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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

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 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.


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

If Customs has invalidated a private customer’s customs declaration in the Import Declaration Service for Private persons, the reason for the invalidation and what to do is shown in the customs clearance decision. You can find the decision in PDF format under ‘My declarations.’

Examples of reasons for invalidation

You have declared the new product sent by the online shop as a replacement item, but you have not returned the faulty product outside the EU. Read about how to declare a new product received as replacement for a faulty item.

You have declared removal goods as goods left behind abroad. Read about how to declare removal goods.

You lodged the customs declaration in advance, but the package has not arrived within 30 days of declaring. Lodge a replacement declaration when the package has arrived in the country and the transport company has sent you a customs clearance request.


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” and if necessary, you can find it under “My declarations” in the service.

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.


A subscription newspaper or magazine arriving from outside the EU

You must declare each newspaper or magazine individually to Customs and pay the VAT due for it. Even if you have subscribed for the newspaper or magazine for a longer period, each newspaper or magazine issue included in the subscription must be declared separately.

In the service, select that you wish to declare “goods I’ve purchased”.

If your newspaper or magazine subscription started before 1 July 2021, you will only have to pay VAT for the newspapers or magazines that arrive after that date. You can calculate the value of a single newspaper or magazine issue by dividing the total price of the subscription with the number of issues included in it.

  • Example: The subscription period is 12 months, that is, 1 January–31 December 2022. The magazine is delivered once a month. The price of the subscription period is USD 80. Divide the price of the subscription period, USD 80, with the number of magazine issues. The price of an individual magazine issue is USD 6.67 (80 : 12 = 6.67).

On the page “Consignment details”, under “Value of the consignment without transport costs”, enter the price and currency of a single magazine issue.

On the page “Goods details”, enter “magazine” in the search field and select “magazines and comics”. Under “Price and currency”, enter the price and currency of the individual magazine issue.

Fill in the missing details and submit the declaration. You can pay the VAT straight away.

If an undeclared newspaper or magazine is delivered to you, be sure to submit the declaration afterwards.

A free membership magazine sent by an association or an organisation

You can declare the consignment yourself in the Import Declaration Service for private persons. On the start page, select the option of declaring “goods I’ve purchased”. On the “Consignment details” page, enter the value of the parcel. Usually the value of a membership magazine is very low. However, the declared value cannot be 0 euros. The lowest possible declared value is 0.01 €. If you do not know the value, you should ask the sender.

Enter any possible transport costs under “transport costs”.

On the “Goods details” page, find and select “Magazines and comics” and enter the value of the goods to be declared. Add the goods to the declaration basket, and enter any other required details.

If your consignment is transported by Posti and you paid tax for the customs clearance, remember to also pay the Posti handling fee so that Posti can deliver your parcel. This does not concern customers of Åland Post.


Have you received a customs clearance request concerning a letter, a card or a parcel containing for example a certificate, passport or some other document? Very often, such items are not commercially valuable. However, you are required to declare such a parcel, as a value was determined for it upon dispatch.

You can declare the consignment yourself in the Import Declaration Service for private persons. On the start page, select the option of declaring “goods I’ve purchased”. On the “Consignment details” page, enter the value of the parcel. Usually the value of a document is very low. However, the declared value cannot be 0 euros. The lowest possible declared value is 0.01 €. If you do not know the value, you should ask the sender.

Enter any possible transport costs under “transport costs”.

On the “Goods details” page, find and select “Printed products ” and enter the value of the goods to be declared. Add the goods to the declaration basket, and enter any other required details.

If your consignment is transported by Posti and you paid tax for the customs clearance, remember to also pay the Posti handling fee so that Posti can deliver your parcel. This does not concern customers of Åland Post.


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 “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