Automated decision-making at Finnish Customs

Finnish Customs uses automated decision-making. Automated decision-making means that the decision, which ends the processing of the matter, is made through automatic data processing without being checked or approved by a person. The decision-making is based on the automatic processing rules that steer the process and which are defined in advance by a person. Learning AI techniques are not used.

Using automation for resolving customs matters is necessary because of the large quantity of customs declarations. In 2022, Customs issued around 3.76 million decisions. The majority of these decisions, around 3.6 million i.e. 96%, were resolved automatically. The number of decisions and their share of automated decisions is still growing. Automated decision making is used for import, export, transit and entry procedures. For example, import clearances by private individuals are generally resolved automatically. All normal customs declarations are processed automatically, unless there is a reason to select the case for processing by a person.

Automated decision-making is used for customs matters that do not require case-by-case consideration. Furthermore, it is used for matters where a person, i.e. a customs official, has assessed the factors required for case-by-case consideration. If the case can be resolved automatically, the customer is informed of this, when they start to fill in the customs declaration. Automated decision-making is not used by Customs if the case is resolved contrary to the customer’s request. If the customs declaration is not accepted, the customer is heard and the decision is issued by the customs official. An exception to this is a situation where a matter initiated with an advance notification lapses based on the passage of time, and an automatic invalidation decision is issued in the case. In this case, the customer has submitted a pre-lodged import or export declaration, but the goods have not been presented within the required 30-day time limit, and the processing of the matter is ended. Cases suitable for automated decision-making are selected for manual processing from time to time, to ensure the quality based on certain risk criteria and random checks. Automated decision-making is not applied when it comes to sanctions against the customer.


The new legislation regarding automated decision-making, i.e. Chapter 8 b of the Administrative Procedure Act and Chapter 6 a of the Public Information Management Act entered into force on 1 May 2023. The new legislation provides the legal basis for automated decision-making and allows automated decision-making, despite the fundamental prohibition of automated decisions laid down in EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The automated decision-making used by Customs before the entry into force of the Act, will be brought into line with the new regulation within the transitional period included in the Act, i.e. by 1 November 2024.

From 1 January 2024, Customs will start using automated decision-making for the first time also when processing requests for administrative review, when the new regulation of section 88 subsections 5 and 6 of the Customs Act enters into force. The request for administrative review can only be resolved automatically if the customer’s request is approved. A negative or deviating decision on a request for administrative review is always issued by a customs official.

Implementation decision

Customs makes the implementation decisions referred to in the Public Information Management Act concerning the automated operational processes implemented. Implementation decisions include the reasons for the implementation, the documents that are the basis for the implementation, the implementation date, the time the decision was made, the decision-maker and their contact information, from which additional information on the use of the automated decision procedure at Customs is available. The implementation decisions are published on the Customs website. Before the new legislation enters into force, the implementation decisions concerning the implemented automated operational processes are published by 1 November 2024. The new automated operational processes concerning the implementation decisions are published before implementation.

Legal remedy

An amendment of automated decisions by Customs, can be applied for with a request for administrative review. Requesting an administrative review is a legal remedy, with which the customer can request that the matter be processed by a person, in accordance with the data protection regulation. Instructions on how to request an administrative review are attached to the Customs decision. In the decision, the contact information is also indicated, where more information about the decision is available.

Data protection

The processing of personal data in Customs’ automated decision-making is described in Customs’ privacy statement.

Updating data

This webpage is updated during the transitional period laid down by law, however no later than by 1 November 2024.