Dateline: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
As you might imagine, some of the roads around formerly war-torn Bosnia aren’t exactly in the best shape.
Just another day on the road, another flight, another airport, and… yes, another group of security theater agents making sure that my travel and everyone else’s cannot possibly be stress-free.
Frankly, airport security here in Europe is – with the exception of Germany – much easier than it is across the pond. Unlike some Central American countries, countries here are rarely under the thumb of the US government.
This reminds me of the horrific organization in the United States known as the TSA (also known as “the reason I now refuse to fly through any US airport”).
Although the TSA has never thwarted a terrorist attack in almost 13 years of existence, zombie Americans mostly accept that they are just a fact of life now if you want to travel, and will often be heard at airports mouthing such idiocratic statements as “Well, it’s the price we pay for having safety!” as they remove their shoes and head into the naked body scanners.
Besides security theater, why else does the TSA exist?
Among nefarious actions like stealing your bottled water, toothpaste, sunscreen, and anything else that might be on their growing list of banned items, one thing the TSA are in place for is the first line of “defense” for government currency controls.
So what is FinCEN 105, and how can you remain safe if you are an American traveling overseas?
FinCen is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network under the US Department of the Treasury. According to their website, this is their mission:
FinCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities.
Before we can understand what this is, we have to define money laundering. According to Wikipedia, money laundering is defined as:
Money laundering is the process whereby the proceeds of crime are transformed into ostensibly legitimate money or other assets.[
Legally, you are allowed to bring in as much money as you want into or out of the country. However, if it happens to be over $10,000, you must fill out a Customs Declaration Form in advance- Form 6059B. You also must fill out a Currency Reporting Form- FinCen 105, as you pass through Customs and Immigration. According to the government, larger amounts of cash are reported to the IRS cut down on money laundering, as well as for crime prevention. Remember, all of this applies to leaving or entering the country.
If you are caught traveling with over $10,000, the money will almost certainly be stolen from you by our so-called protectors. Sure, you can try to take them to court and claim ignorance of the law, but you are fighting against a monopoly court system. Guess which way they are almost certainly going to rule? If you guessed not in your favor, you must be a regular reader of Nomad Capitalist!
Clearly, these reporting requirements are an invasion of your privacy, and in no way are beneficial to future dealings with the so-called authorities, as you will be forever marked down as someone who carries lots of cash around when you travel- obviously you are almost certainly a terrorist or a drug dealer!
If you need to transport cash overseas to someplace you are traveling to, you have a couple of options if you are to remain in legal territory, which we at Nomad Capitalist highly recommend:
1. Prepare ahead with overseas asset storage. You can set up an offshore bank account legally. And there are many countries where you can do this safely, with much better asset protection offered than in the Land of the Free. You can also store your gold in overseas accounts – even anonymously – if you want the most amount of privacy possible. Keep in mind that with these strategies, you must follow all reporting requirements and fill out all necessary forms to make sure you are in compliance.
2. Diversify your dollars into “cryptocurrencies” like Bitcoin. This is an easy strategy if you are looking to move $10,000 or more overseas and don’t want to lose all of your privacy.
Despite the fact that TSA agents were reported to search a man’s bag for bitcoins, it is impossible for the TSA, or the Immigration bureaucrats to detect how much bitcoin you may have – whether it is stored in an online wallet, paper wallet, or brain wallet.
I’m sure they’ll figure out how to regulate it someday.
If you want to keep your money in dollars and don’t trust the volatility of bitcoin, you can simply buy bitcoin and store it in one of the aforementioned wallets until you need it.
Remember, despite the fact that they will try to regulate bitcoin, there isn’t much the government can do to get their hands on crypto-currencies, despite the fact they they can yell and scream and throw a temper tantrum, with likely coming insinuations that these are terrorist or drug dealer instruments that need to be stopped.
Without shutting down the internet, they will have an impossible time trying to stop Bitcoin.
I have found from my travels that after going through hundreds of security theater checks, immigration and border control probing, and invasion of my personal property by states, that it’s best to prepare and follow a strategy if you are going to be transporting and carrying cash overseas.
I have to admit: I’m not the biggest disciple of Bitcoin. I respect the premise, but I prefer other stores of value like precious metals stored overseas and foreign real estate that’s impossible to uproot and carry through an airport.
That said, it can be hard to actually move your precious metals if you already own them in the United States. I’ve recently done a free interviews and reports for The Nomad Society, including one with James Turk, on moving gold you already own overseas. It’s tough unless you hire a big logistics firm to do all the work.
Several of our Members have asked about moving silver overseas, to which the answer is a tough one. All because of regulations and forms like FinCEN 105 – and its counterpart in other countries – that create nebulous restrictions around carrying precious metals, let alone all of the “bearer instruments” they forbid.
In fact, if you do business overseas it’s possible you’ve violated FinCEN 105 before and don’t even know it. Making moving money difficult is an essential part of capital controls. So are things like central banks taking large denomination bank notes out of circulation in an effort to allow their poorly trained agents to spot “criminals” more easily.
Just more signs of desperation…