Åland and EU
Several regions in the European Union have special status because of historical, geographical and political reasons. The Åland autonomy with its own legislative powers and exceptions from common EU right is meant as a minority protection. In the Åland Islands there is a limitation in the right to own or be in possession of real property and to run businesses, introduced to ensure that the land and the business control would remain in the hands of the local population. It does not prevent people from settling in or trading with the Åland Islands. Immigrants who have lived in Åland for five years and have an adequate knowledge of Swedish may apply for the status. The Åland Government can, in casu, grant exemptions from the requirement of right of domicile for those wishing to acquire real property or conduct a business in Åland.
Outside the VAT area
The Åland Islands are a member of the European Union but not part of their tax union. This gives possibility for Tax Free shopping, but also causes some special arrangements in trading matters. Since the autonomous Åland is a member of the EU and the customs union, but not included in the tax union, the Åland Islands shall be considered as a third country in EU trade matters.