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Message exchange

Message exchange between a business and Customs refers to electronic transfer of data using declaration messages of a specified format.  Message exchange is the declaration method of choice if the business has a large number of declarations that contain several goods items.

Message exchange can be used 

  • in import (import declarations)
  • in export (export declarations)
  • in declaring the entry and exit of goods
  • in transit (T1 and T2 transit declarations and electronic TIR-Carnet declarations)
  • for declarations for customs warehousing
  • for Åland tax border declarations and
  • for statistical declarations on intra-EU trade.

Requirements for message exchange:

  • Data communication links for transmitting messages.
  • Software for creating and sending declarations to the various systems of Customs.
  • Testing the applications and data communication links with Customs.

  • Registering as a message exchange customer
  • Server certificate from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency for transmitting messages
  • Competence in the procedure(s) to ensure that the submission of declarations runs smoothly.

How do I apply for message customer status?

If you wish to submit message declarations to the Customs Clearance System, submit the application in the service “Authorisations and decisions”. Submitting the application requires the mandate “Applying for customs authorisations” granted by the company. 

Application for message exchange that doesn’t take place via the Customs Clearance System is submitted using customs form 934:

EORI number:
Check that your company has an EORI number, because it is needed for message exchange.

Details of the person responsible for message exchange:
Enter the contact details of the person who we can contact in matters concerning your company’s message exchange and testing as well as the contact details of a secondary contact person.

Details of the company implementing message exchange:
Enter the name of the company that has built the software you use for submitting declarations and the company’s contact person.

Applicant's role

  • What is the technical role that your company will take when submitting declarations using direct message exchange?
  • Your company acts as a message declarant in such a way that the software used by your company generates the messages according to the specifications set by Customs, signs them with an XML signature and transmits them independently via a direct message interface. In this case, your company must also obtain a server certificate and maintain it.
  • Your company acts as a message declarant in such a way that your company uses the software of a company acting a service provider for generating and submitting declaration messages. In this case, the service provider needs a service certificate. Enter also the name and EORI number of the service provider.
  • Your company acts as a service provider and your software generates and transmits declarations via direct message exchange messages on behalf of another company. 

Starting to use the services:
- Using the Message Notification Service for direct message exchange: Check whether the Message Notification Service is in use in the software you use. If not, find out whether you should start using it, because it would speed up the processing of declarations considerably.
- The applicant will test the functionality of the attachment message service: Indicate if your company acts as a software supplier and wishes to test the function for submitting attachments to declarations via direct message exchange in its software. 

Declarations for which the authorisation for message exchange is applied:
Find out which declaration-specific messages your company will test and submit via direct message exchange.


Your company has decided to apply for message exchange with Customs

Choose the method for message exchange

In your own environment, you shall implement services that enable the use of the web-based direct message exchange services provided by Customs

Acquire the software

Registering as a message exchange customer

Meet one of our business advisers

Test the software and the connections

After receiving the authorisation for message exchange, you can send the declarations you have tested to Customs via message exchange

Any questions?

Instructions regarding special matters (authorisations, guarantees and initiating message declaration)
Mon–Fri 8 am–4.15 pm

For example, you can ask about following subjects:

  • when to apply for an authorisation that is granted by Customs and which are the authorisation requirements
  • when is a guarantee required of me
  • when to initiate message declaration and what does it require of my company.

We aim to answer your enquiry no later than within three working days. If the matter is urgent, you can call the “General instructions for businesses” service number.