Travelling

No, you’re not. Travellers must carry their own medicines in their own luggage. Medicinal products dispensed on prescription are always personal and must be in the possession of the person to whom they have been prescribed.


The regulations are not the same, since they are based on different legislations. The legislation on alcohol import from the EU territory is prescribed in the EU excise duty directive and the national laws based on it. Alcohol import from outside the EU is prescribed in EUs regulation on reliefs from customs duty and in national laws based on it.

A passenger arriving to the Åland Islands, from or via Åland, or from the Canary Islands to Finland can import goods of the same quantity and value as a passenger arriving from outside the EU. However, a maximum of two litres of beer is allowed to be sold to a person travelling from the Åland Islands to mainland Finland, or from mainland Finland to the Åland Islands.


Check them from the customs administration of the country you are planning to visit. At Finnish Customs, we only know the Finnish customs provisions.


The use and possession of radar detectors in motor vehicles is prohibited in Finland. An unconnected radar detector in the car is considered possession. If you are guilty of this offence, the radar detector is seized and you will be fined. The seized radar detector will not be returned; it will be destroyed under Customs supervision.


You must first check the CITES restrictions on clams. For more information, go to the website of the Finnish Environment Institute.

For personal use you can bring in, without veterinary border control, no more than 20 kg of dead clams intended to be eaten. You can also bring in stones, but corals are subject to CITES restrictions.

Please note that it’s your responsibility to find out what restrictions and provisions apply in your country of destination. Finnish Customs cannot give advice on restrictions that apply in other countries.


A phytosanitary certificate is required for cones of the species pinus spp. and pseudostuga spp. brought in from outside the EU, if they are brought in for propagation. Other cones don’t require a phytosanitary certificate as long as they’re brought in for private use.


The import from outside the EU to Finland of products made from seals is restricted, and the importer must have a certificate issued by the authority of the state of origin. Products made from seals that are intended for the traveller’s personal use do not require a certificate of origin, but they do have to fulfil the criteria in Customs’ restriction manual.

In addition to the general restrictions, the import of some seal products is prohibited altogether. The importation of raw hides, treated skins and products made out of white seal pups of Greenland and hooded seal pups is prohibited, also from another EU country.

Read more


Customs supervises the import of plant-based foodstuffs, but spices brought in by private persons for personal use or as gifts are not subject to supervision. There are, however, risks related to spices, as they may contain e.g. mould toxins or salmonella. Certain spices have been under intensified EU-level supervision particularly because they have given rise to health concerns. Poor quality can only be detected in laboratory tests.

Read more: Foodstuffs


Yes, if you are travelling between Finland and a country outside the EU or between Finland and the Åland Islands.
 


A medicinal product always has a retail package and an enclosed patient information leaflet and possibly also a blister pack. You shall take them with you when you travel, because of easier supervision and identification of the product.


Private persons are not allowed to bring fireworks to Finland from outside the EEA. The import of fireworks requires a licence, and the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) does not grant licences to private persons. More information


You can order or bring in a knife or a sword. According to the Public Order Act, the import of knifes and swords is not prohibited, but the possession of knifes and swords in a public place is subject to restrictions.

Read more:


Yes, you can. However, you yourself have to request your doctor to issue to you a ‘Medical prescription for purchasing medication abroad’ accepted elsewhere in Europe. The medicinal product must also have a sales permit in the country where you are going to buy it.

As a traveller, you may bring medicinal products with you from the EEA in a quantity corresponding to no more than one year’s use. By mail you can only acquire medicinal products from the EEA in a quantity corresponding to no more than three months’ use.

For more information go to the website of the the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health European medical prescription (in Finnish) or to Choosehealthcare.fi.


You don’t need to notify Finnish Customs if you travel with a pet. When travelling with an animal, the legislation of the country of destination is applied. The traveller is responsible for finding out about the provisions effective in that country before travelling. You can get information about these provisions e.g. from the country’s embassy or veterinary authorities. For more information about the export and import provisions concerning pets, go to Finnish Food Authority's website.


Check the Visa requirement and travel documents accepted by Finland on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

The Finnish Border Guard is responsible for the border controls of people at the border crossing points.

Read Frequently asked questions about travel on the Finnish Border Guard’s website.

Contact the Border Guard if necessary.


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

 


In Finland, prescriptions are accepted in Finnish or Swedish. If you have a prescription in some other language for medicines you have brought with you from your trip, it is your responsibility to explain the contents of the prescription to Customs, if needed.

