Published On: Wed, Oct 23rd, 2019

Travelers beware: cross-border money transports-law in effect

PHILIPSBURG – The ministry of justice announced in a press release that amendments to the national ordinance on the obligation to report cross-border money transports took effect on July 30. However, according to the National Gazette of October 11, the amendments were ratified on July 30 and they took effect only two days later, on August 1.

Citizens and travelers now have to be aware that they will have to report to customs if they are taking more than 25,000 guilders ($13,966.48) out of the country. The previous threshold for reporting was 20,000 guilders ($11,173.18). The rules also apply to people who enter the country.

The mandatory reporting furthermore applies to precious metals and objects of high value. The ministry clarifies in its press release that the rule applies to people who are traveling together; for those travelers the combined value of what they take across the border matters.

Travelers have to fill out a form to declare cash and valuables that exceed the threshold. The forms are available at the customs offices at the airport and the seaport.

Reporting must be done before any inspection of luggage is carried out by customs officers. If there is no customs officer available, reporting must be done immediately after passing customs to the nearest customs officer, the ministry points out in its press release. When there is no customs officer available at all, reports have to be submitted to an immigration officer.

The justice ministry has announced a limited grace period. During the first fourteen days after the date of the press release the focus is on sharing information with the public about the new rules. Since the ministry sent out the press release on October 22, this period ends on November 5.

The next thirty days – so up to December 5 – customs officers will only issue warnings for non-compliance, but after that date violators will face consequences.

The press release contains useful specifications of what is to be understood with money, precious metals and jewelry and they are as follows.

Money: domestic and foreign banknotes, coins and coin notes in circulation as payment methods, as well as tradeable bearer instruments; for example checks, promissory notes and payment orders;

Precious metals: non-rusting metals, including gold and silver;

Jewelry: objects made out of precious metals, containing (an) encased gemstone(s), pearl(s) or other attribute(s) with which one adorns oneself;

The press release describes “other objects of high value” as “rare, transportable, movable objects that have a high social value.”

The term “social value” seems to be an aberration, as the rules only apply to the monetary value of objects.

Readers who have questions about the new rules should contact the customs office, located at E.C. Richardson Street 11B in Philipsburg. Phone: +1 721 542 1000 or +1 721 542 1008. Email: customs@sintmaartengov.org.