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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

If you receive goods produced in Germany or goods cleared in Germany, then you do not have to pay any import taxes to Finnish Customs.

Bear in mind that the goods you ordered from Germany may be shipped by the seller from an area outside the EU, or from the EU as uncleared goods. If that is the case, the goods must usually be declared to Customs and the duties and taxes paid. The transport company will inform you when you need to declare a consignment.

If you order alcoholic beverages, please read the related instructions on our website.


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.


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 restrictions, nor to products 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.


Previously, customers usually didn’t have to declare online purchases worth no more than 22 euros. However, the legislation has changed. From 1 July 2021, all online purchases arriving from outside the EU must be declared and VAT must be paid for them.


Import Declaration for private persons

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 those who live in 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 origin or country of dispatch is an EU country.


The MRN is a reference number assigned by Customs for different customs declarations. Private customers usually need MRN numbers of import or export declarations as well as of transport or warehousing.

MRN of an import declaration

When you declare goods, i.e. you submit an import declaration yourself in the Import Declaration Service for private persons or in the Customs Clearance Service, a declaration reference number is generated, i.e. an MRN. You can find the MRN in the service and in the top right-hand corner of a customs clearance decision or in the decision on release. The beginning of the MRN always states the year when the customs clearance was completed, i.e. ‘22FIU000…’. 

You will need an MRN if, for example, you have made a mistake in your declaration or if you return the goods to a non-EU country and because of this are applying for correction or amendment.

Read more: From where do I get the MRN of my import declaration.

MRN of an export declaration

You will need the MRN of the export declaration for the import declaration, when you have sent the goods, for example, for maintenance or replacement outside the EU and they return to Finland. An export declaration is required before goods that need maintenance or replacement are sent from Finland to a non-EU country and an import declaration is required when they are brought back to Finland.

Transport or warehousing MRN, warehouse ID

When you submit an import declaration yourself in the Import Declaration Service for private persons or in the Customs Clearance Service, you usually don’t need a transport or warehousing MRN number.  When you enter on the start page of the service the arrival ID, tracking ID or the number of the transport document that you have received from the transport company, the MRN is automatically forwarded to the declaration.

When necessary, you can get the transport or warehousing MRN number as well as the warehouse ID from the company transporting your consignment. 


If you don’t know the contents of the consingment, ask the sender.

If for example you have ordered multiple items, the arrival notification from Posti does not necessarily indicate which consignment has arrived. It is also possible that the tracking code of the consignment has changed, and therefore you cannot know what the specific consignment is.

For declaring your consignment, you will need an item tracking ID which can also be the original ID. You will also need to find out what consignment is in question, that is, the contents of the consignment and their value.

Check the order history in your online shop. Very often, the order history shows the price details and item tracking ID for each consignment.

Posti may issue a new tracking ID for the consignment. You can search for information on the consignment with both tracking IDs in the Posti item tracking service. You can also use other tracking services for finding out the location of your consignment and any possible changes in the tracking ID. For example, the weight details and the date of order can be useful in finding out the contents.

If the consignment is a gift, you should ask the sender to provide information on the contents and value.

Customs is not able to find out the contents of consignments. Customs does not store or transport consignments. Instead, consignments are kept in the storage facilities of transport companies.


Depending on the method of payment, it can take 2–3 banking days for the payment to be registered in Customs’ bank account. Our customers have experienced delays for example when they have paid for their customs clearances with the MobilePay app

When the payment has been registered, the customs clearance is complete and its status changes. When your customs clearance is complete, Customs will automatically notify most transport companies that the consignment can be delivered to you.

Please note Posti’s handling fee. Please visit the Posti website and check.


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.

When you declare the goods in the Import Declaration Service for private persons, select that you wish to declare “goods I’ve purchased” 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.

 

 


Restrictions

You can bring in urea-containing additives used in modern diesel engines (e.g. AdBlue) to Finland.