If you know that you will be travelling abroad, request your prescription in English while still in Finland. You should also request your prescription in English if you are taken ill while travelling abroad and get a prescription to treat your illness.

If you are going on a trip to another EU or EEA country or to Switzerland and you know that you will buy medicines there, the prescribing professional can issue a prescription called a ‘Medical prescription for purchasing medication abroad’. You should also request such a prescription from the doctor if you are taken ill in one of these countries and need a prescription to treat your illness there. The prescription is in English. Contact your doctor for more detailed information.

More information:

 


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 Evira’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 Evira website.

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

 

 


For passenger imported alcohol to be seen as non-commercial import for personal use as a tax-free gift, it must fulfil certain gift criteria. The gift must always be gratuitous and random. If the importer of the alcohol receives either direct or indirect remuneration of any kind, it is not a question of a gift, rather the delivery of the alcohol is commercial.

The concept of a gift is also its element of surprise, thus delivering alcohol regularly, even if it is gratuitous, cannot be considered a gift. The gift cannot be especially chosen by the recipient, nor can it be given for representation purposes or as advertising. A gift can only be given to a private person.

The gift does not have to be given in connection with a special day. Giving the gift can be based on some kind of personal relationship between the giver and recipient.

A gift does not mean exactly the same thing as gratuitous delivery. Therefore, in situations where a passenger brings in a large quantity of alcohol and delivers all or a large portion of the alcohol to an unspecified group of private persons (e.g. work colleagues, members of an association, neighbours) to be used freely, the gratuitous delivery of the alcohol does not fill the criteria of a gift.

Read more: Alcohol in gift consignments


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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Long drink beverages are produced both through fermentation and by mixing in ethyl alcohol. Always check the drink container, bottle or can to find out how the lonkero is produced.

Lonkero, produced through fermentation, is classified as wine with the guideline limit of 90 litres. Lonkero, produced from ethyl alcohol, is classified as other alcohol with the guideline limit of 10 litres.

The guideline limits are not import restrictions. Each guideline (beer, wine, intermediate products and other alcoholic beverages) is monitored separately. The passenger’s obligation to give an account of personal use arises when a quantity of a guideline limit is exceeded.

More information on long drinks and the production process is available on the internet.

Read more: Bringing alcohol from your trip

 


When you bring in alcohol from your trip, it has to be for your own use and imported randomly from outside the EU. Passenger import from within the EU can be seen as commercial import, i.e. subject to taxes, if it happens repeatedly. Imports in a random or a repetitive fashion, are not precisely defined in the legislation. The matter is resolved on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with the information available to the controlling authorities at the time of the import.


If you do not disembark in Mariehamn / the Åland Islands, you can bring the same amount of alcohol as from another EU member state.


Tax-free from outside the EU you can bring in 1 litre of strong alcoholic beverages (over 22%) or 2 litres of other alcoholic beverages (max 22 %), 4 litres of still wine and 16 litres of beer. If you bring in more, you will have to pay import taxes on the excess amount (customs duty + alcohol tax + VAT).

If you bring in alcohol from EU countries there are no quantitative restrictions, but observe that you might have to present the authorities with credible proof that the alcohol is for your own personal use, if you bring in more than 110 litres of beer, 90 litres of wines (no more than 60 l sparkling wine), 20 litres of intermediate products and 10 litres of ethyl alcohol.


There are no quantitative restrictions regarding the amount of alcohol that you can bring in from Finland or another member state to Åland (products for which taxes have been paid). Upon request, you might have to present the authorities with proof that the alcohol is for your own personal use.


Ask the Finnish Food Authority about the restrictions and regulations regarding the importation of pets.

Clear the pet through Customs when you enter the country. Present documents and the invoice for the pet in connection with the customs clearance. You can bring in the pet without paying duties or taxes as long as the value limit for imports by travellers is not exceeded. The value limit is 430 or 300 euros depending on which transport vehicle you use. If the value limit is exceeded, the amount of VAT payable is 24% of the purchase price plus transport costs and possible insurance costs. Read more about import duties and taxes.


You can bring in no more than 2 kg of honey.


Finnish Customs doesn't give packing instructions. For more information about packing your luggage for your flight and about prohibited goods, go to Finavia's website.

You can find more information on security controls and on the provisions that apply to packing on Trafi's website.


Each country has its own pharmaceutical legislation, so the traveller should always bring their medicine prescriptions along simply for this reason. Regarding medicines, the requirements for each country can be checked with the embassy of the country in question. When arriving in Finland you need the prescription, or a patient instructions sheet issued by your physician.

