There are some 24-hour grocery stores in larger cities. Most grocery stores and malls are open on Sundays, but smaller boutiques are often closed on Sundays. Public holidays may affect opening hours!
Every city has an outdoor market, where you can find fresh and local produce and lots of other items as well. They are usually open from early morning until early afternoon.
Small items, candy, magazines, pre-paid sim cards, local public transportation tickets, and the like may be purchased at kiosks (e.g. R-kioski), which are small street-level sales outlets, or at many service station shops which are open every day of the week. Many of these sell some grocery items.
Save your Receipts
It is a good idea to save receipts when making bigger purchases. Receipts for purchases are more important in Finland than in the United States. In case you wish to return or change a product, most businesses require a receipt for the return, even if the merchandise is in perfect condition and still has the tags on it.
Online Shopping within the EU
There will be no added import tariffs if you buy inside the EU.
Online Shopping outside of the EU
Starting on July 1, 2021, all parcels arriving outside the EU must be declared and a value-added tax (VAT) must be paid on them. The change is due to the amended VAT directive that concerns the entire EU. You can use the Customs Duty Calculator to estimate how much customs duty and VAT you must pay on top of the price of the purchase. Gifts must also be declared; however, VAT is generally not levied on small gifts.
There are three ways to clear an item through customs (instructions by Posti):
- Paying VAT in the online store
You can pay VAT in connection with your purchase if the online store you are buying from offers this option. The information about the item will be sent to Posti directly from the online store, and Posti will submit the customs declaration to Finnish Customs. This costs EUR 0 and you will not need to take any action.
- Digital customs clearance
Digital customs clearance can be done in OmaPosti, which you can use in the app or on a browser at posti.fi/omaposti. You will get a notification when you are about to receive an item that requires customs clearance. You can also add items to track by manually inserting the tracking code. Please follow the instructions and do digital customs clearance before the item arrives in Finland. Available for purchases worth up to EUR 150.
- Clearing the item on the Finnish Customs website and paying the handling fee on Posti’s website
You will get a notice of arrival once the item has arrived in Finland and is being stored temporarily in a warehouse. Clear the item and pay VAT on the Finnish Customs website and also pay Posti’s handling fee on Posti’s website. You may always choose this customs clearance option if you want to clear the item yourself. This option must always be chosen if the item is worth more than EUR 150 or if the information about the item is incomplete.
- Instructions for ordering goods online can be found on the Finnish Customs website: Ordering goods online - Finnish Customs (tulli.fi)
- Instructions on declaring your parcel: Declare your parcel - Finnish Customs (tulli.fi)
- Finnish Customs frequently asked questions: FAQ - Finnish Customs (tulli.fi)
- The Finnish Customs have made instruction videos on how to declare online: How to declare online – watch the video for instructions - Finnish Customs (tulli.fi)
Declaring packages has not been easy for grantees after the VAT directive came to force in July 2021. You need strong identification codes to make the declaration announcement online. We recommend you contact your Fulbright buddy, colleague, or friend to help if you are not able to do the declaration yourself.
Sending & receiving packages outside the EU
When sending something bigger than a normal postcard/small envelope to the U.S. or receiving something in Finland from the U.S. even if it’s a bigger letter with documents, the Finnish Posti recommends using the “Customs Declaration” sticker on top of the package. A scanned picture of the sticker from the Finnish Posti can be seen below (picture taken in January 2022). The U.S. mail service most likely uses a different type of document. For declaring the package, the receiver needs to be aware of the content as well as the value of the package. Thus, the sender needs to carefully record this information on the sticker which then makes it quicker and easier for the receiver to declare the package.
More information on the Posti website:
- More specific advance information required on the contents of letters and parcels containing goods sent outside the EU as of early 2021 - News Releases - Customer support - Posti
Value Added Tax
In 2021, the Finnish VAT is 24%, with the exception of food and meals (14%) and books (10%). The prices you see on the shop shelves already include the VAT.