It is possible to freely enter or leave the Italian soil carrying an amount of cash (banknotes, coins, traveler’s chèques, bearer negotiable instruments, etc.) lower or equal to € 9,999.99. Anyone entering or leaving Italy and carrying cash of an amount equal to or greater than € 10,000 shall declare that sum of money to the Italian Customs Agency. There is no distinction between EU and non-EU countries.
1) Allowed quantity of cash
In accordance with Legislative Decree 195/2008 there is a limit to the transport of cash to Italy. It is possible to freely enter or leave the Italian soil carrying an amount of cash (banknotes, coins, traveler’s chèques, bearer negotiable instruments, etc.) lower or equal to € 9,999.99.
Under art. 3 of the Decree, anyone entering or leaving Italy and carrying cash of an amount equal to or greater than € 10,000 shall declare that sum of money to the Italian Customs Agency. There is no distinction between EU and non-EU countries.
The Declaration for the transfer of cash equal to or exceeding the equivalent of € 10,000 can be either transmitted electronically, before crossing the border, according to the terms and specifications published on the website of the Customs Agency, or delivered in writing at the time of crossing the border, at the border customs offices.
The above provision also applies to all transfers of cash to and from foreign countries, carried out by mail. In this case, the declaration shall be delivered to Poste Italiane S.p.A. (or to the postal service provider who performs the shipping) at the time of shipping or within 48 hours from receipt.
It is important to remember that under Italian Law there is a limit to the use of cash established in the amount of € 999.99 (€ 2,999.99 starting from January 1, 2016), with reference to “transfers” made for any reason between different individuals or legal entities.
The agents of the Customs Agency and of the Financial Guard are responsible for verifying violations to the aforementioned provision, and in case of violation they will draw up an appropriate report (dispute record).
In case of violation of the aforementioned art. 3, the offender shall be punished as follows*:
a) if the surplus does not exceed € 10,000 >> seizure of 30% in addition to the administrative penalty ranging from 10% to 30% of the amount over € 10,000. For example, if the violator is caught with € 15,000 (€ 9,999.99 allowed + € 5,000.01 surplus): seizure of 30% on € 5,000.01 plus penalty 10%-30% on € 5,000.01;
b) if the surplus exceeds € 10,000 >> seizure of 50% in addition to the administrative penalty ranging from 30% to 50% of the amount over € 10,000.
In any case, the administrative penalty cannot be lower than € 300.
At the end of the sanctioning procedure, the cash seized shall be given back to the owner who so requested within five years from the date of the seizure**.
However, the traveler can choose among three alternative remedies explained below.
1) The interested party may file an opposition to the seizure before the Ministry of Economy and Finance within ten days from the date of execution of the seizure. The Ministry shall decide within sixty days from the date of receipt of the act***.
2) Under L.D. 195/2008, art.7, the offender may request the extinction of the violation by making a reduced payment in the following amounts:
a) if the surplus does not exceed € 10,000 >> 5% of the amount over € 10,000. For example, if the violator is caught with € 15,000 (€ 9,999.99 allowed + € 5,000.01 surplus): 5% on € 5,000.01;
b) if the surplus does not exceed € 40,000 >> 15% of the amount over € 10,000.
However, the amount cannot be lower than € 200.
The payment can be done either at the time of the finding of the violation or within ten days from the same. In the first case, the authorities will not proceed with the seizure of the money. In the second case, the authorities will return the seized money within ten days from receipt of proof of payment.
It is not possible to pay a reduced fine as mentioned above if the surplus exceeds € 40,000 or if the offender has already benefited from this reduction in the last five years from the violation.
3) Pursuant to art. 8 of the same Decree, those who do not pay the reduced amount (art. 7) may submit written pleadings and documents to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and ask to be heard by the Administration, within thirty days from the receipt of the finding of the violation. The Ministry at the conclusion of the proceedings establishes with a motivated decree the amount due for the violation and orders the payment.