For U.S. citizens and permanent residents, the border with Canada is a friendly place. You don't even need a visa to cross; just the right documents to prove your nationality and identity and, in certain limited cases, an electronic travel authorization when traveling by air. When it comes to transporting money into Canada as a visitor, there's technically no limit on what you can bring – but you do have to declare certain amounts at the customs checkpoint.
The CBSA Declaration Card
In most cases, no matter your mode of transit into Canada, you'll be asked to fill out a Canada Border Services Agency form E311. This declaration card identifies you (and up to three more travelers who live at the same address), and tells how long you'll be staying in Canada and the value of certain goods you're carrying. There's also a place for declaring how much currency or monetary instruments (for example bonds, securities, traveler's checks, money orders) you're carrying. In some cases, you may also give your declaration at an electronic kiosk, or to a customs agent in person.
The Limit for Currency
Technically, there is no limit on how much money or monetary instruments you can take into Canada, but if the total amount you're carrying is worth more than $10,000 in Canadian currency, you must declare it on the form. You'll also need to check in with border services before leaving the country with currency or monetary instruments that total CAN $10,000 or more. This reporting is required as a deterrent to money laundering, terrorist financing and other illegal activities.
If you're carrying money that totals more than CAN $10,000, you can't use NEXUS for expedited processing when you enter Canada via land, air or boat.
What Happens With Your Declaration
When you declare an amount of currency higher than CAN $10,000, your luggage may be subject to additional screening – so leave yourself some extra time at the border when you're planning your trip. You'll also need to fill out one of two forms, either E668 or E667, depending on whether the money is yours or is being transported for somebody else. This information is sent to a division of the Canadian government to be analyzed – again, with the intent of deterring illegal transactions like money laundering or financing of criminal operations.
If you don't declare the entire value of the currency you're carrying, the Canada Border Services Agency has the authority to seize all of it. They may return it after you pay a penalty, which can range anywhere from CAN $250 to $5,000.