Read more: Medicines

 


You may, since the guideline limits are not import restrictions. Each guideline limit (beer, wine, intermediate products and others) is monitored separately. The fact that you do not bring in a beverage of one guideline, does not give you the right to bring in more of a beverage of another guideline limit.

The passenger’s obligation to give an account of personal use arises when a quantity of the guideline limits is exceeded.

Read more: Bringing alcohol from your trip

 


The guideline limits on alcohol are not import restrictions. A credible and provable account can be sufficient grounds for bringing in an alcohol quantity that exceeds the guideline limits.

Read more: Bringing alcohol from your trip

 


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 you are taking personal valuables in your luggage to a country outside the EU, you should fill in a luggage certificate at Customs before departure. The form is intended for private persons and it will prove to Customs that you had the items with you on departure.

If you are taking goods abroad with you for commercial purposes, e.g. for sale or temporarily for a fair or for reparation, you’ll have to submit an electronic export declaration for the goods to Customs.


For instance, in situations where Finnish Customs has cause to suspect that the alcohol is brought in for commercial purposes, in other words, for resale.


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

 


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.


Most countries have restrictions on imports of medicines. 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 destination country’s authorities. Finnish Customs doesn’t provide information about the import restrictions of other countries.

Take your prescriptions with you. If necessary, with them you can prove that you have the right to have personal medicines with you. If you have an electronic prescription (eResepti), please take one of the following with you when you travel:

  • A patient guide printed by a doctor, listing all the medicines you have been prescribed at the same time.
  • A summary printout of your prescriptions, from the pharmacy.
  • A summary of your prescriptions, which you can print from the National Archive for Health Information (Kanta) using your online banking ID codes.

More information:

  • The website of Kela (the Social Insurance Institution of Finland)
  • Medicines

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 


According to the Tobacco Act, a private person is allowed to bring from the Åland Islands into mainland Finland no more than a total of 1 000 grams of chewing tobacco, nasal tobacco and tobacco for oral use (snus) in one calendar day for his or her personal use. These products cannot be brought in as gifts.

Read more: Bringing back tobacco products from travels 


A private person is allowed to bring into Finland no more than a total of 1 000 grams of chewing tobacco, nasal tobacco and tobacco for oral use (snus) in one calendar day for his or her personal use. These products cannot be brought in as gifts.

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

Read more: Bringing back tobacco products from travels 


The new Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) was implemented through a comprehensive reform of the national Tobacco Act.

The Tobacco Act (549/2016) was prepared by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, which is entrusted with the general administration and steering related to the Tobacco Act. The Tobacco Act provides that Customs is the executive authority responsible for supervising compliance with the import prohibitions and restrictions laid down in the Tobacco Act. Customs is also responsible for controlling and supervising intra-EU movements, as well as imports from the Åland Islands to mainland Finland.


Counterfeit products can pose a risk to health or public safety. Counterfeit medicines, foodstuffs, vehicle spare parts and electrical devices involve a particularly significant risk.

There is no reliable research available on the quality of counterfeit products. For example, a clothing item may catch fire or cause an allergic reaction, and children’s toys may contain harmful ingredients and parts that may come loose. Materials used in counterfeit products may even cause cancer. Counterfeit spare parts of vehicles may cause malfunctions and accidents, and counterfeit electronics products may cause short circuits.

There is no guarantee for counterfeit products, and the people responsible cannot be tracked down when the product breaks down or causes damage.

Vast amounts of money are involved in the counterfeiting business, and they are used to fund organised crime.

Counterfeits corrode the market for genuine products. As a result, around 100 000 jobs are lost annually in Europe.

Counterfeit products do not yield any tax revenue. The money must be levied by society from other sources, for example from your salary.

The selling of pirated copies of music, computer software, films and other similar products is depriving their makers of their income.

The maximum penalty for an intellectual property offence is two years’ imprisonment.

Read more: Counterfeit products and ordering online


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 

 


When, as a traveller, you bring in goods for your own use or as a gift, you can do this free of customs duty and tax within the quantity and value limits concerning traveller import, provided that such import takes place occasionally.

If you bring back the same type of products from a trip once or a couple of times, it is a question of occasional traveller import. If you repeatedly bring back the same type of products back from your trips the import may no longer be considered occasional within the meaning of the legislation, and you will have to pay customs duty for the products.

