Skip to content

Russian-registered cars will be legally in Finland also in the future

Publication date 18.3.2024 19.20

The national transition period of six months for the exit of Russian-registered cars from Finland expired on Friday. During the weekend, authorities encountered three cars under Russian registration. Customs wants to remind the public that cars registered in Russia will be in traffic in Finland legally also in the future. Drivers must prove their right of vehicle use to the authorities when required.

The transition period of six months for the exit of Russian-registered cars from the EU expired on Friday. On 16 September 2023, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs issued a policy based on the regulation of EU sanctions prescribing the removal of Russian-registered vehicles from Finland by no later than 15 March 2024. As of Saturday 16 March 2024, drivers of all Russian-registered cars in traffic are required to prove their right to use their vehicles when asked.

– The weekend went quietly, and by now the authorities have observed three cars with Russian licence plates. The grounds for the cars being in Finland are under examination, says Mr Sami Rakshit, Director of the Enforcement Department.

– However, it is good to remember that also after the transition period there will be Russian-registered cars remaining legally here in Finland. Exceptions are based on both the EU sanctions regulation and national policies. For example, in Finland we have persons who have fled the war in Ukraine and who are under international protection. They can use their Russian-registered cars here until the end of March, says Rakshit.

Exceptions entitling to use of Russian-registered cars

The EU sanctions regulation lays down the exceptions where a car registered in Russia can still be brought to the EU. National exceptions for their part concern cars registered in Russia that are already in Finland.

The EU sanctions regulation provides for two exceptions as regards cars registered in Russia: cars owned by EU or EEA citizens who are permanent residents of Russia or by their family members, and cars with diplomatic licence plates.

As for Russian-registered cars already in Finland, there are exceptions for certain groups. The exceptions concern cars of full-time students who reside permanently outside the EU territory, and of persons working under a valid fixed-term employment contract. In certain limited cases, the use of Russian-registered company cars is possible also for EU residents, as well as in cases where Customs has granted an extension to the time limit for temporary admission.

Due to the war in Ukraine, persons under international protection in Finland who have Russian-registered cars can declare their cars as removal vehicles for import to Finland during the period from 16 to 31 March 2024, regardless of the expiry of the transition period. This exception covers only cars that have arrived in the territory of the EU no later than 19 December 2023. If a car has not undergone import clearance during March 2024, it should exit Finland no later than 31 March 2024.

Documents proving right of use should be kept in vehicles

Drivers of all Russian-registered cars in traffic are required to prove their right to use their vehicles when asked by enforcement authorities. The relevant documents should be kept in the vehicles when driving, so that drivers can prove their right to use Russian-registered vehicles immediately when they are asked to do so.

Attachment: Documents for proving right of vehicle use to enforcement authorities in traffic 

Earlier press release by Finnish Customs (12 March 2024, in Finnish and Russian): Russian-registered cars must exit Finland no later than 15 March 2024

Media release Pakotteet