Customs controls of travellers
Finnish airports, ports and border crossing points have lively passenger traffic: Finnish and foreign holidaymakers, business travellers as well as travellers in transit. Of the millions of travellers to and from the EU as well as within the EU, Customs selects travellers for inspection, based on risk assessment.
What does Customs inspect?
According to the Customs Act, Finnish Customs has the right to stop and inspect a person arriving in or leaving the country. A customs inspection is performed in order to control the prohibition and restrictions as well as the transport of goods, such as:
- whether taxes shall be levied on the goods brought into or taken out of the country
- commercial imports from non-EU countries, commercial imports of alcohol from within the EU, tax free import allowances for travellers
- whether it is allowed to transport the goods brought into or taken out of the country
- narcotics, explosives, medicines, dangerous objects
- whether the goods brought into or taken out of the country require a licence or a notification
- weapons, military equipment, dual-use items, cash
- whether there are quantitative restrictions for the goods brought into the country
- alcohol, tobacco
How does Customs perform inspections?
Customs selects persons for inspection from passenger flows based on risk assessment. Detector dogs trained to detect drugs, cash, cigarettes and explosives provide excellent assistance in customs inspections.
In a customs inspection, a traveller’s luggage and outer clothing are inspected. In a more thorough inspection, Customs can ask the traveller to remove his or her clothes. The inspection is performed discreetly. The person is shown to the inspection facilities, where only the person performing the inspection and possibly a witness are present.
- The powers of Finnish Customs are provided for in various laws.
- The actions taken by Customs are always based on the legislation.
- Customs has the right to inspect travellers, luggage and vehicles. Customs has the right to question travellers also in intra-EU traffic.
- Customs can use detector dogs, X-ray or other technical equipment when carrying out inspections.
- Travellers taken in for inspection must personally unpack their luggage for inspection and repack it after the inspection.
- Travellers must give their personal details to Customs.
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.