The occasional nature of the import is assessed on a case-by-case basis. In such case, Customs will assess e.g. the type and quantity of the goods as well as the number of times they have been imported.

Applicable legislation

The import of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and liquids used in electronic cigarettes is provided for in the Tobacco Act. Herbal products for smoking are also subject to the provisions of the Tobacco Act. The Åland Islands and mainland Finland implement corresponding import prohibitions and restrictions.

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

Ordering alcohol online 

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Finnish Customs does not require the consent of guardians. The Border Guard is responsible for border controls in Finland.

Read Frequently asked questions about travel on the Finnish Border Guard’s website.

Parents are recommended to write a free-form letter of consent though, with signatures and their contact information. Authorities in some countries do require a letter of consent, so make sure you check with the consulate or embassy of the country in question.

Read more on Passport and other travel documents – Finnish citizens on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.


Prescriptions must be in Finnish or in Swedish, the official languages of Finland. In some cases, English may be accepted, if the official understands English. It's the customer's responsibility to give an account of the contents of the prescription.

Read more: Medicines


There are restrictions on bringing in veterinary medicines, and you may only bring them in if you have your pet with you. If the medicine is a prescription medicine in Finland, you have to have the prescription with you. No prescription is required for bringing in over-the counter medicines.

You can only bring in medicines in a quantity corresponding to one month’s use. If the product can be bought in a store, make sure that the product does not contain biocides. If the product is a biocidal product, it must be registered and it cannot be mentioned in the list of prohibited active biocidal substances.

Read more:


The Finnish Border Guard is responsible for the border controls of people at the border crossing points.

Read Frequently asked questions about travel on the Finnish Border Guard’s website.

Contact the Border Guard if necessary.


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.

 


It is almost impossible for a private person to attach the health warnings to tobacco products.

The Tobacco Products Directive requires that all unit packets of tobacco products for smoking must have a health warning with both a text warning and a corresponding colour photograph. The requirements on health warnings also apply to unit packets of nicotine liquids in electronic cigarettes or refill containers and to unit packets of herbal products for smoking.

Private persons are allowed to bring in only a specific quantity of products lacking the warnings in Finnish and Swedish on the health hazards caused by such products, and, in the case of tobacco products, also lacking the corresponding picture warnings.

The Ministry for Social Affairs and Health has issued more detailed regulations on the health warning texts, pictures, font type and size, colour, framing, area, placement, rotation, fastening, intactness and other specifications. The main rule is that the health warnings must be irremovably printed, and they must be fully visible and must remain intact when the unit packet is opened. The health warnings shall in no way hide or interrupt the tax stamps, price marks, tracking and tracing marks, or security features on unit packets. It is almost impossible to meet these requirements e.g. by personally gluing the health warnings on the products.

Read more: Bringing back tobacco products from travels 


Tobacco-free herbal mixtures for smoking via a waterpipe are considered herbal products for smoking under the Tobacco Act. They can be brought in from another EU countries and from outside the EU within the quantity limits.

You can bring in

  • no more than 200 units of ready-rolled and 250 grams of loose herbal products for smoking in packets which do not carry the required health warnings in Finnish and Swedish.

There are no restrictions in the Tobacco Act regarding herbal products for smoking, when they are brought into mainland Finland by travellers from the Åland Islands. The products can also be ordered online, there are no restrictions in the Tobacco Act on acquiring or receiving these products by mail, as a goods shipment or by any other means from outside Finland.

You can bring in 250 grams of waterpipe tobacco tax and duty free to Finland from outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU as well as from within the customs territory but from outside the fiscal territory of the EU. It makes no difference whether the mixture to be smoked in the pipe contains nicotine or not. This is also the case when bringing in these products from the province of Åland to mainland Finland and when bringing them into the province of Åland from other EU Member States and Mainland Finland.


You cannot order waterpipe tobacco containing tobacco online from abroad. 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.

According to the Tobacco Act, waterpipe tobacco means a tobacco product which can be used for smoking exclusively via a waterpipe.

Waterpipe tobacco can be brought into Finland by travellers. There are, however, time limits for imports by travellers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). For more information on the time limits, see ‘Import from outside the EU’ on this page.

You can bring in 250 grams of waterpipe tobacco tax and duty free to Finland from outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU as well as from within the customs territory but from outside the fiscal territory of the EU. It makes no difference whether the mixture to be smoked in the pipe contains nicotine or not. This is also the case when bringing in these products from Åland to mainland Finland and when bringing them into Åland from other EU Member States and mainland Finland.

