I am going to fly from one of the US airport to Iran (with a connection in Doha, Qatar). As you know Iran is not a normal country, as per its relation with the US.

I am planning to take a relatively large amount of money (+50,000 in US dollars) with me in handbag. I have investigated Iran's custom regulation, and it is fine with them (as long as I declare it).

However, I am not sure if the US allows me to do it or not. As per this link (https://fincen105.cbp.dhs.gov/), I could not find any restrictions on taking large sum of money to Iran, other than filling out the form FinCEN 105.

So, here I am double-checking with the experts here to see if there is anything I am missing here. I am an Iranian citizen and a US green card applicant (my case is pending), if that helps.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Willeke
    May 30, 2021 at 16:20
  • There is a serious risk that your cash will be seized under suspicion that it is connected with crime. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_forfeiture_in_the_United_States There is no need for anyone to prove a crime, or even to charge you with one; they can seize it on suspicion and it is then up to you to prove that it was innocent. Transactions over $10k are routinely notified to LEO, so if they see you take $50k in cash and are flying to Iran they can simply search you at the airport and take the cash there. May 31, 2021 at 11:04
  • @PaulJohnson I have my proof of income with me, and also am ready to provide tax return form and letter from the bank, from which I withdrew the money. I am also filling out the form fincen 105 and and will submit it to CBP as soon as I arrive at the airport. This form is for those who want to carry more than 10K. So, basically if is easy for me to prove where my money came from, and I am already declaring it at the airport. May 31, 2021 at 14:01
  • Also, as I pointed out in the chat (see the first comment here), I have called CBP officer in the airport and explained them the amount and destination and they said it is fine as long as I fill out and file the form fincen 105. I have also emailed the CBP about it and am going to keep their response as a reference with me. May 31, 2021 at 14:36
  • None of those things are going to stop them taking your money. All the officer needs to take your money is "suspicion", and $50K in cash is suspicious enough. All the more so if it is going to Iran. If they need more, they can run some notes through a drug test, find traces of coke and use that. I don't know the rules for your jurisdiction, but police depts get to keep a chunk of the money they seize, so they are more incentivised to seize money from innocent people than to go after real perps.Seriously, don't risk it. Your evidence might be useful to a lawyer suing to get your money back. May 31, 2021 at 15:58

2 Answers 2


Taking a suitcase full of cash to Iran is not per se illegal under US law, but certain transaction are, so it depends on why you do this. Here is a web page from Treasury with the Iran sanctions spelled out.


Take an indirect, disconnected route.

Drive to Canada, fly to Europe, then to Qatar / Iran on separate tickets.

  • 1
    Also, make sure to declare your cash in each country you go to (i.e. on exiting the US, entering Canada, entering the EU, etc)
    – Matthew Barclay
    May 30, 2021 at 0:33
  • 7
    I don't know the details of US sanctions law, but if exporting that amount of cash to Iran is illegal, it may well be just as illegal regardless of how many intermediate countries are transited. I wouldn't assume that this eliminates legal issues. May 30, 2021 at 2:16
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    @Nate Eldredge IANAL but I think that exporting US$ to Iran isn’t necessarily the main/only problem. What the OP intends to do with the cash once in Iran is equally important to avoid breaching OFAC regulations regarding US/Iran transactions. As you said in your first comment, the OP really should get advice from a lawyer, specifically one with OFAC expertise.
    – Traveller
    May 30, 2021 at 9:20

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