How to Claim Your VAT Refund at Schiphol Airport

Allow Time If You’re Claiming Your VAT Tax Refund at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport:

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Tax free validation at 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:

Option A.

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.

Option B.

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.

Allow Time

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.

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.


  1. avatarJGP says

    Is the Customs Tax Free Validation Desk and the cashier open 24 hours? What if I arrive in the evening, it would mean that I have to forfeit the refund because they are not open?

    • avatar says

      According to, the Customs offices are open from 06:00 am to 10:00 pm.

      The following is further advice provided by “if the Customs office is closed or busy, call +31 88 – 15 83 900. An officer will come down to stamp your purchase receipts or open up an extra desk in departure hall 3. You can also get a Customs stamp in your home country upon arrival.”

      Good luck with your VAT,

  2. avatarJGP says

    The last time I arrived in Amsterdam it was before 10pm but it seems the office and the cashier is already closed because there was no one. In effect I wasn’t able to claim the refund. I didn’t know that I can get it stamped in my home country. Is this applicable to any country? Lets say that it was stamped in my home country, where should I send it to?
    Thank you very much for your reply.

    • avatar says

      Usually merchants who participate in the tax-free shopping program will use one of the following vat refund companies such as Global Blue, Premier Tax Free or If you have a tax cheque (form) from one of these companies, you will need to send your stamped documents to that company. The shop normally gives you a self-addressed envelope to send your stamped documents back.

      If you are regularly travelling to Amsterdam and arriving late in the evening you may wish to look at the services of Read their FAQ and it explains how they assist travellers in claiming the VAT and what they charge for their service and where the tax receipts should be sent to. As ;long as you are a non-EU resident you are eligible to claim VAT refund.

      According to you can have your documents stamped in your home country. If you have any concerns, you can email them directly at to check on your particular country.

      Remember always to make copies of your documents before sending as things do go missing in the mail.

      Kind regards,

      • avatarSunil Patidar says


        Is it mandatory to avail the services of the vat refund companies such as Global Blue, Premier Tax Free or

        Also will they charge money if you do all processes on your own and just have a form of their company ?


        • avatar says

          Hi Sunil,
          Global Blue, Premier Tax Free and are in the business of processing VAT refunds and although they charge a fee, you are sure to get your VAT refund if you follow the process, i.e. getting the Customs stamp.

          I’m not sure how you intend to “do all processes on your own”, but if you’ve got a VAT refund form from one of these three companies, you need to send it back to the one you got it from. That’s why you have people complaining about having to queue twice because they’ve got forms from two separate companies. Global Blue can’t process Premier Tax Free forms or vice versa.

          Kind regards,
          Helen Page

          • avatarSunil Patidar says

            Thanks for your reply.
            My query is that why do we need the help of these companies ? Is there any process where we can get the tax refund without paying fees to Global Blue/Vatfree?


  3. avatarCapt. says

    “The Customs tax free validation desk and Global Blue desk are to the right, immediately past the Passport Control”.

    There are several passport controls. Therefore I was searching for some time to find the custom desk.
    The correct location is at the beginning of the F-Gates.

    Kind regards

  4. avatarAntoine says


    I am Antoine from Suriname. I am intended to visit holland for 3 weeks vacation later this year.
    The stuff I will buy are kitchen appliances the most. These i will use for my home.
    Since i wont travel with these items during my flight, i emailed the shop about it.
    (i will ship the by boat)

    They say that if i come with the right documents, the will give me the 0% btw on the items.
    Do you have any idea which documents and where i can get them.
    (besides my paspoort, my schengen visa and my ticket).

    Looking forward to your reply.


  5. avatarVitor says


    Is it mandatory to have a form from Global True, or any other company?

    I bought several expensive items from a store that could not give me this kind of form. Does that mean that I cannot have the refund for those items?

    Thanks, Vitor

  6. avatarAliya says

    Could you advise me e-mail address of customs office in Shiphol airport? I received letter from global blue, they send me the scanned copy of tax free form. They asked me to get confirmation from customs, because the stamp is not not visible. Thanks in advance

  7. avatarfarrukh umair says

    i submitted my form at global blue office at schipol via credit card…while leaving (,didnot know if tax return facility iss available by cash also.)
    some lady came while i was in queue ad ask me ,if i have a credit card , i said yes so she helped me in filling the form and staple the receipts along with it …Now after reading this blog i understand i have chosen a return via my credit card.
    do u have any idea ,how many days they take to give me that tax return money in my account ..or any website where i shold contact.??

  8. avatarIvan says

    Hi Aliya,

    I have residency in EU and Non-EU country at the same time. Will it be possible to get VAT return in my case?
    Thank You.

  9. avatarNick says

    Hi Helen,

    We only have one hour layover in Armsterdam. Will we have time to process our four items to process our tax refund? Will i be able to get my refund in Vienna? We travel from Vienna, stop over in Armsterdam to San Francisco (USA).


