Shipping Goods to Finland

Forwarding Addresses

Until housing is secured, grantees may temporarily use the Fulbright Center address for letter post (letters and postcards). Letter post Finland-U.S. takes seven days at the most. Please note that the Fulbright Center is not responsible for customs or freight charges and has no opportunities for mail pickup from postal outlets or customs depots.

It may be somewhat tricky to have packages delivered to a residential address where drivers will not deliver packages if no one is home. I was advised that it would be best to have packages delivered to one's working address. - U.S. Scholar 2015-2016

Shipping Options

Parcel post is one option to have goods shipped to Finland. Unlike some parts of the U.S., parcels are not delivered directly to the mailing address, but rather to a nearby postal outlet. If the parcel has been retained for customs inspection, it may be stored by the main post office free of charge for two weeks. However, do not mail packages in your name to your host university unless you have specifically arranged for someone to pick them up. Again, you should give your shipment at least two months to make its way to Finland.

I used the U.S. Post Office to ship things to my home address. Others had problems shipping to their university/office addresses. When I sent things via U.S. Post Office, they arrived with no problem at my house. I got a notice to pick them up at the local post office in Finland. When my father shipped things to me, they got stuck in Customs. I was able to call Customs and convince them that they were my goods being shipped to myself, so be careful how you fill out the Customs form. Best to ship from your name to your name so Customs in Finland will not detain the packages. - U.S. Grantee 2014-2015

It's doable, but it's very expensive. Also remember that if for instance you don't live in Helsinki, and somewhere further north, the distribution system gets relatively scant. I often had to wait a whole day for a package to show up because some guy in a van had to drive from Helsinki. If you're a student I really wouldn't recommend it, there's very little you actually need shipped, just be adaptable and find a local alternative, you'll be better off. - U.S. Grantee 2014-2015

Air courier services such as Federal Express, United Parcel Service International, and DHL, may be used for small packages. They handle customs clearance and possible duty payment and deliver directly to your door (the bill comes later). While convenient for urgent shipments, they are expensive and seldom practical for personal effects.

Air, ocean and rail freight (through private logistics companies) are options that neither former grantees nor Fulbright Center staff recommend. All freight shipments will incur customs clearance and handling fees, and will also incur substantial daily storage charges if they are held longer than 48 hours in the local terminal.

 I would not ship. Super expensive. Pay for an extra bag!!- U.S. Grantee 2014-2015

Mail Sacks

If you are bringing large quantities of books, a one cheap option from the U.S. has been the Direct Mail Sack rate. For this rate, several small boxes of books or printed matter, each wrapped and labeled, can be combined in a large canvas mail sack (“M-sack”) that is then shipped to Finland. Unlike parcel post, Direct Mail Sacks are only for printed material and cannot be insured. Consult your local U.S. post office early about their M-sack availability. Keep all postal and insurance receipts in the event of claims, or for possible U.S. tax deductions.

It is advisable to consider carefully different mailing options. For example, according to a former grantee, the cost advantage of M-sacks may be offset by the potential length of time it takes and the inability to track the packages. Also, Finnish customs may require detailed declaration of the contents of Mail Sacks, and in some cases you should be prepared to pay extra customs tax on the material in Mail Sacks. And remember that you will eventually have to mail everything back home as well, unless you want to leave all your books and materials behind. The M-bag service is not available in Finland, which does increase your return costs.