Questions frequently asked by private persons

This is our FAQ page.

You can browse the most popular topics or write your question in the field below.


Ordering goods online

Yes. If the bicycle is sent to you undeclared from either a non-EU country or another EU country and its value exceeds 150 euros, you will have to pay general customs duty and value added tax for it as well as anti-dumping duty and possibly countervailing duty. What is decisive is the country of origin of the bicycle, not where you ordered it.

Currently, there is a provisional anti-dumping duty, imposed for six months, on electric bicycles of all Chinese manufacturers, and it may become definitive. When you declare the bicycle, you will have to pay a guarantee for the provisional anti-dumping duty. After the period of six months, it will become clear whether the anti-dumping duty becomes definitive. If the anti-dumping duty is levied, it will be offset against the guarantee paid in connection with the customs clearance. If no anti-dumping duty is levied, Customs will return the guarantee to you.  

Example of the import duties and taxes on an electric bicycle delivered from Canada: For a Chinese electric bicycle (commodity code 8711609010) which costs 400 euro and the postage of which is 35 euros, you would have to pay 26.10 euros in general customs duty + 363.70 euros in anti-dumping duty, as well as 197.90 in value added tax, that is, a total of 587.70 euros in import duties and taxes. (These figures are for reference only.)

Due to the anti-dumping duty, a private person cannot declare a Chinese electric bicycle online. You can buy the customs clearance as a service from Posti, the carrier or the forwarding company. You can also clear the goods at a customs office. Read more about the provisional anti-dumping duties on electric bicycles (in Finnish) and about customs clearance.

In the TARIC database of the EU, you can check the anti-dumping duties and guarantees for the various manufacturers on the basis of the commodity code.


If you make purchases worth no more than 22 euros at US online shops, you usually will not have to pay customs duty or taxes for them. (Exceptions to this are alcohol and perfumes, among others). If the value of the products you have ordered exceeds 22 euros, you will have to pay 24 % in value added tax for them, and if their value exceeds 150 euros, you may also have to pay general customs duty for them, the rate of which depends on the products you have purchased.

Since June 2018, certain US products imported to the EU are subject to additional customs duties of 10 % or 25 %. These products include, among others, T-shirts, jeans, men’s shoes, beauty products, motorcycles and playing cards. The additional customs duty on playing cards is 10 per cent, on all the other products 25 per cent. If the value of your purchases does not exceed 150 euros, you will not have to pay the additional customs duty either.

On the Customs website, there is a list (in Finnish) of the US products subject to additional customs duties (pdf).

You can use the Customs duty calculator to estimate how much customs duties and other import taxes you would have to pay for your purchase.


To find out whether a species is endangered, you need to know its two-part scientific name and whether the specimen was born and bred in captivity. The seller should always be able to tell you from which species the product was derived and whether an import permit is required for it. As importer, you are always responsible for the goods you bring in.

If a permit is required, you will have to apply for it in advance. In Finland, the permits are issued by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). Always check the import and export conditions in advance from the CITES permitting authority. 

Don't buy a product if you're not sure whether it is a plant, an animal or some other specimen that requires a permit. Read more about endangered species and CITES permits (Environment.fi).

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A private person is not allowed to obtain or receive by mail, as a goods shipment or by any other means from a country outside of Finland tobacco products, electronic cigarettes or nicotine-containing liquids purchased from a trader by means of distance communication. 

A means of distance communication is defined as telephones, post, televisions, information networks or other devices that can be used for the conclusion of contracts without the parties being simultaneously present.

Read more: Ordering tobacco products online

 


Customs clearance

It is always Posti or the carrier that will send you a notice of arrival or notify you of the arrival of a consignment that needs to be cleared through customs. You will need the information you have received if you clear the consignment yourself. Please contact Posti or the carrier if you have any questions about the notice of arrival.


You cannot use the Import Declaration Service if you do not have a Finnish personal identification number and an online banking ID, a certificate card or a mobile certificate.

