Declaring Money at the Airport?

Hi There,
For a number of reasons, I will be carrying more than $2000 USD with me when I go to Nepal. I have read that you have to declare the money if you are bringing more then $2000 into the country. Does anyone know what happens when I declare it? Do I have to pay any fee or penalty? Do I risk any of it being confiscated or paying "fees"? Any actual experience in declaring money would be helpful thanks.

All we know is what is written as a matter of record, in black and white, as follows:
"Travelers are required to declare foreign currency at red channel if the sum exceeds US2,000 or equivalent"
To be on safe side - better safe than sorry - it's probably best to:
- abide by that regulation and bring into the airport, in your pocket, less than this amount in cash. This way, you have nothing to declare
- use your foreign credit or debit card at any bank till to draw out another similar or higher/complementary amounts - in one or more operations as required - and receive the nepali rupee equivalent
- and/or if you are going to stay in Nepal any length of time - and want to save on bank charges/commissions, head to one of the better known/reputable nepali banks, present say a US passport, and ask them to open a US dollar account for you, whereupon you ask your bankers in the States/or abroad, to wire transfer to that account any additional amount you may require in Nepal, without concern as to limitations.
In any event, it's better, safer and wiser not to take the risk of carrying too much cash on you, at any time, for the full duration of your stay in Nepal.

Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, I will be moving from Vietnam and have more than $2000 in cash that I will have to take with me which is why I want to know what happens when and if you declare money. If anyone has any experience doing so it would be very helpful.

Since most people do not bring over US$2000 in cash into Nepal, I do not think you will be getting an answer from someone who has been in that situation here.

And then I think an educated guess is better then no answer at all...

There is no law against bringing over any amount of cash into Nepal, so as long as you have a good explanation (and above a certain (unknown) amount proof) as for why you are bringing in this much cash money, and what is the origin of the money (proof!) then you will be allowed to take the money into the country. Provided your reasons are sound...

An important reason as to why cash over US$ 2000 eq. needs to be declared to customs, is if you want to take your cash foreign currency OUT of Nepal again. At that time you will need to show where your money came from (ATM withdrawals / creditcard advances / other permitted means) OR a declaration slip from customs which says you legally brought in the 'excess' amount. Otherwise you would not be allowed to take your money out again.

And being caught by customs with excess foreign currency over US$ 2000 WILL bring you a load of legal problems, head-aches and discomfort....

Do know that many foreign currencies give a certain 'signature' in specific types of scanners (similar to RF-ID's) so do not think customs is unable to detect cash with you, if you just keep it in your backpack / under your hat / in your wallet / or where ever...

JW made a very good point. I agree it's very unlikely that you will find anyone out there, who's been through that situation, and willing to give you his spin on things.
And like Moniica also says, the wisest course is to keep "within regulations" (in the absence of a law on the subject) and declare the full amount on arrival if - as you state - you intend to proceed anyway and bring with you here an amount in cash which will exceed US$2,000.
All I will add is that in going through information available on the net, mention is made of a corresponding "bank receipt proving that the money is yours and that it's legal and not black market money"
Assuming this info to be correct, and were I in your shoes, I would opt to be on the safe side, and take the precaution of obtaining that bank receipt before you leave Vietnam so you can have it ready and ON HAND, just in case they should ask you to produce it ON ARRIVAL at the airport.
Don't forget to use the red channel (and NOT the green channel too!)

My honest opinion on all this is that, personally, I would never take any such risk at all, however remote. I would far prefer to do like Moniica also says and arrange to wire the money to Nepal, via bank to bank transfer, from abroad.

Even if the risk of bringing in cash dollars and the whole thing turning sour is only remote - like 1% -  why take it?.. Let's face it, what maybe at stake here - is the possible risk is losing the totality of one's dollar funds IF seized by airport authorities.  Cannot be cautious enough, and the possible scenarios are endless.

The decision is yours.

If you go to trip advisor or elsewhere you find few problems with anyone bringing money into the country.. The issue is taking it out again..

Nepal is a one way street when it comes to bringing in money... Wide open gate coming into Nepal and a jail cell once it is there and you want to take it out.

Good Luck!

Always obey the law of course..

This happened last month "The embassy also said a number of other Chinese nationals had been arrested in Nepal for gold smuggling and illegally importing foreign currency into the country."

To be honest none of were aware of that restriction..

I never travel with less than $2,000 in currency..

Our group has brought $10,000 plus without issue and I have never read of anyone having a problem getting money into the country or being stopped at airport.. But obey the law and I am sure that showing how you got the money would be a great idea..

To be honest none of us were aware of that restriction.. and there are not ATM's everywhere and often they don't work, are expensive or are inconvenient, your home bank freezes transactions etc. leaving you without funds for a time. Cash is always good.

I have heard of people picked up trying to take more than the legal amount out of the country which I think is like $6,000

There is a simple solution. Just bring extra debit cards. They should have a lot of icons on the back, Cirrus, Mastercard, etc. Then just look at the door of the ATMs for those icons.
The ATMs used to not work on the weekends or around the big festivals, but things are much better now. Just a few months ago there was a big cyber crime that cost the banks in Nepal their Visa standing for a while or something in the banking process. I don't know the details, but Nabil, the state bank, didn't take international debit cards. Standard Chartered almost always works and they have several branches in Ktm. You can take up to $1,000 per day. Then just keep the printed ATM receipts to show it didn't come from Nepal.
The real reason, or part of it, for the big deal about a lot of money, is that they don't want Nepal to be a heroin smuggling point, which it probably is due to its proximity to Afganistan. The police and military are to be commended for their hard work.

Exactly right, use several debit cards, or arrange for bank to bank transfers to Nepal from the home country. I used both methods for well over a decade and never had the slightest problem. Carrying a lot of cash on you is just asking for trouble. A risk not worth taking as it can be avoided. 
It's also undeclared foreign currencies - cash - that the airport authorities don't like and will be on the look-out for.  This applies to the best of the nepalis too. In April of 2017, the airport authorities at TIA arrested and jailed a Nepal Airlines Captain when he was caught red-handed having hidden away an undeclared sum of  US$93,600 in his hand luggage.  Would not be surprised if that money was plain confiscated.

- If you arrive at TIA with less than US$2,000 in cash, that's best
- If you have on you more than US$2,000 in bills, you must declare
- If you do declare, you should be able to produce right then and there, a bank receipt for the sum, with your name on it, which hopefully will fully satisfy the officials who will be questioning you that day, failing which you may be detained
-  If you choose not to declare, you are on your own. Heads you win, tails you lose.

One more detail which could have implications. If on any particular day, the official you declare to on arrival is a regular guy, shouldn't be a problem. If on the other hand your declaration that you carry foreign currency of over $2,000 is questioned by a man who is out to make things difficult for you, you're probably in for a bad time. Remember this is Nepal, and regrettably the reality is that corruption has invaded all levels of the administration, including the airport. What goes on there happened to be confirmed to me by none other than a high placed policeman in Ktm so I know it's not blah-blah.
Be safe, come in with less than $2,000 is also my best advice. Like the lady said, use ATMs (or bank transfers) if you need more.

I brought in more than $2000USD in a money belt and nobody asked and i didnt tell. If you are a US citizen the banks dont want anything to do with you because of red tape and US banking reporting laws. I could not open an account anywhere.

Just goes to prove you can can duck anything really. Secret is not to get caught!