The Process for claiming your Tax Refund at Rome Fiumicino Airport:
There are lots of advice on the internet on the process to follow to get your VAT refund at Rome Fiumicino Airport. From our experience at Terminal 3 of Rome Fiumicino Airport, things have changed a little.
Note: The Customs offices for VAT tax reimbursements are located in the Departures Areas of Terminals T1, T3 and T5.
To claim your VAT refund at Rome Fiumicino Airport, you have to show your goods, invoices and your VAT Refund Form to the Customs officials who will then stamp your documentation if they are satisfied that the goods presented match your Refund Form. This requirement has not changed.
Two methods for getting your tax refund processed at Rome Fiumicino Airport:
If you are hand-carrying your purchases, it’s easier to do your airline check-in and then go straight through passport and security control first. Just after the passport control there is a Customs Desk where you can get your Tax refund form stamped. Next door to the Customs office are the Global Blue and Premier Tax Free desks where you can have your VAT refund paid in cash or credited to your credit card. Not many people are aware of this option.
If you’ve done a lot of shopping and wish to pack your shopping into your checked-in baggage, the process is as follows:
- You must first do your airline check-in and obtain your boarding pass. VAT Refund can only be processed at your final point of departure from the EU and your boarding pass provides evidence of your next destination. Advise the airline check-in personnel that you’d like your luggage back as you need to do your VAT refund.
- With your tagged luggage, boarding pass, passport, goods purchased and tax refund form, go to the Customs Tax Refund Office which, at Terminal 3, is next to the Departure gate. Once you’ve satisfied Customs that you have all the goods that you’re claiming the tax refund for, your documentation will be stamped and you can then pack all your goods into your case. The case must be deposited at a dedicated baggage channel next to the customs office
- Your stamped tax refund documents can then be :
(1) deposited in the mail boxes provided by the respective tax refund companies (such as Global Blue or Premier Tax Free), or
(2) if you have time, you can go to the Global Blue or Premier Tax Free desks to have your VAT processed.
Generally I prefer not to mail the VAT Refund forms as it can take months before the claim by mail is processed, and then again there’s no guarantee that it will happen. If you are dropping your claim form in the mail box, it is a good idea to take a copy of your document so that if your claim goes missing, you will have some records to follow up with – just take a snap of the forms with your camera.
If you have time to queue at the Global Blue or Premier Tax Free desks, you can have your VAT processed there and then. You have a choice of a refund in cash or credited to your credit card. Although there is a fee for cash refund, I prefer to have the cash in hand. There have been complaints by travellers who chose the credit card option, only to have their VAT refund reversed at a later date and on top of that to have a penalty applied. When this happens, it’s very difficult to get any kind of recourse to the problem. Having said that, many of our readers here have gone down the credit card route and have not encountered any problems.
Please note that the above information is updated, to the best of our knowledge, but things can change at Rome Fiumicino. We advise you to check with your airline and other sources as well.
**If you’ve been to Rome Fiumicino recently and are aware of any changes, please do drop me a line to share this information for the benefit of other travellers.**
The number of times that we’ve used Option 2, we found the process to be excruciatingly slow and painful. If you are unlucky enough to be caught behind Asian tour groups who usually are keen shoppers, the wait-time can be lengthy. If you’re doing a lot of shopping in Rome, you should allow ample time to get your tax refund document stamped.
So, what do you think?