Do You Have To Declare Knives In Checked Luggage?

Knives are handy tools that we use on a daily basis, but putting a knife in checked luggage requires some prior precautions and to be aware for some rules as they are considered dangerous items.

And if you’re curious whether you have to declare any knives you place in your checked bag or not, here is the short answer.

Generally you can take knives in checked baggage and it is not necessarily to declare them when traveling domestically. However, if you are flying internationally to or from the United States, you will need to declare any knife you are taking inside your checked bag.

And as knives of any type and length are not allowed in carry-on baggage, except plastic or round bladed butter knives, it is preferable to place any knives or sharp items in checked baggage.

Keep reading to know more about traveling with knives in checked luggage and if you have to declare them at the airport.

Let’s kick things off

kitchen knife on white surface
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Important Note: Please know that this post is not a legal advice about knives, we are not attorneys to give you any type of legal advice, some states and countries have different rules, we enjoy exploring the world and we love writing about our experiences. It is better to contact your airline first and check the country of your destination because taking the wrong type of knife may cause some serious trouble.

Can You Have A Knife In A Checked Bag?

According to the TSA knives are not permitted in hand baggage, in both domestic and international flights, except plastic and round bladed better knives.

Any other knives including pocket knives, Swiss army knives, Kitchen knives are only allowed in checked baggage on any airline in the United States.

Here is a screenshot from the TSA website.



But as the TSA always stated the final decision rest for security officer inspecting your bag at the airport, so ensure that you don’t place any large knife in your checked bag, or the security officer will remove it.

If you do want to leave all this hassle behind and you don’t have a checked bag and you still need to have a knife at your destination, you can look for a local knife store, get a knife, then you can ship it later to your home before you leave.

Bethany asked the TSA if she could bring her 8″ kitchen knife in checked baggage, also wonder if she need to declare the knife.


The AskTSA customer service gave her the green light to bring her knife in a checked bag and don’t need to declare it either.

Quick note:

Even though the TSA do not recommend to declare any type of knife that is transported in checked baggage, it is better if you take the initiation and declare it to your airline at the check in desk, also you can place a nice note inside your bag so the security officer know what type of shape object you have inside.

Tip: Check out this Travelpro Platinum Elite 21” Carry-On Spinner, a sleek and versatile carry-on that is designed to fit within the limits of most airlines, to save you from the hassle of the airports and the pesky airline fees.

Can You Bring A Knife In A Checked Bag Internationally?

Traveling with knives to another country is not easy.

And whether you wanted to bring a commemorative or a personal knife it is better to check the rules for the country of your destination to find out if they have any further restrictions.

Some countries will have stricter rules and laws than others.

Most countries do not allow knives with blades of more than 6 cm / 2.36 inches, Large bladed knives are known to be illegal, like butterfly knives, swords and sabers, tactical knives, survival or hunting knives.

Other knives like kitchen knives or small pocket knives are allowed almost on country without any restrictions.

For instance if you are traveling to the UK or Canada from the US, you can bring a small kitchen or pocket knife in your checked bag, but larger knives are not permitted in both carry-on or hold luggage.

And as long as the knife is legal in your destination, ensure that you place it in your checked bag instead of trying to take it on board.

How To Pack A Knife In Checked Baggage?

If you pack a nice in checked baggage assume that will be searched by luggage security officers, there are more chance that they will take a look at it.

So to ensure that they don’t hurt anyone handling your suitcase.

Here are some tips to help pack your knife neatly.

  • Place your knife in the middle of your suitcase, or in as inside pocket and ensure that is sheathed and surrounded by clothing and other items
  • Use a knife pocket if you are taking an expensive chef knife, be aware that your suitcase will be dropped and crushed maybe more than once, so take a solid suitcase.
  • You can also place a note in your suitcase if you want, to inform the security officer that there is a knife inside

In fact it is not just knives that need to be sheathed and covered neatly, also any equipment with a sharp point or sharp edge.

It is advised to take only inexpensive and easier to replace knife in your checked bag in case it gets “lost” also won’t break the bank if confiscated.


Final Thoughts Putting A Knife In A Checked Baggage.

You can you put a knife in a checked bag and do you not have to declare it.

You can safely take a couple of small knives inside your checked baggage and you don’t need to worry about them.

Ensure that the knives are not expensive or are large with long blades, as the security officer will determine whether the knife is allowed or not.

And if you wanted to kick it up notch, I would recommend finding a store at your destination, get a knife and ship it to your home before you come back.

We hope this helps

Happy travels

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