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Cars registered in Russia can no longer enter Finland as of midnight today

Publication date 15.9.2023 16.01
Press release

As of 00.00 am on 16 September 2023, Finnish Customs will start implementing the national guidelines of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland concerning the explanatory note by the EU Commission regarding entry into Finland of cars registered in Russia. Immediately at the turn of day on Saturday, cars registered in Russia can no longer enter the EU via the Finnish border, but will be turned back to Russia by Customs.

On 8 September 2023, the EU Commission issued an explanatory note, which was specified on Tuesday, 12 September 2023 by aiming the recommendation especially at cars. The original interpretation concerned all products listed in Annex XXI of the sanctions regulation. In addition to cars, these products also include other products, the import of which to the EU territory has been considered to have an impact on the Russian economy. The specification made it easier to interpret the explanatory note with regard to the enforcement of sanctions.

– We will start implementing the guidelines of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland about an import ban on cars registered in Russia tonight, immediately at the turn of day. After this, cars registered in Russia can no longer enter the EU via the Finnish Border, says Mr Sami Rakshit, Director of the Enforcement Department of Finnish Customs. 

As a rule, the import ban applies to all cars registered in Russia, regardless of whether the use of the car is private or commercial. The ban does not apply to e.g. cars of diplomats and cars of EU citizens permanently residing in Russia.

The ban applies to all vehicles listed in Annex XXI of the sanctions regulation, mainly vehicles intended for the transport of passengers (commodity code 8703). This category includes e.g. passenger cars, camper vans and minibuses for under 10 passengers.

Cars registered in Russia that have been brought to Finland before this import ban must leave Finland within six months.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has cooperated with Customs in preparing the national guidelines. In Finland, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is the competent authority and Customs is the implementing authority with regard to the sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia.

Cooperation with outer border states of the EU is important in order to efficiently enforce sanctions

– In enforcing the sanctions widely and in a uniform way, it is of utmost importance that all EU Member States cooperate, and especially so the outer border states of the EU, and that the sanctions are implemented in the same way. At the moment, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are implementing a very similar enforcement policy as Finland with regard to cars registered in Russia, says Rakshit.

– In Finland, Customs controls the import of cars registered in Russia at the eastern border but also at the Norwegian border, since Norway does not belong to the EU and the sanctions forbid the import of cars to the EU territory, says Rakshit.

Finnish Customs press release 11 September 2023

Media release