Arriving in Finland to study
Goods imported by a student arriving in Finland
If you arrive in Finland to study, you can bring personal belongings with you free of customs duty and value added tax. The term “student” also applies to a pupil, and studying also applies to going to school.
You can import your goods as exempt from customs duty and VAT when all of these requirements are met:
- You have been granted student status for full-time studies at an educational establishment in Finland.
- The items belong to you and are intended solely for your own use during the period of study.
- The items are used and you need them for your studies. Such an item may be a computer, for example.
- The items are typical personal items, furniture or other movable items.
Clothing items are also exempt from customs duty and VAT. Clothes and linen are regarded as clothing items. The clothes can be new, but the other items have to be used.
You can receive the above-mentioned items a few times during the school year.
If you bring in items that you will not be using yourself, you have to pay taxes. If necessary, Customs assesses, based on the quantity and types of items, whether the items are imported for your own use.
Present your residence permit to Customs to confirm duty-free status
If you are bringing in goods from the territory of the EU, you usually do not need to declare them.
If you bring goods for your studies from outside the EU or if goods are sent to you from outside the EU, they must be declared.
You can declare your goods in the following ways:
- You can authorise a transport company or a forwarding agency to take care of customs clearance for you.
- You can personally declare goods with a form. Submit the form entitled ”Private person's declaration of goods imported from outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU (1143e)” along with any other required information to the email address given in the form. Check the instructions on how to fill in the form (1143e).
- If you bring goods to Finland personally, for example by car, clear the goods primarily at the customs office through which you arrive in Finland. You can speed up your visit to the customs office when, before your visit, you fill in the form ”Private person's declaration of goods imported from outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU (1143e)”.
In your declaration, enter commodity code 9919 00 00 30 for student goods.
When clearing your goods through Customs you have to present your residence permit which states the basis for your stay. The residence permit can be a separate document or a passport entry.
If you do not have a residence permit, you can prove your student status by presenting a certificate from your educational establishment certifying that you have been accepted as a student.
Online purchases are taxed normally
If you make online purchases, the same rules apply to you as to other private persons making online purchases.
Online purchases have to be cleared through Customs and possible import duties have to be paid. Payment of import duties is required even if your stay in Finland is temporary.
I studied abroad and I am moving back to Finland
You must declare goods arriving in Finland from outside the EU to Customs. This requirement also applies to your own personal used belongings that you have taken out of Finland in your luggage. Goods that are taken out of Finland and later returned to Finland are called returned goods.
You must be able to prove that the goods have previously been taken outside the EU. Customs may also ask you to show when the goods have been bought and what their value is.
You don’t have to pay customs duty or VAT for returned goods. Goods may be imported as returned goods within three years of the date of their export from Finland. However, you can’t declare products subject to excise duty, such as alcohol and tobacco, as returned goods.
Different ways to declare the goods
If you have been abroad as an exchange student, you can
- authorise a transport company or a forwarding company (e.g. a representative) to declare the goods on your behalf.
- declare the goods using a form. Submit the form entitled ”Private person's declaration of goods imported from outside the customs and fiscal territory of the EU (1143e)” along with any other required information to the email address given in the form. Check the instructions on how to fill in the form (1143e).
Indicate in section 2 “I wish to declare” of the form, that you have been abroad as a student and that you are declaring returned goods.
Enter the goods as separate commodity codes; for example, enter clothes in section “Goods item 1” and books in the section “Goods item 2”. Leave the section “Value added tax rate” blank. If your goods have been dispatched from Finland and you have submitted an export declaration for them, enter the number of your export declaration in section 5 “Additional information”. You must enclose with the declaration a ticket or a certificate demonstrating the study abroad and a packing list, prepared by yourself, specifying in detail the goods you are declaring.
Please note that goods you have bought or received abroad are not considered returned goods. These goods are to be declared in the normal manner and import duties and taxes must be paid for them, if they do not meet the conditions for consideration as goods imported as removal goods.
If the parcel to be declared contains both returned goods and goods bought abroad, indicate that fact in the form or notify the representative who will declare your parcel.
If you are bringing a means of transport to Finland for the duration of your studies, have a look at the instructions on the Tax Administration website.
The goods of a student arriving in Finland from within the EU customs territory, but from outside the EU fiscal territory, are exempt from customs duty in the same way as the goods of a student arriving from outside the EU. When the conditions for exemption are met, value added tax is not levied on the student’s goods.
When the necessary requirements are met, imports of student goods from mainland Finland to the Åland Islands, and vice versa, are exempt from tax in the same way as imports of goods by students from outside the EU.
More information on value added taxation when importing student goods to Åland and from Åland to mainland Finland:
- Mariehamns tull, PB 40, 22101 Mariehamn
- tfn 0295 5200 (växel), 0295 52 333
- e-post: atp.skattegrans(at)tulli.fi.
- Council Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009 of 16 November 2009 setting up a Community system of reliefs from customs duty, articles 21–22
- Value Added Tax Act (1501/1993), section 94 subsection 1 (12) and section 94 subsection 2
- Act on exceptions concerning the Province of Åland regarding value added tax and excise duty legislation (1266/1996), section 18 (in Finnish and in Swedish)