Basic information on transit

You need to contact Customs when you transport import goods from the customs and fiscal territory of the European Union or from outside the fiscal territory, if no taxes have been paid within the EU. 

The carrier or Posti informs the consignee if the goods have to be cleared. The consignee is responsible for clearing the goods through customs. 
 
If the goods are exported out of the EU and only transported via Finland, it usually pays to transit the goods. Check the path of progression below to find out what you must observe or what actions you have to take, so that you can transport goods without clearing them through customs.

The carrier or Posti informs the consignee if the goods have to be cleared.

Check these things before the goods arrive

  1. Find out where the goods are sent from or whether they’ve already been cleared into the EU
    • If the goods are imported from outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU, then a customs procedure called transit can be used to move the goods within the EU without clearing them through customs.
    • It is also possible to deliver goods from within the EU to Finland that have not been customs cleared into the EU.
  2. Get the precise goods description and commodity code before moving or transporting the goods
    • Provide the commercial description of the goods in the transit declaration. Declaring the commodity code is optional, but it can speed up the processing of your declaration. The commodity code does not, however, replace a precise description of the goods.
    • The commodity code defines, among other things, the restrictions on the goods. That’s why it’s important to use the right commodity code.
    • The commodity codes can be retrieved in the Fintaric. Customs can also help you.
  3. Find out in advance, whether there are restrictions regarding the transit of the goods
    • For example, the transit or transporting of waste, goods made from endangered plants and animals as well as medicines, weapons and defence materiel are all subject to restrictions.
    • All restrictions have their own national administrative authority and/or licensing authority (e.g. Finnish Food Authority). The Customs restriction manual (in Finnish) features the most important import, export and transit restrictions that Customs supervises.
    • Make sure that the goods aren’t subject to export control (for instance, high technology or dual-use goods for the war industry).

This is how you declare goods to be transited

  1. Get your IDs and permits and be prepared to lodge a guarantee
    • In the Customs Transit Declaration service, you can, either unidentified or identified, submit a transit declaration. By identifying yourself, you can utilise your previous declarations.
    • If your company doesn’t have an EORI number, obtain it from Customs. 
    • You can submit the transit declaration yourself or use an agent. You can use either the Customs Transit Declaration Service or message declarations (requires an authorisation from Customs). If you use message exchange, you do not have to visit a customs office.
    • Be prepared to lodge a transit guarantee for the taxes of around 30 % of the value of the goods. It will be returned to your bank account when the transit is discharged.
  2. The goods have to be cleared before you can receive them
    • The consignee is responsible for clearing the goods through customs. Chose the customs procedure according to the purpose of use. What will happen to the goods; are you re-exporting them outside the EU, will they be cleared through customs in Finland or sent back to the country of departure? If you pay customs duties on the goods upon import, the money will not be returned to you even if you later export the goods to Russia, for example. If the goods are exported out of the EU and only transported via Finland, it usually pays to transit the goods.
    • Clear the goods within the time limit that is printed on the notice of arrival. Goods in temporary storage have to be cleared through customs within 90 days after being placed in storage. The warehouse keeper may request that the customs clearance is done sooner, though. If the goods are transported as road traffic to the EU border and you transit them directly from the border, the transit has to take place immediately. If you have all information regarding the goods and everything is otherwise in order, the transit may only take a few minutes.
    • The code list contains the codes to be used in the declaration.
  3. Customs opens the transit
    • The carrier notifies Customs that the goods have arrived. The carried provides you with the MRN numbers and consignment numbers that you need for the transit procedure. If the goods have been entered into the bookkeeping of a customs-approved warehouse, you also need the warehouse ID, which often is provided in the notice of arrival.
    • When you have all the information regarding the goods, you can submit the transit declaration and Customs releases the goods for the transit procedure.
    • Customs gives you an accompanying document, against which you receive the goods from the place of dispatch. This is usually a customs-approved warehouse. Transporting the goods is not allowed until Customs has opened the transit, i.e. released the goods for the transit procedure. Goods, placed under a transit procedure, should usually be transported in a sealed means of transport. Customs or the authorised customer can seal the load.
    • A warehouse keeper or a temporary storage operator can transfer the goods or have them transferred on their own responsibility to the customs office of departure to be placed under the subsequent customs procedure or require that the carrier picking up the goods use the services of an authorised consignor.
      The customs office of departure assesses and decides whether the goods can be released for the transit procedure without sealing,
  4. Customs discharges the transit
    • When the goods arrive at the destination, the goods and the MRN transit number are presented to Customs. Customs discharges the transit.
    • If the goods don’t arrive or the transit isn’t discharged, the goods are taxed and you receive an invoice from Customs. If the goods are intended to stay in Finland, the transit can be discharged with import clearance. Taxes on import are paid in connection to the customs clearance.
    • If you have authorisations for comprehensive guarantee and payment deferment, you’ll be granted a term of payment. In other cases, Customs usually retains a sum of the guarantee you’ve lodged.
  5. What if something has to be repaired or the transport is cancelled?
    • If the transport is cancelled for some reason, then the transit can be invalidated.
    • The customs declaration can only be corrected if the transit goods have not been placed under the procedure.

When is transit used?

A business or private person can use transit when they want to move goods, which have not been cleared through customs, from one place to another. Undecleared goods can only be moved with an authorisation from Customs. The warehouse keeper, carrier, forwarder or holder of the goods can be the holder of the authorisation.

Transit means moving goods under customs supervision. No tax payments or other payments have yet been made on the goods. If you don’t wish to clear the goods at the point of entry; instead you want to move them to a temporary warehouse or customs warehouse e.g. and clear them later, then you need to transit the goods. Transit is also used if the goods are to be transited out of the EU or into another transit country. Transit countries are the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Turkey, North Macedonia, Serbia and Great Britain.

Guarantees

A guarantee must be lodged for goods transit. The amount of guarantee depends on how much tax is levied on the goods. The transit guarantee is around 30 percent of the goods value. A guarantee for an individual transit can be paid in cash or by bank card when visiting customs. The guarantee is returned to the customer’s account when the transit is discharged at the customs office of destination. You can also apply for permission to use a comprehensive guarantee, then the bank act as guarantor.

Points to consider

A transit declaration can be lodged by any person or business; makes no difference which nationality you are.


When you act as transit principal and holder of the transit procedure, you must adhere to the given time-limits and to other responsibilities provided for in the customs legislation. You may, for instance, have to pay taxes and other payments for the transit goods, if they disappear during transit.


Transit goods can be subject to some restrictions, which have been defined in legislation.

 


A transit declaration can be lodged at any customs office that provides customer service, for example, at a port, the airport or at the country border. Furthermore, the authorised consignor can transit goods from all customs approved warehouses, which are called temporary warehouses or customs warehouses.


You can transit goods to a customs warehouse or temporary warehouse, to another country or perhaps to the border of Finland, if the goods are to be exported to Russia.