Seizure or taking into custody

Swedish Customs may seize illegal goods and confiscate restricted goods that we suspect do not meet the conditions for entry into Sweden.

The role of Swedish Customs

Swedish Customs is responsible for combating the smuggling of goods that are prohibited from entering Sweden (e.g., narcotics), and for checking goods with conditions for entry (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, medicines and weapons, all known as restricted goods). A condition for importing or exporting certain goods may be that you have to notify Swedish Customs about such goods when crossing the border.

This means that alcohol, tobacco, drugs, medicines and weapons are examples of goods that may not be brought into Sweden indiscriminately. If Swedish Customs finds such goods, we can either seize them or confiscate them.

What goods do Swedish Customs seize?

Goods that Swedish Customs can seize are goods that have been the subject of an offence under the Smuggling Penalties Act (2000:1225), and can then be presumed to be confiscated* as a result. The offences for which you may be guilty under this Act may be smuggling offences, customs offences, unlawful handling of smuggled goods (or attempts to commit these offences), and preparation and conspiracy to commit aggravated smuggling offences, etc.

The goods that Customs can seize at a border with another EU country can be found in Section 3 of the Act (1996:701) on Swedish Customs’ powers at Sweden’s border with another country in the European Union (the so-called Internal Borders Act).

* This means that the person loses the goods because of his or her behaviour.


Chapter 27 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that a seizure must be rescinded immediately when there are no longer grounds for the seizure. The goods must be returned immediately after the court, the prosecutor or, in some cases, Swedish Customs have decided to rescind the seizure. The timeframe for this is not specified, but the goods must be returned promptly.

What goods do Swedish Customs seize?

Swedish Customs may also seize goods if we consider it necessary to carry out an inspection. This means that we can seize an item that we suspect is a prohibited item or subject to specific import conditions, but to be sure we need to analyse the item to confirm that it is the item we suspected in the first place (or some completely different item with or without a prohibition or import condition).

Swedish Customs may also seize an item in order to value it or if it requires authorisation and there is no authorisation upon import. An example is if you have declared the import of a weapon to Swedish Customs at the border, but the weapon does not have the required import permit.

If Swedish Customs find a shipment of excisable goods (alcohol, tobacco and energy products) that is not carried out in accordance with the rules in force, these goods may also be seized for tax investigation.

Read more about the power Swedish Customs have to carry out so-called excise checks.

Examples of legal support for confiscation

More information

Controls on behalf of others

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