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Questions frequently asked by private persons

This is our FAQ page. You can browse the questions or write the subject of your question in the field below, for example ‘nicotine’.

Ordering goods online

In the notice of arrival sent by the transport company and in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, the indicated country of dispatch may be an EU country, even though the consignment was originally dispatched from outside the EU. This can happen if the goods have been intermediately stored as undeclared in the EU, for example.  Enter the actual country of dispatch in the Import Declaration Service, and then you can clear the goods. This does not concern e.g. consignments sent from the Canary Islands or delivered to the Åland Islands.

You may need to check with the seller from which non-EU country the consignment was sent. You can get more information in advance about customs declaration upon import from the seller or, for example, from the terms of delivery of the online store you are using.

Invalid request for customs clearance of a parcel from an EU country

Check that 

  • the country of origin of the goods is an EU country or
  • it was sent from another EU country where it was already cleared.

If you receive an invalid request for customs clearance from Posti for such an item, request an exemption for your parcel on the webpage of Posti. Attach a verification (such as the invoice, order confirmation or receipt), which shows that the country of dispatch is an EU country. If the country of dispatch is not indicated in the receipt, you should contact the seller of the goods for a T2L document or some other additional documentation that indicates the country of dispatch.

Paying VAT in Finland depends, among other things, on whether or not the online store has an IOSS number.

  • If the seller has an IOSS number, you will pay the Finnish VAT when you purchase the goods. The postal company or the transport company, will usually declare the consignment on your behalf, and no VAT has to be paid in conjunction with the declaration. (However, this does not apply to products that are subject to excise duty, such as alcohol products. For these products, the import taxes are always paid in conjunction with the declaration.)
  • If the seller doesn’t have an IOSS number, you will usually have to pay the VAT again upon importation to Finland. You will still have to pay the import duties to Finland even though you have already paid the VAT of the selling country to the seller.
  • Some online stores have included the VAT to be paid to Finland to the price of the goods, even though they don’t have an IOSS number. The invoice from the online store may e.g. have the abbreviation ‘DDP’ or the text ‘Delivered duty paid’ written on it. Ask the seller if your order has been delivered by a transport company that does the declaration in Finland on your part and pays the Finnish VAT.

Read more on the IOSS number.

If you don’t wish to receive the postal consignment, you should not clear it. If the postal consignment is not cleared within 20 days, the consignment will be returned to the sender. In the case of ordered goods, inform the seller that you have cancelled your purchase.

Foreign item tracking services often notify “Lähetys on Tullissa” (the consingment is in the Customs) or “Held by Customs”. The consignments, however, are not located in any Customs facility, but they are located in a warehouse of Posti or another transport company. If the consignment has to be declared, Posti or some other transport company in Finland will send you a notification saying that you need to declare the consignmentv.

Posti or the transport company

  • knows where your parcel is
  • sends the notices of arrival
  • stores parcels to be cleared
  • transports the parcels after clearance
  • returns parcels.

Import Declaration for private persons

You can declare the consignment in advance in the Import Declaration Service for private persons if you receive the notification “Your consignment is on its way to Finland” in the service.  However, you cannot pay for the clearance in advance if there is a payment to be made in conjunction with the customs clearance.

When you have successfully sent the declaration to Customs, it will have the status “Declaration received”.

After your consignment has arrived in Finland, the processing of your declaration will continue and Customs will send you instructions by email. Follow the instructions.

Please note: A customs declaration submitted in advance cannot be corrected after it has been sent to Customs.

If your consignment does not arrive in Finland within 30 days after you declared it, the declaration will automatically be invalidated. If this happens, please submit a new declaration when the consignment has arrived.

If you cannot submit an advance declaration in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, the reason may be that the transport company is still processing the consignment. In this case, wait for the consignment to arrive in Finland and for a declaration request by the transport company.

When you’ve ordered goods from Ukraine, you should declare the consignment in the Import Declaration Service for private persons as follows:

  • On page 2, “Consignment details”, you are asked “Does the consignment contain goods subject to restrictions or excise duty?”. Choose ‘Yes’.
  • On page 3, “Goods details”, select the tab “Commodity code”. You must provide the commodity code of the goods; that is, you cannot use the goods search. You can ask about the commodity code using the chat provided in the service or by calling the Customs Information Service, or you can find the commodity code yourself in the commodity code service Fintaric.
  • Continue filling in the declaration as normal and answer the other questions about your consignment.

It may happen that you receive a defective item that you do not have to send back to the seller. If the seller sends you a new item or a new component of the item free of charge, please note that the new item or component must be declared.

If you declare the new item or component in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, select that you wish to declare “purchased goods” on the start page. When declaring the value of the new item or component, enter the normal price of the item or component.

After that, you can apply for a correction, i.e. revision of the customs clearance decision, so that you can get a refund of the import taxes that you have paid for the defective item. To complete your application for revision you need the MRN of the original declaration and the MRN of the declaration of the new item.  

