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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

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 “purchased goods”.

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 2023. 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 “purchased goods”. 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.


If you have declared the gift consignment in the Import Declaration Service for private persons and you receive a request for additional information from Customs, this is what you should do:

  • Log in again to the Import Declaration Service for private persons. You can find the declaration and the request for additional information on the page ”My declarations”.
  • Follow the instructions in the request. For more specific instructions, see the message sent by the customs clearance team. You will usually be asked to upload and send the order confirmation or some other document. You can also send the documents by email to the email address provided in the service.
  • Regarding gift consignments, you usually need to know what the gift contains and what the value of the contents is. Ask the sender (consignor) of the gift to provide this information in writing, for example by email or text message, and send the information to Customs.

Customs cannot process your declaration without the additional information.

The transport company returns the consignment after the retention period

Responding to a request for additional information has no effect on how long a transport company will store you consignment in Finland. If you reply to Customs’ request for additional information after the given time limit, please contact the transport company to check that is has not returned the consignment to the sender.

Please contact the transport company if you want to extend the retention period for the consignment. Customs cannot extend the retention period for consignments.


If you have declared the consignment in the Import Declaration Service for private persons and Customs sends you a request to correct it, it means that there are errors or details missing from your declaration. Proceed in the following way:

  • Log in again to the Import Declaration Service for private persons
  • You can find the declaration and the request to correct it on the page “My declarations”.
  • Make the changes or additions to the details as requested in the Import Declaration Service. You will usually be asked to correct the price of the goods, the sum of the transport costs or to delete an unnecessary request for preferential tariff treatment.
  • Send the corrected declaration to Customs.

Customs cannot process your declaration without the corrected details.  

If you are unable to correct the declaration using the service

If you are unable to correct the declaration using the Import Declaration Service for private persons, it is possible that the time limit that was assigned by Customs for making a correction expired. Contact the Customs Information Service in order to extend the time limit.

The transport company returns the parcel after the retention period has ended

Even if the time limit for the clearance were extended, the transport company will return your consignment to the sender after the announced retention period. If you correct your declaration after the time limit given by Customs, please contact the transport company first to check that the consignment has not been returned by the company.

Please contact the transport company if you want to extend the retention period for the consignment. Customs cannot extend the retention period for consignments.


If you have declared the consignment in the Import Declaration Service for private persons and you receive a request for additional information from Customs, this is what you should do:

  • Log in again to the Import Declaration Service for private persons
  • You can find the declaration and the request for additional information on the page “My declarations”.
  • In the Import Declaration Service, follow the instructions you received in the request. You will usually be asked to upload an order confirmation, an invoice, a payment receipt or some other document indicating the contents and value of the consignment or any other information requested by the official.
    If you cannot upload the requested documents, you can send them by email to the email address provided in the service.
  • Send the supplemented declaration to Customs.

Customs cannot process your declaration without the additional information.

The transport company returns the consignment after the retention period

Responding to a request for additional information has no effect on how long a transport company will store you consignment in Finland. If you reply to Customs’ request for additional information after the given time limit, please contact the transport company to check that is has not returned the consignment to the sender.

Please contact the transport company if you want to extend the retention period for the consignment. Customs cannot extend the retention period for consignments.


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.

 

 


Restrictions

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

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.


In Finland, filming and photography in public places is allowed. In authorities’ facilities to which the public does not have free access, filming and photography is not allowed. This means that it is allowed in a passenger terminal but not in Customs’ inspection facilities. When filming or taking photographs, do remember the privacy protection of people.


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


Travelling

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