Examples of items that cannot be cleared via the Import Declaration Service

  • removal goods
  • weapons
  • hunting trophies
  • live animals.

Read about our other service channels.


Customs does not send separate customs invoices. The customs clearance decision is also the customs invoice, which you can pay when you are clearing the consignment in the Import Declaration Service.


To submit a customs declaration, you will need, among other things, the following information:

1. A notice of arrival from the freight carrier with the following information on the consignment:

  • the date of arrival
  • the weight of the consignment (not always indicated)
  • the arrival ID of the postal consignment
  • the previous document (in freight consignments, the previous document is generally the MRN + the goods item number; not used for postal consignments).
  • the location of the goods

2. An invoice/ order confirmation from the seller
3. The product´s commodity code, which is provided in the list of choices, or if not, the telephone service can provide it for you. (Note! The commodity code is not declared if the consignment is transported from the Channel Islands, including Jersey.)

If you are missing any of the information mentioned above, you will not be able to submit a declaration.


Customs control

Section 66 of the Tobacco Act provides for time limits on passenger imports of tobacco products and nicotine fluids from non-EEA countries. Similar time limits are implemented through alcohol legislation for restricting imports of alcoholic beverages by passenger on trips of short duration.

According to the government proposal for a Tobacco Act, time limits are implemented for preventing illegal trade in tobacco products, and for preventing the entry into the Finnish market of tobacco products that are in violation of the Tobacco Products Directive.

Customs supervises and controls arriving and departing goods and passenger traffic. Customs supervises compliance with time limits concerning imports of tobacco products and nicotine liquids in connection with other customs enforcement through passenger and goods control measures aimed at different forms of traffic.

Read more: Bringing back tobacco


No, they won’t.

The radiation from Customs’ x-ray scanners has no effect on either foodstuffs or film materials.

Read more: Customs control


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

 


Travelling

To find out whether a species is endangered, you need to know its two-part scientific name and whether the specimen was born and bred in captivity. The seller should always be able to tell you from which species the product was derived and whether an import permit is required for it. As importer, you are always responsible for the goods you bring in.

If a permit is required, you will have to apply for it in advance. In Finland, the permits are issued by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). Always check the import and export conditions in advance from the CITES permitting authority. 

Don't buy a product if you're not sure whether it is a plant, an animal or some other specimen that requires a permit. Read more about endangered species and CITES permits (Environment.fi).

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A person residing in Finland who arrives in Finland from outside the European Economic Area by means other than by air and whose journey has continued for no more than 24 hours is not allowed to bring in tobacco products or nicotine-containing liquids. However, an exception to this general rule allows the person to bring in tobacco products and nicotine-containing liquids if it is apparent that they were obtained before the person left Finland. For instance, warning labels in Finnish and Swedish can be taken as an indication that the product was bought in Finland.

To bring in tobacco products or nicotine fluids you must be aged 18 or over.

Read more: Bringing back tobacco


The right to bring in personal medicines depend on whether you are bringing the medicines from another EU country or from outside the EU. There are separate regulations on bringing in medicines classified as narcotics.

Read more: Medicines


If retail packages of tobacco products do not bear the required health warning images in Finnish and Swedish, you are not allowed to bring more than 200 cigarettes to Finland even by paying taxes.

Read more: Bringing back tobacco


Åland

You are allowed to bring in two litres of beer free of tax from or to the Åland Islands. Otherwise, the same quantity limitations that apply to imports from outside the EU also apply to imports from Åland, as well as from the Canary Islands.

Read more: Bringing back alcohol

 


There are no quantitative restrictions on alcohol released for consumption (i.e. taxes have been paid).

Tax-free import allowances on alcohol bought from a tax-free shop are 1 litre of strong alcoholic beverages (over 22%) or 2 litres of other alcoholic beverages (max 22 %), 4 litres of still wine and 2 litres of beer.

