Allow Time If You’re Claiming Your VAT Tax Refund at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport:
Although, we did all our shopping in Italy, Amsterdam was our final port of exit from the EU and this was where we had to have our VAT refund processed. This was good as it gave us the opportunity to check out the practical aspects of claiming VAT refund at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
Except for minor variations, the VAT tax refund procedures are pretty much the same anywhere in the EU:
If you have done a lot of shopping and prefer to pack your shopping into your check-in luggage, you will need to do your VAT refund before checking in your luggage and going through passport control. Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1 – Get your Customs Validation Stamp
The Customs Tax Refund Validation desk is near Departures 2 on Level 1.
- You must get your tax-free form stamped by Customs (no Customs stamp, no refund!)
- You must have your goods with you (they do random checks)
- You must show your passport and travel itinerary (unlike in Rome, you are not required to show your boarding pass here)
Step 2 – Do Your Airline Check-in
Once you’ve had your tax refund form stamped you can proceed to do your airline check-in and deposit your luggage (with the goods checked in) .
Step 3 – Get Your Tax Refund
If your Tax-free forms are from Global Blue -
- The Global Blue office is just next to Passport Control (near Gate G). A supervisor will check your stamped form and receipts and ask if you want cash or a credit to your credit card. I suggest that you go for cash as you get your refund immediately and there’s no possibility of any kind of debit to your credit card later on. Once he has checked your documents, he will pass you on to the cashiers for payment.
Note: this procedure takes time as well – since the queue of people at the Customs validation desk find their way here.
If your Tax-free forms are from Premier Tax Free -
- You can get your payment at the ABN-AMRO bank. (Note: Apparently “you cannot get EURO in cash after 1700hrs as the Euro cash counter closes at 1700hrs and only USD & RMB options are available for cash refund”. This is according to an advice by Joey Hong who posted this comment after his experience.)
Unfortunately, if you have forms from both Global Blue and Premier Tax Free, you will need to go through the procedure separately.
If you only have small or valuable items that you intend to hand-carry, you can process your VAT refund after going through passport control. The Customs tax free validation desk and Global Blue desk are to the right, immediately past the Passport Control. The procedure is the same as described in Option A above. If you can hand-carry your purchases, this appears to be the preferred way to get your VAT refund as there are less people doing it this way. When we went through Passport Control, we saw only one lady getting her VAT refund processed.
If you have VAT refund to claim at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, make sure that you allow time for this. There are only two Customs validation officers on duty and all you need is for someone with complications to hold up the process and you could be waiting a long time, which was what happened to us. It took us about 45 minutes just to get the Customs stamp and cash refund. If there is a tour group in the queue, that will also take time if you’re unlucky to be standing behind them. The Customs officers do scrutinize your forms and receipts and we have seen them asking certain individuals to show their goods.