade Customs to release the seized items. Not timely filing a Petition may result in the seized items being destroyed or disposed of.

Customs may grant the petition and release the items or Customs may deny the petition. In the event the petition is denied, you have the option to file a Supplemental Petition or Offer in Compromise.

As each seizure case is different, contact me at attorney.dave@yahoo.com to discuss your specific case at no charge.