Read more: Bringing alcohol from your trip


Moving to/from Finland

You may, if your permanent residence has been outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU for a continuous period of at least 12 months before moving to Finland, and the other conditions for exemption from customs duties and value added tax are met.


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


If you are moving from outside the EU to Finland, your permanent residence will have to have been outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU for a continuous period of at least 12 months, then you can be granted exemption from customs duties and value added tax if the other conditions are met.

If you are moving from outside the EU to another EU country, you will have to clear your removal goods through customs in that country. Then, if you move from that EU country to Finland, your move takes place within the EU and your removal goods will not have to be cleared in Finland.

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


Gift consignments

If you receive a gift you have to ask the sender to clarify what the gift is and how much it is worth, so that Customs can define whether it is a gift that can be released without customs clearance.

Gifts worth more than 45 euros are to be cleared through Customs, and import taxes are levied on them as for any other online purchase. 

Read more: Clearing gifts through Customs

Go to the Import Declaration Service


Gifts sent from outside the EU from a private individual to another that are worth up to 45 euros, and meant for the personal use of the consignee or their family members, are usually duty free and tax exempt, given that the nature and quantity of the goods does not imply commercial intent. Exceptions to the exemption from duty/tax: gift consignments containing alcohol products and tobacco products, perfumes, eau de toilette products, coffee or tea.

Value added tax and excise duty are always collected when the gift consignment arrives from outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU and contains cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, pipe tobacco and cigarette tobacco, alcohol or alcoholic beverages. Detailed information: Receiving gifts


Goods that arrive from outside of the customs and fiscal territory of the EU, or from the EU’s customs territory but from outside of its fiscal territory, are usually to be cleared through Customs. As a consignee, you always have to clear any gift worth over 45 euros, since it is subject to tax. Read more about other gift consignments that need to be cleared through Customs. Even if the consignment is a gift, you must provide a receipt, invoice or other credible proof for the customs clearance, so that the value of the gift can be confirmed. 

Read more about clearing gifts through Customs.


You can find guidance on sending parcels abroad on Posti’s website. Furthermore, Posti’s website also has information on prohibited consignments and country-specific prohibitions and restrictions.

Please note that many export restrictions also apply to gift consignments. Restricted goods include drugs that are classified as narcotics, goods made from endangered plants and animals, firearms and firearm supplies and cultural goods. The sender is responsible for finding out what the current export restrictions are, as well as the import restrictions of the country of destination. You can get more information about such restrictions e.g. from the embassy of the destination country or from its authorities. Finnish Customs does not provide information about the import restrictions of other countries. Read more about sending postal parcels on www.posti.fi.


Restrictions

You may bring less than 10 kg of forest mushrooms and berries for personal use without sampling or measurement of radiation level.


Some snakes are restricted by CITES, thus liquor containing snakes cannot be brought in without the appropriate CITES permits.                    

More information from Finland’s environmental administration


It is prohibited to acquire and receive oral tobacco (snus), chewing tobacco and nasal snus from outside Finland by mail or in any other corresponding way.

Read more: Ordering tobacco products online


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.

 


Import Declaration Service

It is always Posti or the carrier that will send you a notice of arrival or notify you of the arrival of a consignment that needs to be cleared through customs. You will need the information you have received if you clear the consignment yourself. Please contact Posti or the carrier if you have any questions about the notice of arrival.


You cannot use the Import Declaration Service if you do not have a Finnish personal identification number and an online banking ID, a certificate card or a mobile certificate.

Examples of items that cannot be cleared via the Import Declaration Service

  • removal goods
  • weapons
  • hunting trophies
  • live animals.

Read about our other service channels.


Customs does not send separate customs invoices. The customs clearance decision is also the customs invoice, which you can pay when you are clearing the consignment in the Import Declaration Service.


                            

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Customs Information Service, Private customers
Monday to Friday 8 am–4 pm

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In car tax matters, kindly contact the Tax Administration (vero.fi)

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