If you are a private individual and you bring in the additive yourself from outside the EU, e.g. from Russia, please remember the value limits for imports by travellers and other conditions for traveller imports.


Mosquito repellents, e.g. mosquito repellent mats, can only be imported to Finland by registered operators. Mosquito repellent refers to a biocidal substance that repels mosquitos. When you obtain repellents, they need to be authorised by the Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes). In other words, there needs to be an authorisation number by Tukes on the packaging of the repellent. 

Private persons can bring in mosquito repellent devices as passenger imports or order them online, as long as mosquito repellent mats without an authorisation number by Tukes are not included.

Learn more about mosquito repellents on the Safety and Chemicals Agency website


No. It is prohibited to acquire and receive oral tobacco (snus), chewing tobacco and nasal tobacco 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.

 


Customs control

Customs supervises and controls arriving and departing goods and travellers. Customs supervises the compliance with time limits concerning imports of tobacco products and nicotine liquids in connection with other customs enforcement through control measures aimed the flows of vehicles and travellers in different traffic types.

Section 66 of the Tobacco Act provides for the time limits on imports of tobacco products and nicotine liquids by travellers from non-EEA countries. The time limits are implemented to prevent illegal trade in tobacco products, and to prevent the entry into the Finnish market of tobacco products that are in violation of the Tobacco Products Directive.

Read more: Bringing back tobacco products from travels 

 


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

 


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

 


Moving to or from Finland

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


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


Travelling

Before you go:

  • Contact the Police and make sure that you have the required licences for transporting firearms and cartridges. Private individuals are required to have a private transfer permit issued in Finland for taking firearms or cartridges from Finland to Estonia. Alternatively, the holder of a European firearms pass may transfer, from Finland to Estonia, a firearm marked in a firearms pass, as well as the necessary quantity of ammunition to be used with the firearm and applicable to hunting. A person transferring a firearm and ammunition must also have a written invitation to participate in a hunting event.
  • You should contact the authorities or embassy of your country of destination and find out the procedures involving licences and declarations.
  • If you have the required licences, you do not need to lodge a declaration with Finnish Customs on transporting personal firearms or cartridges. However, if Customs asks you to present your firearm, cartridges and licence, you must do so.
  • If you are travelling with a hunting dog, you must contact the Finnish Food Safety Authority to make sure that your dog has the required documents and valid vaccinations. You should also find out the requirements posed by the Estonian authorities for taking your dog to Estonia.

 

When you return to Finland:  

  • If you have the required licences, you do not need to lodge a declaration with Finnish Customs on transporting personal firearms or cartridges. However, if Customs asks you to present your firearm, cartridges and licence, you must do so.
  • You do not need to present your dog or any documents concerning your dog to Customs.
  • More information for passengers is available on the Customs website.

Help prevent the spread of African swine fever in Finland

Please note that, as per the Finnish Food Authority's recommendation, travelling to regions such as Estonia where African swine fever is prevalent is not advised. Information on African swine fever for hunters - Finnish Food Authority (in Finnish)

Make sure also to clean and disinfect your equipment, as it may be contaminated by the African swine fever virus. If you are travelling with a hunting dog, you should also clean the dog’s fur and any related equipment. Specific instructions are available on the Finnish Food Authority's website.

Read more about importing hunting trophies (in Finnish) and importing fresh meat on the Finnish Food Authority's website.

 

 


In matters concerning border crossing by private persons, instructions are provided by the Finnish Border Guard. Follow the instructions on the website raja.fi.


If you live in Finland and you arrive in Finland from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) other than by air and your journey has lasted no more than 24 hours, you are not allowed to bring in tobacco products or nicotine liquids.

Exception: You are allowed to bring in tobacco products and nicotine liquids if it is apparent that you obtained them before you left Finland. For instance, text warnings in Finnish and Swedish can be taken as an indication that the product was bought in Finland.

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

Read more: Bringing back tobacco products from travels 


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 



                            

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