Instructions from Customs to asylum seekers coming to Finland from outside the EU

Dear asylum seeker, Finnish Customs provides the following instructions for you regarding the customs clearance of removal goods and other goods, on receiving goods that are subject to restrictions or total prohibitions, and on the taxation of receivable goods and products.

Personal removal goods that are sent to Finland from outside the EU must be cleared through Customs

Personal removal goods of a person moving to Finland from outside the EU are often exempt from customs duties and taxes. However, such goods need to be cleared through Customs. Ask the sender for a general list of the goods already before they are sent to Finland. You will need the list for the customs clearance.

How are goods cleared through Customs in practice?

You can see to the customs clearance of a postal package or freight package through the Import Declaration Service which is available in Finnish and Swedish on the Customs website, by visiting a customs office personally or by authorising a forwarding agency to see to the customs clearance. Please note that for example removal goods cannot be cleared using the Import Declaration Service.

You need a Finnish personal identity code and a Finnish online banking ID or a mobile signature for using the service. If you do not have these, you can authorise another person to take care of the customs clearance on your behalf.

Certain goods cannot be received even as gifts

The restrictions and prohibitions valid in Finland concern all consignments to be sent to Finland. This means that prohibited products cannot be received even as gifts. Products that are completely prohibited include medicines and medicinal products from outside the EEA, snus, and foodstuffs such as meat, meat products, milk and milk products from outside the EU (apart from exceptions). See map of EU and EEA countries.

Please note that also the import of plants and fruits involves restrictions. Products derived from endangered animals and plants are often either prohibited or subject to licence.

For example, the following foodstuffs can be received for personal use without restrictions:

  • sweets, chocolate, biscuits and other confectionery products that are not mixed or stuffed with meat products
  • soup stocks and flavourings packaged for the final consumer.

Points to consider

You can clear a postal consignment through the Import Declaration Service (available in Finnish and Swedish) or by visiting a customs office personally.

The recipient of a postal consignment is always responsible for clearing it through Customs. The recipient must clear the goods through Customs within the prescribed time period, and the payment must be visible on Customs’ bank account within 20 days of the date when the goods arrive. Otherwise, the postal consignment is returned automatically to the sender.

Terms of use of the Import Declaration Service

You need a Finnish personal identity code and a Finnish online banking ID or a mobile signature for using the service. If you do not have these, you can authorise another person to take care of the customs clearance on your behalf through the Import Declaration Service. You can also clear goods through Customs on behalf of another person Please note that for example removal goods cannot be cleared using the Import Declaration Service.

The Finnish postal service, Posti, transports and stores postal consignments, and sends the recipient a notification on the arrival of a consignment that needs to be cleared through Customs. All postal consignments remain in the Posti storage facilities in Vantaa until the recipient has cleared the goods and paid the import duties.

For any questions you might have regarding the transportation of the package, its location or the notification of arrival, please contact Posti, as Customs is not able to answer these questions. You can also the Posti item tracking service. The Posti telephone number is 020 451 5900.

Doing business with Customs

You can clear a postal consignment at any customs office that handles postal clearances. Be sure to check the opening hours of each office. See contact information.

You should have the following documents with you when you visit Customs:

  • the notification from Posti on the arrival of your goods
  • an order confirmation or a receipt of your purchase, or an account on the contents and value of the gift consignment
  • proof of identification or a possible document for confirming your identity.

If the combined value of the goods in a consignment does not exceed 22 euros or the consignment is a gift from a private individual and not worth more than 45 euros, you do not (with some exceptions) have to fill in a customs declaration or pay any taxes. However, the recipient of goods must send Customs the following:

  • a confirmation of the order, or an account on the gift and its value
  • the arrival ID from Posti, and
  • his/her contact information

by e-mail to lentoposti(at)tulli.fi for the parcel to be released.

Please note! Consignments that contain for example tobacco products or alcoholic beverages must always be cleared through Customs.


The recipient of a cargo consignment must always clear their goods through Customs on their own initiative. This means that Customs does not automatically clear consignments.

Before you are given the goods you have ordered, the consignment has to be cleared through Customs and possible import duties have to be paid.

Terms of use of the Import Declaration Service

You need a Finnish personal identity code and a Finnish online banking ID or a mobile signature for using the service. If you do not have these, you can authorise another person to take care of the customs clearance on your behalf through the Import Declaration Service. You can also clear goods through Customs on behalf of another person. Please note that for example removal goods cannot be cleared using the Import Declaration Service.

Doing business with Customs

You can clear a cargo consignment at the customs office closest to the place where the goods are stored. Customs does not store consignments. When necessary, you can ask the cargo transporter for the storage location of your goods. Note that the offices have their own separate opening hours! See contact information.

You should have the following documents with you when you visit Customs:

  • notification on the arrival of your goods from the cargo transporter
  • an order confirmation or a receipt of your purchase, or an account on the contents and value of the gift consignment
  • proof of identification or a possible document for confirming your identity.

