How much money can I bring with me? Is there a legal limit? Who is obliged to declare it and when? In this post, we answer these questions, among others. We explain what to do if you decide to travel with cash, a cheque or any other form of physical means of payment, to avoid any legal difficulties.
Who is obliged to declare?
Everyone transporting means of payment, whether they’re Spanish or not, must comply with the law of declaring their money. This is the case regardless of whether it’s for themselves or on behalf of someone else. If you have any doubts about how to declare your cash, our Spanish lawyers will help you.
What are the means of payment that must be declared?
According to the law, ‘cash’ includes:
Physical cash, paper and coins, both national and foreign currency
Bank cheques of any currency
Any other physical form of money, including electronic forms, intended to be transferred into cash by the bearer. This includes travelers’ cheques, negotiable instruments, including cheques, promissory notes and money orders. They must be declared whether they’re written out to the bearer, endorsed without restriction, made out to a fake payee or in any form which allows ownership of the funds to be transferred. Incomplete instruments, including cheques, promissory notes and money orders which are signed but missing the name of the payee must also be declared.
If you have any doubts, please contact our Spanish lawyers who will guide you through the process.
What is the limit for the amount of money I can bring without declaring it?
When leaving or entering Spain, you must declare the money you’re transporting if it is equal to or more than 10,000 euros or the equivalent in a foreign currency.
However, when moving around within Spain, you must declare the money you’re transporting if it is equal to or more than 100,000 euros or the equivalent in a foreign currency.
Entering or leaving Spain is considered to be movement from or to any third country, including the member states of the European Union, whether it occurs by land, sea or airport border.
When, where and how do I make the declaration?
WHEN: always before entering or leaving the country
When leaving or entering Spain with cash, it must be declared at customs
If the movement involves leaving Spain for a member state of the EU through a border which doesn’t have permanent customs services, it must be done at the Regional Unit of Customs and Excise Taxes of the State Agency for Tax Administration.
If the movement involves entering Spain from a member state of the EU through a border which doesn’t have permanent customs services, it can be declared telematically before travelling at the State Agency for Tax Administration (http://www.aeat.es).
If the movement of money is within the country, it must be declared at the Regional Unit for Customs and Excise Taxes of the State Agency for Tax Administration.
These bodies will take care of fulfilling the requirements for the declaration and sending it to the Executive Service of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offences (Sepblac).
HOW: With the form S-1, on the declaration of the movement of money. The template for the declaration form is available on the Sepblac website > Means of payment. It is also available on the General Treasury and International Finance Secretariat (www.tesoro.es) and at the State Agency for Tax Administration (www.aeat.es)
A copy of the declaration form should be taken along with the cash when transferring the funds, as it must be displayed, where appropriate, at the requirement of the customs or police officers.
Why is there a requirement to declare your money?
The requirement to declare your money is intended to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
What happens if I don’t declare it?
If you fail to declare your money, it will be confiscated by customs or police officers. You will keep only a small sum (up to 1,000 euros), and penalty proceedings will be initiated against you. This can lead to a fine ranging from 600 euros up to twice the total amount of money being intercepted.
For more information about how the penalty proceedings work, how the fine is set, how to defend yourself from it, etc., we recommend that you read our article: What to do if you’re facing penalty proceedings for not declaring your cash at customs
DISCLAIMER: please note, this article was written on 01/09/2020. If you need up-to-date information, contact our Spanish lawyers