Import fallback procedure

“Fallback procedure” refers to an exceptional procedure for lodging customs declarations, when there is a disruption in Customs' or the customer's system.

Please note that if you are using a two-stage declaration procedure where you submit a supplementary recapitulative customs declaration for a specific period, you should read the instructions for using a fallback procedure on the page “Supplementary recapitulative import declaration for a period”. If you are seeing to customs clearance with an EIDR and submitting a presentation notification, you should read the instructions for using a fallback procedure on the page “Entry in the declarant's records”.

1. Service interruption in Customs’ system

We notify our customers about service interruptions in our e-services on the online services front page and on the individual front pages of our specific services.

The Customer Support of Customs notifies customers of planned service interruptions in advance and once during the interruption. The notification has the following text: “You can use the fallback procedure until you receive a notification that the interruption is over”.

The Customer Support notifies customers of unplanned interruptions and serious malfunctions as soon as possible once an interruption occurs or a malfunction is observed.

If you do not receive a notification of an interruption even though you observe that no replies are sent to declarations submitted to Customs’ system, proceed as follows:

  • first, contact your own Help Desk to check whether the message exchange works
  • in operator-based message exchange, contact your own operator.

If the cause of the problem is not found, request permission to use the fallback procedure. The permission is requested using Customs form 954s (in Finnish), which is to be emailed to spake.tuonti(at)tulli.fi.

If you are a message declarant, do this during a service interruption

During a service interruption, you can submit a message declaration to the Customs system as a conventional message. The processing of the declaration will continue after the service interruption.

If you want the goods to be released during the interruption, submit your trade invoice and a SAD form to the customs office of entry. In section 44 of the SAD form, enter the text “Message declaration”. The SAD must have the same customer reference number as the declaration in message format. Customs will endorse the SAD.  Customs will not enter this declaration into its system, but the actual customs clearance will be take place based on declaration sent in message format.

Do this during a service interruption if you submit customs declarations to the Custom Clearance Service

Wait for the interruption to end, and log in to the service only after the interruption has ended.

If you want your goods to be released during the interruption, submit your trade invoice and a SAD form to the customs office of entry. In section 44 of the SAD form, enter the text “Customs declaration submitted using the fallback procedure”. Please note that the SAD form must contain the same customer reference number as the electronic customs declaration that you submit to the Customs Clearance Service once the service interruption ends. Customs will endorse the SAD.

If there is no customs office in the place of placement under the procedure, you can request placement under the procedure by email. The request is made by emailing the copy 1 of the SAD and the invoice to spake.tuonti(at)tulli.fi. Write “Fallback procedure” in the subject line of the email message.

During service interruptions, temporary storage operators can release goods from temporary storage facilities against a SAD endorsed by Customs. The goods can also be released to private persons on presentation of form 1143s endorsed by Customs (Private person’s declaration of goods imported from outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU).

If you have pre-lodged an import declaration and the transport arrives during a service interruption, you will need a fallback procedure document (SAD form) in addition to the MRN. The fallback procedure document must contain the MRN, as well as the other details required for the import declaration. 


Notifying customers that the service interruption is over

The Customer Support of Customs informs the customers and Customs personnel by email that the interruption is over and that the fallback procedure can no longer be used. After receiving this notification the customers must revert to the normal procedure.

2. Service interruption in the customer’s system

During a service interruption, the use of Customs’ online service is recommended.

The fallback procedure requires permission from Customs

The permission is requested using Customs form 954s PDF 655kB (in Finnish), which is to be emailed to spake.tuonti(at)tulli.fi.

If the interruption exceeds the date and time indicated in the permission, you must request an extension from the Electronic Service Centre.

In case of a planned service interruption, permission to use the fallback procedure must be requested in good time.

If you want the goods to be released during the interruption, submit a SAD form and the invoice to the customs office through which the goods arrive (customs office of entry). In box 44 of the SAD, enter the text ‘Sanomamuotoinen ilmoitus, varamenettelylupa myönnetty’ (declaration in message format, permission to use the fallback procedure granted). The SAD must have the same customer reference number as message. Customs will endorse the SAD with a date stamp.

If there is no customs office in the place of placement under the procedure, you can request placement under the procedure by email. The request is made by emailing the copy 1 of the SAD and the invoice to spake.tuonti(at)tulli.fi. Write “Fallback procedure” in the subject line of the email message.

Customs will not enter this declaration into its system, but the actual customs clearance will be take place based on declaration sent in message format.

Temporary storage operators can release goods from temporary storage facilities against a SAD endorsed by Customs. The goods can also be released to private persons on presentation of form 1143 endorsed by Customs (Private person’s declaration of goods imported from outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU).

3. After a service interruption when goods have been released with a SAD form

Once the service interruption has ended you should, without delay, submit an electronic declaration on the goods that were released for the procedure during the service interruption. Declarations can be submitted either through message exchange or in the Customs Clearance Service. 

Provide the following details in your electronic customs declaration:

  • the additional information code “FIFAL − Fallback procedure” and as its description the acceptance date of the fallback procedure document (format: dd.mm.yyyy).
  • Enter the same information as in the fallback procedure document submitted during the service interruption, i.e. the SAD form.
  • Provide the same customer reference number as in the fallback procedure document, i.e. the SAD form.

Customs endorses the SAD form with which goods can be released for free circulation during the fallback procedure. However, Customs does not store any customs declarations submitted during the fallback procedure. Instead, the actual customs clearance is done with an electronic customs declaration which is to be processed after the service interruption ends. This declaration is submitted either in message format or through the Customs Clearance Service.

Customs verifies that an electronic customs declaration is submitted as replacing any customs declarations provided under the fallback procedure during the service interruption. 

An exception to this are import customs declarations by cash customers involving payment of import duties at the customs office. In such cases, import duties have been paid so that goods can be released into free circulation. As import duties have been paid, a customs declaration is no longer submitted retrospectively in the Customs Clearance Service or in message format.