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

Read more: Bringing back tobacco products from travels 


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 


Yes. Flavoured tobacco products and nicotine liquids can be brought into Finland by travellers, as their importation is not specifically prohibited by the Tobacco Act. However, you should note the quantity and time limits concerning imports by travellers as provided for by the Tobacco Act.

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

Read more: Import prohibitions and restrictions according to the Tobacco Act 


 


CITES products are endangered animals and plants, their parts and products made of them. The import these products may is prohibited or requires a permit. Further information: Environment.fi

  • Pets (e.g. parrots, tortoises and many reptiles) and plants (e.g. orchids)
  • Cosmetics and medicines containing parts of CITES species
  • Clothes and accessories (e.g. wolf fur coat or a crocodile skin bag)
  • Hunting requisites and fishing tackle (e.g. bear hair fly)
  • Fish and fishery products (e.g. sturgeon, caviar, eel).

The Tax Administration gives instructions and advice on tax-free sales to travellers. According to the bulletin “Tax-free sales to travellers - Guidance for retailers” released by the Tax Administration, sales to travellers comprise sales of goods to travellers who live and stay continuously outside the EU or outside Norway and who buy goods in Finland and export the goods as unused from Finland in their personal luggage.

A person who resides if Finland with a residence permit is not allowed to buy tax-free goods, even if their permanent place of residence is outside the EU. During the last two weeks, though, before the residence permit runs out, such a person is allowed to buy tax-free products. Correspondingly, a Finnish citizen, who moves to a territory outside the EU or Norway for a period of at least six months, has the right to make tax-free purchases during the last two weeks prior to the move.

The traveller pays value added tax at the time of purchase, but gets a partial or total refund upon later presenting an account on the goods having been taken out of the EU territory. Acquaint yourself with the Tax Administration’s instructions and how to apply for a tax refund: Tax-free sales to travellers in Finland

If you have questions regarding tax-free sales to travellers, contact the Tax Administration.

 


According to the Finnish Tobacco Act,

  • tobacco product is a product made wholly or partly of tobacco (nicotiana) and suitable for consumption. The nicotine-containing liquid used in electronic cigarettes is not a tobacco product, but a nicotine liquid in accordance with a special provision.
  • smokeless tobacco product is a tobacco product not involving a combustion process, including chewing tobacco, nasal tobacco or any other tobacco product that is not smoked.
  • tobacco product for smoking is a tobacco product other than a smokeless tobacco product. Tobacco products for smoking include e.g. cigarettes, cigars and roll-your-own tobacco. In accordance with the Tobacco Products Directive, waterpipe tobacco is also a tobacco product for smoking.
  • smoking accessory is an accessory or implement used for smoking or for the preparation of smoking. For example, cigarette paper and pipes are regarded as smoking accessories.
  • cigarette is a roll of tobacco as defined in section 4(1) of the Act on Excise Duty on Tobacco (1470/1994).
  • cigar is a roll of tobacco as defined in section 3(1) of the Act on Excise Duty on Tobacco.
  • cigarillo is a cigar that weighs no more than three grams.
  • roll-your-own tobacco is tobacco which can be used for making cigarettes by consumers or retail outlets. Tobacco which can be used both as roll-your-own tobacco and via waterpipes is roll-your-own tobacco.
  • pipe tobacco is tobacco that can be consumed via a combustion process and is exclusively intended for use in a pipe.
  • waterpipe tobacco is a tobacco product which can be used exclusively for smoking via a waterpipe.
  • chewing tobacco is a smokeless tobacco product exclusively intended for the purpose of chewing.
  • nasal tobacco is a smokeless tobacco product that can be consumed via the nose.
  • tobacco for oral use is a tobacco product for oral use, made wholly or partly of tobacco, in powder or in particulate form or in any combination of those forms, but it is not intended to be inhaled or chewed.
  • herbal product for smoking is a tobacco substitute made of plants and intended for smoking. Instead of the tobacco plant, the product contains other plants, such as herbs or fruits. Herbal products for smoking include so-called herbal cigarettes as well as tobacco-free herbal mixtures for smoking via a waterpipe.
  • electronic cigarette is a product used for inhaling nicotine-containing vapour via a mouth piece. Electronic cigarette also means any component of that product.
  • nicotine liquid is a liquid containing nicotine which is intended to be vaporised using an electronic cigarette and 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).
  • nicotine-free liquid for vaporisation is a liquid which is intended to be vaporised using an electronic cigarette or in another similar manner and which is not a nicotine liquid.
  • refill container is a receptacle that contains a nicotine liquid, which can be used to refill an electronic cigarette.