 


As a rule, the consignee has to submit a customs declaration for the goods ordered and pay the due import duties, which often comprise customs duties and value added tax. Note that, additionally, excise duty is levied on goods subject to excise duty in Finland, such as alcohol.

Note also that import for sale or for release in return for compensation is always subject to taxation, and Customs must be notified of such activity.

Useful further information on for example restrictions, removal goods and online purchases is available on the Customs website.

 


In order to clear your consignments using the Web Import service (customs clearance, submitting a customs declaration) through the Import Declaration Service, you need to have a Finnish personal identity code and a Finnish online banking ID or a mobile signature. The Import Declaration Service is available in Finnish and Swedish.

If a consignee does not have a Finnish online banking ID, a Finnish personal identity code or a mobile signature, an authorised person can take care of the customs clearance and payment of taxes through the Import Declaration Service. The authorisation can be given either verbally or in writing. You can also print out and fill in a power of attorney for signature.

Example 1: If an under-aged child does not have an online banking ID or a mobile signature, the child’s parent can clear the goods through Customs on the child’s behalf.

Example 2: If the recipient of a consignment does not have a Finnish personal identity code, another person can clear the goods through Customs on behalf of the recipient.

A person authorised to clear goods through Customs logs in to the Import Declaration Service with their own banking ID, and gives his or her name and personal identity number as the recipient details.

The name of the actual recipient of the goods is added next to the name of the person who clears the goods through Customs.

Posti will deliver the consignment to the designated recipient or to the post office nearest to the recipient also when the customs declaration is submitted by an authorised person. The warehouse keeper storing the cargo consignment releases or delivers the consignment to the recipient.


Please note that the restrictions and prohibitions valid in Finland concern all consignments to be sent to Finland. This means that prohibited products cannot be received even as gifts.

Products that are prohibited altogether include

  • medicines and medicinal products from outside the EEA
  • narcotic substances
  • snus
  • foodstuffs such as meat, meat products, milk and milk products from outside the EU (apart from exceptions)
  • copyright-infringing products such as pirated CDs, DVDs, computer games and software
  • dangerous objects such as knuckledusters, stilettos, shurikens, electrical tasers and electrical batons.

Please note that also the import of plants and fruits involves restrictions. Products derived from endangered animals and plants are often either prohibited or subject to licence.

For example, the following foodstuffs can be received for personal use without restrictions:

  • biscuits, chocolate and other confectionery products (including sweets) that are not mixed or stuffed with meat products 
  • soup stocks and flavourings packaged for the final consumer.

The Evira (Finnish Food Safety Authority) import rules for personal consumption from third countries contain more detailed information.


Recipients usually do not have to pay tax on gift consignments of a value of less than 45 euros sent by private individuals. The amount of customs duties and taxes is based on the purchase price of the goods that is valid abroad. It is a good idea for the sender of the gift to give purchase receipts to the recipient, so that the recipient can prove the value of the gift to Customs when necessary.

If the gift consignment is worth more than 45 euros, you must pay import duties for the consignment in the same way as for any online purchase.

Please note that gift consignments involve restrictions, and excise duties and value added tax, which may be of significant amounts, are always levied on for example tobacco and alcohol products.


The taxable value of a cigarette carton sent as a gift can be over 60 euros

For example, you have received one cigarette carton as a gift from Iraq. Customs duty, tobacco duty and value added tax is levied on the cigarette carton sent to Finland, that is, for 200 cigarettes. To some extent, the amount of taxes levied on tobacco products depends on the cigarette brand that is imported to Finland.

Depending on the cigarette brand, the applied customs value of a cigarette carton is the average import price of 12.45–16.80 euros. The basic supposition is that there is no information available on the purchase price of the cigarettes. The postage fee is five euros which is added to the customs value amount.

The amount of general customs duty levied on cigarettes is 57.60 per cent, which is based on the customs value.

The amount of customs duty is 57.60 per cent of the value of the cigarette carton:

 (12.45 € + 5 €) x 0.576 = 10.05 euros.

  • The amount of customs duty for one cigarette carton sent from Iraq is at least 10.05 euros per carton.

Tobacco duty is levied based on the carton retail price confirmed by Customs. The retail price between 1 July and 31 December 2017 is 62.00–73.00 euros per carton, depending on the cigarette brand.

  • A minimum tobacco duty of 44.60 euros is always levied on a cigarette carton sent to Finland.

The amount of value added tax is 24 % of the import VAT basis. The VAT basis comprises the customs value and the amount of customs duty and tobacco duty:

 (17.45 € + 10.05 € + 44.60 €) x 0.24 = 17.30 euros.

  • A minimum tobacco duty of 17.30 euros is always levied on a cigarette carton sent to Finland.

The total amount of tax levied on a cigarette carton sent as a gift is at least 71.95 euros.

Further information:


Contact us
Customs Information Service, Private customers
Monday to Friday 8 am–4 pm

Contact Customs Information

The cost of a call from a landline or mobile phone subscription is 0 cents/min + local network charge/ standard mobile rate.
In car tax matters, kindly contact the Tax Administration (vero.fi)


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