Choose the appropriate service channel
The most convenient way of handling your transactions with Customs is to do it electronically. You can send declarations to Customs either through our online services or in the form of messages.
The choice of method depends on the number and content of the declarations to be lodged. If you have many declarations and they normally contain several goods items, online declarations may prove time-consuming as all details must be manually entered in the declaration. If that is the case, you are better off choosing declarations in message format, because then, the information in the company’s own data system can, with the help of customs clearance software available on the market, be electronically transferred to the declaration in a manner that is quicker and more accurate than filling in an online form.
- Comparing electronic service channels to support decision-making (pdf)
Lodging declarations via online services
Both private persons and businesses can lodge declarations via the online services. Lodging online declarations is free of charge and only requires a computer with internet access.
You can use Customs’ online services both as an identified and as an unidentified user. If you lodge declarations on behalf of your company, you can identify yourself in Customs’ services with a Katso ID, which can be obtained free of charge from the Finnish Tax Administration. When identifying yourself as a private person, you can use your online banking IDs.
As an identified user you can use all the online services provided by Customs:
- Import Declaration Service
- Export Declaration Service
- Transit Declaration Service
- Safety and Security Declaration Service (AREX)
- Åland Tax Border Declaration Service (ALA)
If you are an identified export declarant, you do not normally have to visit a customs office when you start the export procedure, and you can print out the release decisions and export accompanying documents for your goods or your company’s goods yourself. However, when using the online Transit Declaration Service, you must always visit a customs office when starting the transit procedure.
As an identified declarant you can also use previous declarations that you have lodged as templates for new declarations in most of Customs’ services, and the declarations can be viewed and used for a specific time period after they have been lodged.
As an unidentified user, you can only use the Export Declaration Service, the Transit Declaration Service and, in the case of road transports, the Safety and Security Declaration Service (AREX).
Unidentified export declarants must go to a customs office to obtain both the release decision and the certification of exit, and previously submitted declarations cannot be used as templates for new ones.
Declarations in message format
Message exchange between a business and Customs refers to electronic transfer of data using messages of a specified format. The messages are transmitted to Customs in XML format and in EDIFACT format to the older Customs systems.
When lodging declarations in message format, you can choose between two service channels:
- direct message exchange via the internet without a separate operator
- message exchange via operators authorised by Customs
In a few years, the option of sending messages via an operator will no longer be available.
You can send declarations in message format to the following Customs declaration systems using both service channels:
- Entry and exit declarations (AREX system)
- Import declarations (ITU system)
- Export declarations and Arrival at exit notifications (ELEX system)
- Transit declarations (NCTS transit system)
- Statistical declarations on intra-EU trade (Intrastat system)
- VAT declarations pertaining to the Åland tax border (ALA system), only via direct message exchange
Requirements for message exchange:
- Data communication links for transmitting messages.
- Software for sending declarations to the various systems of Customs.
- Authorisation for message exchange granted by Customs.
- Testing the applications and data communication links with Customs.
- In direct message exchange, a server certificate must be obtained from the Population Register Centre for creating and transmitting messages.
- In operator-based message exchange, the business must enter into an agreement with a data communications operator.
At other times, restricted on-call service provided by Message follow-up.
Technical support, EDI support, technical message follow-up and technical customer testing, responding to technical problems related to declaration messages