Please note that you cannot apply for a revision of the customs clearance decision if you received the original item from EU territory, but the new item or component arrives from outside the EU. The new item or component must be declared and when declaring its value, the normal price of the item or the component must be entered.

Please note that in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, select “goods replaced for free under warranty” only if you sent the defective item back to the seller.  

You can ask another person to declare on your behalf

You can authorise another person to declare your parcel in the Import Declaration Service for private persons or in the Customs Clearance Service and to pay the import duties on your behalf. The authorisation may be given either verbally or in writing. The other person identifies him or herself in the service and declares your parcel and your details on your behalf. The service guides the user on how to fill in the details.

Posti will deliver your parcel to the address provided on the consignment or to a pickup point. The person who submits the declaration is only liable for the customs debt and for the details provided in cases where they are aware or should have been aware of the incorrectness of information provided in the customs declaration. You are responsible for both the customs debt and any post-clearance duties (direct representation).

You can declare goods using a form

You can also send the declaration details on a form by email or post to Customs as described.

Send the scanned customs declaration form primarily to the email address provided on the form.  Attach at least the arrival notice and a document indicating the value and content of the consignment (e.g. the order confirmation). Use the secure email service to send the declaration: Guidance on the use of secure email service. It is advisable to use email to speed up the processing of the declaration, because Posti will return undeclared consignments to the sender after 20 days from their arrival in Finland.

  • Alternatively, you can send the documents to the following address: Airport Customs/Declaring with a form, PO Box 512, 00101 Helsinki.
  • Before sending the documents, check carefully that you have completed all mandatory sections of the form and that you have attached all the required documents. If the required details have not been provided, the declaration cannot be processed.
  • If you cannot send the documents electronically yourself, you can ask a customs officer at a customs office with customer service to send them on your behalf.
  • Customs processes the declarations during office hours. You will usually receive a reply no later than on the following working day. Please note: the reply can also be a request for additional information, so follow the instructions in the request.

Pay the customs invoice before the storage time of the parcel comes to an end

The customs invoice must be paid and the payment must be sent to Customs before the storage time of the parcel announced by Posti or some other transport company comes to an end. Customs cannot extend the storage time for consignments.

Please note that the due date of the customs invoice can be after the end of the storage time. Please move the due date before paying the invoice so the declaration is completed within the time limit specified by the transport company and the transport company won’t have to return your parcel. Please note that, depending on the method of payment, it can take two to three banking days for the payment to be registered on Customs’ bank account.

Gift consignments

A gift sent from outside the EU can only be tax free if you receive it free of charge from another private individual. Goods sent by a company must be declared and import duties and taxes must be paid for them, even though you have not bought the goods. The same is also true for, for example, gifts for magazine subscribers or free magazine samples.

When you declare the goods in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, select that you wish to declare “purchased goods” on the start page. Enter as the goods value the price that would be charged for a similar product, for example, in an online store. You can also ask the sender (consignor) to provide information on the value of the goods.

If you cannot declare the gift in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, you can ask another person to declare it on your behalf. Such a person may be e.g. a family member, friend, colleague or fellow student. The person must be able to identify himself by using his personal data when logging in to the electronic service.

The other person may declare a gift on behalf of the gift recipient in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, provided that he has

  • Finnish online banking ID codes, a mobile certificate or a certificate card (one of these is needed for identification)
  • an arrival notification for the parcel and information given on it
  • information on the contents and value of the gift
  • name and address details of the gift recipient
  • the personal ID number or date of birth of the gift recipient.

If the gift recipient does not possess a Finnish personal ID number, enter the date of birth of the gift recipient.

Customs can also separately request written information on the contents and value of the gift. You should pass this written information on to the person who declares the gift on your behalf.

Please note:! Declarants of gift parcels cannot use the Finnish Authenticator app to identify themselves when logging in to the Import Declaration Service.

Who is responsible?

You are personally responsible for paying the customs duties and taxes, as well as for paying other payments retrospectively in cases of possible errors. If another person clears goods on your behalf, they are liable for it if they were aware or they should have been aware that the information provided in the declaration was incorrect. This is called direct representation.

Even if the consignment is declared by somebody else, it may be delivered to you directly. Posti delivers the postal consignment to the recipient stated on the consignment or to a pick-up point. Other transport companies deliver the consignments to the recipient as agreed.

If you don’t know what gifts the consignment contains or what their value is, contact the sender to find out. You cannot declare the consignment without these details.

If needed, ask the sender about the contents and value of the gift, e.g. “book, USD 20”. If  the gift is self-made, ask the sender to give an estimate of its value, e.g. “hand-knitted socks, USD 10”.  The value can be the price for which the gift would be sold in the country of dispatch.

Declare the gift consignment in the Import Declaration Service for private persons. Choose that you wish to declare a gift sent by a private person.

For the declaration, you’ll need to know the content and value of the gift, and you’ll need the notice of arrival.

However, if the gift is exempt from customs duty and tax, you do not need to pay any import duties or taxes.

Read more: Clearing gifts through Customs.




