The government has tightened regulations on the declaration of cash upon departure from the country. Departing passengers must now declare cash equivalent to or above US$10,000 and provide proof of funds. This move aims to align with internationally recognised norms and limit unchecked foreign currency outflow.

Homeland Security Minister Ali Ihusaan announced the new regulations, stating that previous measures were inadequate. “Earlier, a person carrying US$10,000 or more just needed to say they were taking this much money out of the country. That was considered a declaration,” Ihusaan said.

The regulations came into effect immediately. On Monday, a local passenger was held at Velana International Airport (VIA) with US$60,000 in cash.

The new regulations have sparked criticism, with some arguing that locals should be exempt. The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson Fayyaz Ismail argued that Maldivian citizens should not be forced to provide proof of funds when leaving the country. He emphasised that it is a fundamental right to travel without government interference and insisted that the government should focus on monitoring foreign currency inflows and circulation within the country.

Despite the criticism, the government maintains that the tightened regulations are necessary to prevent illegal activities and ensure economic stability.