Ive posted on this site in the past about getting my mother in law from Iraq to visit us. I got some excellent help and she had obtained an immigrant visa. We were ready to have her here and she ran into issues at her home country causing her visa to expire.

Fast forward a few more months and she has been finally able to renew her visa. Now she is finally ready to make the long trip to the United States. One thing she has that has a great value to her both in terms of family value and monetary value is gold in terms of jewelry.

She probably has about 10k dollars worth of gold that was given to her when she got married as well as when her mother past away. She is curious if it is okay to wear or bring her gold with her? Does she need to claim anything about it when she arrives here. I don't know if there is any rules about such a thing. I simply told her to wear it and she should have no issues. I think if you are bringing the gold as a gift you need to write this stuff off on your claims when coming to the country. This is not a gift so I am unsure if she needs to do this. Can she just wear it or put it in her purse? She would rather not check it in due to theft in Iraq.

She also has about 10k in cash as well. If I remember correctly you can bring up to 10k without any issues? I just would like to avoid any trouble when she is coming here.

  • 1
    Why the downvote?
    – phoog
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


CBP has a page about this.

The gist of it that you can import things free of duty if you owned them for at least a year. This doesn't apply to things that will be given away to others, but this exception should not, as you note apply to your mother in law's gold.

The limit on cash and cash instruments is indeed USD 10,000. There's no duty or tax or other penalty if you bring more, however, just a requirement to declare it. If the amount is close to the limit, you should count carefully.

Note that gold coins must be included in this sum, but gold jewelry is not included. Be careful to include foreign currency, which must be converted to USD and added to the total. Also be careful to include any negotiable financial instruments (such as checks that can be cashed by the bearer). For more information, see

  • So in my case there is absolutely no issue for GOLD JEWLERY - she does not even have to declare it is that correct?
    – JonH
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 20:01
  • No, she should declare them. From the first link: "If your household/personal effects will accompany you, a manifest list of your items must be presented to the CBP Officer."
    – phoog
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 20:24
  • So declare cash and gold. And in the declaration for the jewlery i take it she needs to give a rough estimate value?
    – JonH
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 20:30
  • @JonH yes, I presume that is the case.
    – phoog
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 19:30

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