The rights of import depend on whether you are arriving from another EU country or from outside the EU.

Read more: Arriving in Finland


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 doesn’t provide information about the provisions concerning goods or gifts taken out of Finland.

 


When assessing if goods brought to Finland by a private person are meant for personal use or for commercial or other occupational purposes, the assessment focuses on:

  • the commercial status of the person possessing the goods and the reasons for possessing the goods
  • the location of the goods and the method of transport
  • documents relating to the goods, the nature and quantity of the goods and
  • other comparable relevant matters.

 (Act on Excise Duty, section 72)


Finnish Customs certifies the exit of goods on the customer’s request by stamping the sales invoice at the customs office of exit. An electronic customs declaration is not required for tax-free exports.

Note that:

  • if you have not followed all of the regulations by the Tax Administration, Customs may stamp the invoice with a red stamp
  • if the goods and the traveller have already left the EU territory, Customs cannot stamp the sales invoice retrospectively.


Customs does not return value added tax paid by travellers.


Products classified as being for personal use, are products that include taxes and which the passenger has carried in themselves from another EU Member State for their own personal use. Personal use means the passenger’s personal use of the goods as well as its use by his or her family, or a gift. Products handed over in return for any means of compensation are considered commercial imports. 

For example, when a cousin of the bride arrives as a wedding guest, they cannot bring in alcohol for their cousin’s wedding and alcohol brought in cannot be served as thanks to volunteers helping out at the wedding; neither can a person bring in alcohol to their friends.


As the alcohol quantities that passengers bring in grow, the passengers must participate more actively than before in determining their personal use. Customs does not use the guideline limits to restrict the amount of alcohol a private person brings into the country.

Read more: Bringing alcohol from your trip

 


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.


Import requirements depend on whether an animal is imported from another EU country or from a non-EU country, and on whether or not the import is of commercial nature. You can check the import requirements e.g. from Evira’s customer service meant for persons importing and exporting pets: www.evira.fi

Fimea gives more information on medicines for animals. 


The Finnish Border Guard is responsible for the border controls of people at the border crossing points. If you have any questions about travel documents, please contact the Border Guard. You’ll find the contact information and instructions concerning travel documents at www.raja.fi.

For more information about the travel documents of Finnish citizens, please go to the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.


Alcoholic beverages produced through fermentation are: beer, wine, cider and lonkero-drinks sold in retail shops in Finland.


The importation of certain goods can be prohibited, restricted or may require a permit. Find out the import restrictions before you travel. If you need a licence or permit, it must be acquired before you import goods and must be presented in connection with import. Illicit import may result in criminal sanctions. Examples of restricted or prohibited goods are

  • Plants, food supplements and foodstuffs. More information at www.evira.fi  
  • Brass knuckles, stilettos, electric stunners, electric batons
  • Laser pointers. More information at www.tukes.fi
  • Products infringing on copyright, such as Pirate-CDs or DVDs.

Read more:


As a rule, family is considered to include all persons living at the same address and in the same household. However, if relatives in direct lineage (parents, children, grandparents) import alcohol for a family celebration (e.g. a wedding, a birthday, some other significant occasion) without compensation as a gift, this kind of import of alcohol is also considered import for personal use even if the relatives do not live at the same address and are not part of the same household.

Read more: Bringing alcohol from your trip

 


The guidelines come from EU legislation, and they are written in the EU excise duty directive.


The sales invoice has not been presented.


The most common reasons for Customs using a red stamp on the sales invoice:

  • The goods have been used within the EU territory.
  • The goods have not been sealed.
  • Not all goods on the sales invoice will be taken out of the EU territory.
  • The exporter is not the same person as the buyer mentioned on the invoice, or the passport number is wrong.
  • The goods have been sold without value added tax.
  • The traveller does not have the right to buy tax-free goods, i.e. does not live permanently outside the EU or Norway.

Every country determines which substances it considers medicinal substances. In Finland, Fimea, the responsible authority, determines whether a substance or a preparation is a medicine and whether it requires a prescription. The following is taken into consideration in the classification: the composition and purpose of use of the substance, the details provided in the marketing of the substance as well as scientific data.


Because of the growth in passenger alcohol imports, controls regarding tax-free imports for personal use have to be implemented in greater detail than before.

Read more: Bringing alcohol from your trip


No, they won’t.

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

Read more: Customs control


                            

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