International Money Transfer Limits

United States By Christy Lowry June 10, 2021

International money transfers limits: how much can I send?

Transferring money internationally has limitations, so doing it correctly requires an understanding of the law. Every country, bank, and transfer method abide by a different set of rules, so sending money in China or South Africa can look very different than sending money in Canada or the United States.

The most important thing to remember when you send money overseas is that any amount over 10,000 USD must be reported to the IRS by filling out Form 8300. This form helps law enforcement prevent money laundering, drug dealing, tax evasion, and other criminal activity. Let’s delve into the proper practice for an international money transfer and the limits that go along.

What do I need to complete an international money transfer?

Most banks and transfer services like Western Union will walk you through the necessary steps to complete an international money transfer, especially if it is a large amount. Check with your bank to verify what is required, but be sure to prepare the following documents for most international money transfers with a limit of 10,000 USD or less:

  • An approved ID or passport
  • Proven address on official mail
  • The reason for the remittance
  • A Tax File Number (TFN) or Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Bank account authentication

What is the best method for sending money internationally?

The avenues to make international transfers are numerous and often depend on personal preference, time frame, and price. The short answer is, the “best” way to send money internationally is subjective. Do you need the funds to arrive immediately or are you willing to sacrifice speed to save money on fees? Extra fees and exchange rates can drive bottom lines if you’re not careful, so to help you decide what works best, choose between a few main selections.

Banks have the upper hand when it comes to familiarity. Branches use middlemen like the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to help get your international money transfer moving, limiting the final total that arrives to your recipient and subtracting costly markups. When you do the math, you’ll see roughly four separate fees:

  1. The outgoing cost
  2. The incoming cost paid by whoever expects the payment
  3. Fixed rates withdrawn by institutions within the SWIFT network
  4. Currency exchange rates

Banks adhere to their own set of rules for market/exchange rates and do not have to provide add-ons upfront. Often, this will benefit the bank and they can cater costs to increase profits.

When weighing your options, you might want to consider outside services like Western Union. Like your bank, Western Union can provide you an estimate for the cost of your international money transfer before you transfer funds. You just need to fill out our send money form online to get a free estimate. You can send money quickly online as well as with the app or in person.

Rules and regulations: sending money internationally from the United States

In the U.S., international money transfer regulations are simple to follow. As mentioned above, 10,000 USD is an important number to remember. This is the threshold that determines if you’ll need to report your cash or digital transfer to the IRS.

If you are bringing more than 10,000 USD into the U.S., whether cash, checks, or stocks, you will need to report to the IRS by filling out Form 8300. Bringing 10,000 USD or more into the U.S. is perfectly legal, so long as you report it properly.

Similarly, if you are receiving more than 10,000 USD, electronically or otherwise, you will need to report the funds to the IRS as well. In most cases, your bank will complete all reporting requirements.

How much money can I send internationally with Western Union?

Western Union’s overseas money transfer limits depend on several factors including where you are sending money to, how you are sending the money, and how your receiver will get the funds. To determine how much money you can send from the United States online or the mobile app, register your profile and click send money to see your transaction limit.

Send money internationally with ease when you choose Western Union

If you need a fast and reliable way to send money internationally, Western Union lets you send and receive money in a way that’s convenient for you. Transfer funds now online, on the go with our mobile app, or stop in at one of over 525,000 agent locations* worldwide. Whether you need to support friends and family nearby or around the globe, Western Union is there for you.

*Network data as of March 2021.

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