A legal and safe way of crossing the border with the salary in cash.
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A legal and safe way of crossing the border with the salary in cash.

Date of posting: 15.06.2021

The seafarer’s profession implies crossing the border often, in particular, the Ukrainian one. In order to pass the customs control successfully, the seafarer must know the main features of this procedure. By studying them in advance, you can avoid unfortunate mistakes that can alloy the voyage itself or the return home causing difficulties when crossing the border.
 What amounts are allowed to be taken freely?
The Customs Code of Ukraine does not contain any direct restrictions or prohibitions on the amounts of money that can be freely taken across the border of Ukraine.
At the same time, articles 371 and 374 of the Customs Code of Ukraine regulate the conditions of export and import of goods by the citizens outside and into the customs territory of Ukraine. Taking into account that the goods, the total invoice value of which exceeds the equivalent of 10,000 (ten thousand) euros, are subject to written declaration when they are exported by the citizens outside the customs territory of Ukraine as well as when they are imported into Ukraine.
According to the customs laws of Ukraine monetary funds are classified as goods, so the rule for declaration of the amounts exceeding the equivalent of 10,000 (ten thousand) euros is also applied for money carrying.
How to cross the border with the salary in cash?
The first and main recommendation is: before going through the customs control, count your available money before you come to the border crossing point.
If the amount of money in cash exceeds 10,000 euros or its equivalent you shall fill in a customs declaration, then calmly choose the "red channel" and you shall  not be afraid of customs officers.
If case of violating this rule you make yourself liable to the administrative sanctions in the form of a fine in the amount of 1,700 UAH, and in some cases, to the seizure of the part of the currency that exceeds the equivalent of 10,000 euros according to article 471 of the Customs Code of Ukraine.
Please note that it is necessary to declare the amount exceeding the equivalent of 10,000 euros of currency when going through the customs control, both on departure and on arrival in Ukraine. The specified limit of 10,000 euros is also applied in the EU countries and Turkey. The limit of 10,000 dollars is set in the countries such as the United States of America and the Russian Federation.
The concepts of "red" and "green" channels
There are two ways to go through the customs — through the "green" and "red" channels. If a person goes to the "green channel", hereby he/she verbally declares that he/she does not have any goods which are subject to obligatory written declaration.
When going through the "green channel", the customs officers can check the bags at their own discretion. If the officer finds something that is subject to declaration, it will be deemed as law violation.
If a person has goods which are subject to declaration, he/she goes to the "red channel", where he/she fills in the customs declaration and goes through inspection.
On arrival in Ukraine when crossing the border by air individuals are allowed to carry goods in hand luggage or in baggage, the total value of which does not exceed the equivalent of 1000 euros and the weight of 50 kg. This rule is not applied to the passenger's personal belongings, which, for example, may include mobile phones (no more than two pieces), clothes with the signs of use, computers (no more than two pieces), personal hygiene means, and others.
What penalties are imposed when a violation is detected?
Violation implies administrative liability in the form of a fine in the amount of 1,700 UAH, and in some cases, the seizure of the part of the currency that exceeds the equivalent of 10,000 euros according to Article 471 of the Customs Code of Ukraine.
How to behave correctly when you “were taken" with cash?
In case you have started moving through the "green channel" without filling in the customs declaration, you should be ready for the following course of events:
  • Customs officers will draw up a report on customs rule violation;
  • They will "temporarily" withdraw money exceeding the amount mentioned above;
  • You will be given the opportunity to explain the situation until seeing them at the court hearing.
The abundance of lawsuits with regard to administrative actions against the citizens according to article 471 of the Customs Code of Ukraine for violation of the customs procedure in the zones (channels) of simplified customs control does not indicate the lack of awareness of the citizens, but the lack of sufficient information in the customs control zone, in particular, the information on the conditions for going through the "green channel" and the necessity to declare the amounts exceeding the equivalent of 10,000 euros.
As for the judicial practice in such cases, judges do not have an unambiguous opinion. In their decisions some judges insist on the seizure of the withdrawn money in addition to imposing a fine. The other part, using the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, its Protocols as well as the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, is limited only to the fine in the amount of 1,700 UAH considering that such penalty is sufficient for re-education of the offender. In addition, much depends on the ability of the "offender" to prove the legality of the source of money origin.
We recommend you to have a contract on hand as well as a  payroll from Master which confirms the receipt of your salary in cash. Do not hesitate to write your comments on the fact of personal search and money withdrawal in the report as well as to state that you are entitled to legal assistance and participation of a lawyer. This will be taken into account in the court when making a decision.
Is there a risk of inspection by the tax authorities after you have been filled in the customs declaration?
At the present time the customs and tax authorities do not have a unified database which allows to track the fact of filling in the customs declaration and which helps to transmit the data automatically to the tax service for inspection.
However, if the tax service is interested in the origin of the income of a particular seafarer, then this authority can contact the customs service for provision of information on currency carried by the seafarer across the border. But it’s a rare situation which is not widespread.
The article was prepared by lawyer Kocherzhenko Maksim Anatolievich.
"Maxima" Legal Agency

Odessa, 58/1, Fontanskaya doroga str. 
tel. +380 (68) 000 10 28
e-mail: company@maxima.in.ua 

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