Border checks are performed with the aim of maintaining border security. They are checks on persons - including their means of transport and the objects in their possession - and interviews of persons, carried out on those crossing or intending to cross the border. Border checks are performed at border crossing points or, in order to ensure the smooth flow of traffic or for other justifiable reasons, in a public transport vehicle or other location.

Border checks are not carried out in internal traffic within the Schengen area. Finland and the other Nordic countries began the application of the Schengen acquis on 25 March 2001. The Schengen countries have agreed on the joint management of the external borders.