Declare/disclose large quantities of currency and bearer negotiable instruments
Declaration and Disclosure Requirements
According to the Cross-boundary Movement of Physical Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Ordinance, Chapter 629, Laws of Hong Kong (“the Ordinance”), any person arriving in Hong Kong at a specified control point set out in Schedule 1 to the Ordinance and in possession of a large quantity of currency and bearer negotiable instruments (“CBNIs”) (i.e. CBNIs of a total value more than HKD120,000), must make a written declaration to a Customs officer, using the Red Channel under the Red and Green Channel System.
Any person arriving in Hong Kong other than at a specified control point (e.g. passengers and crew arriving on cruise ships berthing at anchorages), or any person about to leave Hong Kong, upon the requirement of a Customs officer, must disclose whether he/she is in possession of a large quantity of CBNIs. If so, he/she must make a written declaration.
An adult who accompanies a young person (i.e. a person under the age of 16 years) and knows that the young person is in possession of a large quantity of CBNIs must declare or disclose for the young person.
Declaration forms are available at the Red Channel of the Customs Arrival Hall of various control points and on the website of Customs and Excise Department. Sample of a completed declaration form is available for reference purpose.
What are “CBNIs”
- a note, or coin, that is legal tender in Hong Kong or a place outside Hong Kong; or
- a negotiable instrument (Note 1) that is:
- in bearer form;
- endorsed without any restriction;
- made out to a fictitious payee;
- in a form under which the title of it passes on delivery; or
- signed but does not state a payee’s name.
Note 1: Examples of such instrument include traveller’s cheque, bearer cheque, promissory note, bearer bond, money order and postal order.
The above declaration and disclosure requirements do not apply to transit passengers at the Hong Kong International Airport who do not pass through immigration control at any specified control point while in Hong Kong.
Determining Value of CBNIs Denominated in Other Currencies
The value of CBNIs in the possession of a traveller and denominated in a currency other than HKD (e.g. foreign currency) would be calculated in accordance with the opening indicative counter exchange selling rate published by the Hong Kong Association of Banks (“HKAB”) on the day when the traveller arrives or is about to depart. If HKAB does not publish such rate on the day, or the time when the traveller arrives or is about to depart is before the publication time of such rate, the value of the CBNIs would be calculated according to the most recent rate HKAB published before the day (Note 2).
If no opening indicative counter exchange selling rate is published by HKAB for a particular currency, the value of the CBNIs would be determined by reference to the United Nations Operational Rates of Exchange (“UN rate”) being effective for the currency concerned on the day when the traveller arrives or is about to depart. The value of the CBNIs in HKD can be obtained by converting the nominal value of the CBNIs first to USD and then HKD using the UN rate.
It should be noted that in making a written declaration, the value of CBNIs should be stated in the currency in which the CBNIs are denominated. No conversion to HKD is necessary. For example, in declaring USD20,000, the value should be stated as “USD 20,000”.
Travellers who are not sure about the prevailing exchange rate adopted at the time of arrival or departure should approach a Customs officer for assistance.
Note 2: For example, if a traveller arrives in Hong Kong on 29 July 2018 (which is a Sunday on which HKAB normally does not publish exchange rates), reference should be made to the rate published on 28 July 2018. Historical rates are available at HKAB’s website.
Any traveller who breaches the declaration/disclosure requirements for the first time may make a payment of HKD2,000 to discharge his/her legal liability, provided that he/she has not previously been convicted of any money laundering or terrorist financing offences and whose CBNIs are not reasonably suspected to be crime proceeds or terrorist property. Other cases are subject to criminal proceedings, and the maximum penalty is a fine of HKD500,000 and imprisonment for two years.