You should not be expected to explain to anyone how much of your wealth you decide to put on your body and wear. Even if you are “just” flying, it is not a good idea to tell anyone that you are wearing gold. What happens if you fall asleep? However, declaring what you own to customs is extremely important. You don’t want anyone to think that you are trying to smuggle anything in or out of a country. Are you able to hide your gold?
How can you hide gold from the airport’s metal detector? You could replace anything metal that you are bringing, with your gold; however, the detector will catch you. Even if the metal is in powder or liquid form, the detectors can detect that it is metal. The best thing you can hope for is that you convince them it is some other metal, or it is part of some jewelry.
Issues with Smuggling
Within the last year, more than a few people have been caught trying to smuggle gold from Dubai to India. They keep getting caught, so their efforts have not yielded any profit for them. Metal detectors detect gold because gold is a metal. Airports also now have gold sniffing dogs. Even if you eat the gold, you cannot hide it from those dogs. If you do not want to end up in a hospital, with the police giving you laxatives to collect their evidence and have to end up explaining that to both your lawyer and family, don’t swallow gold in a foreign country. Or any country.
While some efforts have yielded hilarious results even though they were caught, most have been poorly planned and were just sad. For example, a man was caught with gold wire he’d placed in the underwires of a bra, as well as gold bars wrapped in underwear, that he’d put in a woman’s purse. The underwear and bras were placed inside his suitcase. He attempted to go through the airport’s security with 794 grams of wire and gold bars, which were worth Rs 29,96,079.
If you are going to try and hide your gold on your person and make it past the security, then you need to keep these things on your mind–the more gold you have on you, the likelier you are to get caught and don’t be so greedy. If you are caught, if you have a small amount of gold on you, then they are less likely to believe or accuse you of being part of some criminal organization. If you keep the amount you have on you worth less than $10,000 (hopefully a lot less), you should be fine.
If you take over less, then if you are caught, you will not face as many harsh penalties as you would otherwise. Anything amount of gold worth less than $2,500 is not considered to be a commercial quantity, and you may be penalized, but you are not risking as much.
India has a massive issue with smuggling because their local economy has more demands for gold than what they produce. Indian people love gold, so the tax to import it has increased by 10%. This is why a lot of people want to bring their gold into the country without paying that tax. If you are trying to move gold clandestinely, then do not pick a place where the country actively searches for gold smugglers.
Where Are You Able To Stash Your Gold?
If you are going to take the risk of trying to bring your gold with you, finding ways of doing it isn’t difficult at all. For example, you could always try and hide your gold inside of a gold watch that you’ve gutted. Since your watch is already made of metal, it would not be suspicious at all.
The best place to hide your gold is in women’s jewelry. Use cheap paints you can buy at almost any store to cover up your gold and display it as any typical metal jewelry. Don’t wrap it up as a gift either, as gifts have to be declared at customs in nearly every country.
If you have a gold coin that is around 1/2 to 1/10 of an ounce, hide it inside a metal and stone bracelet. This is a very effective method of hiding, as it is light and smooth. Use clay pieces that look similar to the stones to reduce the overall size of your bracelet, and compensate for the weight of the gold.
If you have a gold coin that is smaller than 25mm, then you can buy Panda Hall bracelets from Amazon, which come with empty bezels. From there, use some hot glue gun and material to cover it up to hide the coin in the bracelet.
A necklace is a great way to hide your gold in a more available variety of shapes and sizes of the styles available in jewelry. You can find a lot of necklace bezels that vary wildly in size, as well as in a variety of shapes. You can hide coins or other small amounts of gold inside a necklace bezel than a bracelet. Bastex is the perfect source for this, as they make several different necklace bezels in various multi-packs. You can buy them at Amazon, as well as clear dome pendant covers that give your necklace the finish it needs. A good option that is usually overlooked by security can be found here, as necklaces are overlooked as they are apart of many different fashion trends.
Loopholes and Pitfalls
If you bring a piece of gold jewelry with you from home, luckily, you don’t have to declare it at all to customers–if you are in the United States. Check the laws of the country you plan on visiting to make sure. On the flip side, if you buy gold while you are abroad, you will have to declare it to customs.
Luckily for the majority of Americans and any tourists who are visiting the United States, you can potentially qualify for a wide variety of exemptions. If you want to save or avoid the duty fees and do not plan to sell your gold, then you might be in luck. Remember, though, laws are different in other countries, and in some places like China, you might not be able to bring your personal gold jewelry back home with you, even if it is from home.
If you are worried about traveling and then being taxed for your jewelry or watches, simply because you are traveling with them, there is another solution. Register your jewelry at the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) office (or the airport office) before you leave. Do this even if you bought the jewelry outside of the country.
So what happens when you try to pass through security with undeclared gold jewelry and get caught? Even if this was an accident, you could still have your gold taken and be the subject of a fine. Do not run or try to lie about any of the details of your gold. This would make things a lot worse for you. Call your lawyer before you say anything.
Let It Go
If you have decided, last minute, that you don’t want to go through the risk of getting caught, you could hand over your gold and declare it as contraband. Having contraband gold and food won’t get you into too much trouble, at least not in the way that drugs and weapons would. Do not try to smuggle your gold in arms, even if they are legally checked and registered, for this exact reason.
If you are caught with an undeclared gold after you tried to pass it off, don’t throw a fit–be polite. Have a lawyer help you if you are able, but the penalties will be similar either way.
Less than $2,500 – Section 592 of Customers Law states that a person with an undeclared amount of property of that value or less, that is, a non-agricultural product will receive a fine of $300, and the property will be confiscated.
Ask for a Hearing – If you want to go to court, you can–but be aware that a court hearing may result in thousands of dollars in fines.
Agricultural Product – Anything that could potentially transmit parasites from country to country could be a $10,000 fine. Do not ever try to hide your gold or anything else in agricultural items or food.
Money Laundering – in the United States, if you are caught with commercial quantities of gold, then you will be charged with money laundering. That is up to a $500,000 fine, or 2x the value of the gold (whichever is higher), and could also be punished with 20 years in prison.
As long as they are using working metal detectors, they will find metal on you or in your luggage, period. You can try to hide the metal or distract the security from seeing it, but you face an incredibly high risk of getting caught either way. Twenty years in prison for a commercial amount of gold is not something that should be taken lightly when it comes to your decision and whether or not to do this. You might be able to get away with a smaller quantity of gold, and if it is personal jewelry, then your vest option might be to declare it.
If you are planning to fly to or from India or any other country that employs dog sniffers to find gold, you are more likely to get caught with it, than get away with smuggling it into the country.
No one else can decide if these risks are worth it to you. Sometimes getting a gold coin through security without declaring it is worth it. For the majority of people, it is not. Only you can decide.