Yes, you can. Nicotine pouches are no longer classified as medicinal products as of 4 April 2023. Read more about it in our notice: Nicotine pouches are no longer classified as medicinal products (4 April 2023).

However, please note that according to Fimea guidelines, the change will not affect nicotine pouches that are used in the oral cavity and are meant for consumption as medicinal products and are granted a marketing authorisation as medicinal products. These nicotine preparations are marketed as e.g. products for weaning off tobacco or for treating withdrawal symptoms.

No you cannot. Nicotine liquid which has a nicotine concentration of no more than 20 milligrams per millilitre and which is not to be used for a purpose defined in section 3(1) of the Medicines Act (395/1987) is subject to the Tobacco Act. A private person is not allowed to obtain or receive by mail, as a goods shipment or by any other means from outside Finland tobacco products, electronic cigarettes or nicotine-containing liquids purchased from a trader by means of distance communication.

A private person is not allowed to import, obtain or receive by mail or by comparable means from outside Finland a nicotine-containing liquid intended for vaporisation using an electronic cigarette when the liquid contains more than 20 milligrams of nicotine per millilitre or when it is to be used for a purpose defined in section 3(1) of the Medicines Act.



You cannot order medicines and medicinal products from outside the EEA. Medicines corresponding to three month’s use.

No. A private person is not allowed to obtain or receive by mail, as a goods shipment or by any other means from outside Finland tobacco products, electronic cigarettes or nicotine liquids ordered from a trader by means of distance communication.

Read more: Ordering tobacco products online



Customs control

Customs controls alcohol brought in by travellers from within the EU and can inspect such alcohol. Even when you can take the alcohol products with you after the inspection, the inspection may lead to tax consideration. As of 1 January 2017, the tax consideration will be performed by the Tax Administration. When necessary, the Tax Administration may contact you, and you have the responsibility to account for the purpose of use of the alcohol products even after the import.

According to section 103 of the Act on Excise Duty, Customs has the right to detain excise products if there is any ambiguity about for example the liability to pay taxes, taxability, application of excise regulations or the purpose of import, or if there is some other justified reason for detaining the goods.

Excise duty is levied on products imported for some other purpose than a private person’s personal use. As of 1 January 2017, the Tax Administration is responsible for the taxation. If Customs has detained excise products you have brought in, wait for the Tax Administration to contact you.


No. Before the vehicle is scanned, the driver assures Customs in writing that there is no one in the vehicle. Nevertheless, the radiation dose received during a scan is so small as not to pose any danger to humans. A normal medical x-ray examination gives a higher radiation dose to a patient.

Customs does not under any circumstances scan people. Customs can order a person to undergo a bodily search that is performed in the form of an x-ray examination. The x-ray examination of a person is a medical procedure and is always undertaken under the supervision of a doctor.

Read more: Customs control


To carry out a customs inspection of a person does not require any evidence or suspicion of any offence. The selection is based on a risk assessment or other observation made by Customs.

According to a decision by the Parliamentary Ombudsman, stopping a person and discussing with him or her does not yet constitute a customs inspection.

Read more: Customs control


The law uses the term “reasonably prove”. In Customs' instructions the terms used are “explanation” or “account”. 

In practice, when the passenger arrives in the country with their alcohol, they do not have to do anything, unless the customs officer specifically asks.

But if, at the time of entry into the country, the customs officer asks what the alcohol that exceeds the guideline limits will be used for, then a free-form oral explanation or report is usually enough. The customs officer may ask more specific questions in response to the passenger’s explanation or report. The quantity and quality of the products may be checked as well as the passenger’s ID and their contact information. No written material will have to be presented or written up, but that does not prevent the passenger from presenting such material. In most cases, the discussion with the customs officer and verification of the quantity brought into the country is sufficient.

In some instances, the passenger might be required to present additional information in written form; adhering to the instructions in the request for additional information.

Moving to or from Finland

You can bring in your removal goods to Finland free from customs duty and value added tax within 12 months after your move.

Read more: Moving to Finland from outside the EU customs and tax territory


Most countries have their own import restrictions. The traveller is responsible for finding out the import restrictions of the country of destination. You can get more information about the restrictions e.g. from the country’s embassy or authorities.

Finnish Customs cannot provide information about the provisions concerning goods or gifts taken out of Finland. At Finnish Customs, we only know the Finnish customs provisions.

If the unit packets of tobacco products do not bear the required health warnings – text warnings in Finnish and Swedish and the picture warnings – you are not allowed to bring in more than 200 cigarettes to Finland even if you pay the taxes.

Read more: Bringing back tobacco products from travels 

On the Finnish Tax Administrations website, there is an excise duty table for alcohol and alcoholic beverages (in Finnish and Swedish), where you can check the current excise duty on alcohol according to product group. Furthermore, customs duty and VAT (24%) will be levied for the products based on the commodity code.


Any questions?

Contact Customs Information Mon–Fri 8 am–4.15 pm

Please have a look at the frequently asked questions.

If you have a question about the arrival of parcels, its contents or the handling fee, please contact Posti.

Customs Information Service