Photo: Customs


Orchids or coral reefs may seem like nice souvenirs. However, they are endangered species, and their importation into Finland is prohibited or requires a permit. CITES products confiscated by Customs over the years.

CITES products include endangered animals and plants, their parts, or products made from them.

Among them are also popular souvenirs for travelers, such as corals and cacti. Decorative items, accessories made from reptile leather, and fur products may also be made from or contain parts of CITES-listed species. The importation of CITES products into Finland is prohibited or requires a permit, depending on the product. In addition to the country of origin, a permit is often required from the Finnish Environment Institute. Travelers are always responsible for their imports.

  • It is not advisable to buy souvenirs from markets and fairs if you are unsure of what animal, plant, or wood they are made from," advises Nadja Painokallio, Senior Customs Inspector, to travelers. It is also good to be aware that different countries have their own restrictions, such as exporting sand. It is always recommended to clarify the restrictions in advance.

Examples of products that may be made from CITES-listed species include:

  • Watch straps, belts, bags, or shoes made from reptile leather
  • Hides and fur products
  • Musical instruments made from bone or rare wood species
  • Utility and decorative items such as combs and sculptures
  • Cosmetics containing animal and plant extracts
  • Traditional Asian medicine products.

Customs Ensures Import Control

The Finnish Environment Institute (Syke) issues CITES permits in Finland and provides further guidance on CITES-related matters. Customs monitors imports to ensure that appropriate permits and documents are in place. Permits are not issued retroactively. Additionally, CITES products can only be brought through specific border crossing points. Items imported without a permit and prohibited goods are seized and will not be returned.