    • avatar says

      Hi Nick,

      If you only have one hour layover in Amsterdam, you should try and process your tax refund in Vienna. If you are packing your purchases in your luggage and checking your bags through to San Francisco, they should allow you to process in Vienna.
      As you can see from my post above, it took me 45 minutes at Schiphol.

      Kind regards,

  10. avatarJoey Hong says

    Dear author,
    thank you for the information. I did as per indicated and all went well.
    However, good to add on that PREMIER TAX do not issue EURO in cash after 1700hrs. As the Euro cash counter closes at 1700hrs and only USD & RMB options are available for cash refund. just fyi.

    • avatar says

      Hi Joey, I’m glad to hear that you got your tax refund without any problems. Thanks for your additional information about the Euro cash not being available from Premier Tax after 17:00. It’s a bit bizarre since the base currency in Amsterdam is the Euro and not USD.

      By the way, did you claim your Premier Tax refund from the ABN-AMRO. I was just interested to know what time they close?

      Kind regards,

  11. avatarHani says

    Hi Helen,

    thanks for your information :)

    I am student in Amsterdam currently (since Sept 2013), but I am going back to Indonesia this September. Is it possible for me to get tax refund, as I wanna buy camera in Media Markt tomorrow.

    thanks and regards

  12. avataryessie says

    is to get stamp at premiere tax refund always take time? the queing very long? and where the location is at schippol airport? i know the global blue location , is premiere next to global blue?

  13. avatarJane says

    Hi Helen,

    I would be travelling around Italy for September and October and Paris on November and will leave Paris on the last week of November. I most probably will shop at these places. Should you suggest that i get my tax refund on every destination or get it at my last stopover which is at Amsterdam (5 hours lay over from Paris). How should i process it if i check in my baggage from Paris? Am i allowed to get the stuffs from the checked in baggage during the 5 hour stop over to have it checked by the customs? Any info would greatly help. Thank You!

    • avatar says

      Hi Jane,

      You can only claim VAT refund at the last port before leaving the EU which for you is Paris.

      If your airline ticket is for Paris-Singapore, for example, your bag will be checked all the way to Singapore (assuming this is your end destination) and as such you will not be able to access your bag in Amsterdam. Customs in Paris will want proof that you are leaving the EU so you will need to show your boarding pass for your onward trip from Amsterdam.

      Kind regards,

  14. avatarErmis says

    I will leave EU within two months. I have bought some items. I keep the tickets and of course the items. My question is. Do I have to ask some paper at the shops where I bought the items to be able to get the tax free (in cash ) at the airport or it is enough with the tickets. In the past I bought in mediamark and they gave me a form and I got the tax free without any problem. Do I have to do this in any shop I buy something?.

    • avatar says


      As it says in the post above, you must have a tax-free form (supplied by the shop you bought from) and this must be stamped by Customs. No stamped tax-free form = No refund.


  15. avatarRUK says

    According to VAT refund the amount to be refunded is 21% of the purchase made in Holland
    amounting to minimum of 50 Euros.

    During my visit to Holland in September 2014. I bought Samsung GT-S7390 mobile telephone for Euros 109 from Media Markt, Groningen.

    I got the VAT tax refund form of Global Blue from Media Markt and the refund amount
    printed in this form was 12 Euros. I thought with 21% refund it should
    have been Euros 22.89

    I got the cash refund at Global Blue Counter, Schipol Airport, while
    returning back to my country and 3 Euros were cut from the refunded amount
    again and I got only 9 Euros back.

    What is the service fee of Global Blue? and what other charges were minus
    from my refunded amount?

    Kindly reply for which I shall be grateful. Thanks.

  16. avatarLam says

    Dear Helen

    I am going to travel to Italy, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Berlin and Amsterdam during the Christmas. Am i allow to get tax refund if i shop in these cities and leave at the Schipol Airport? thanks a lot!

    • avatar says

      Hello Lam,
      Yes you will be able to claim your VAT refund for your shopping in those countries you mentioned above. If you are leaving the EU from Schiphol, then that’s where you’ll have your VAT refund processed. Remember to allow plenty of time as the service can be quite slow there. And if you have tax refund forms from Global Blue and Premier Tax Free for instance, then you’ll have to queue twice.

      I always prefer to get my refund in cash so that there’s no possibility of any charge back to my credit card. If you prefer the credit card option, I would suggest taking photos of your forms in case of any later disputes. But the officials at Schiphol Airport seem to be rather good. They check everything thoroughly so if there’s anything missing with your claim, you should know there and then.

      Sounds like you’re having a wonderful Christmas shopping holiday. All the best to you for the festive season.

      Kind regards,

  17. avatarceline says

    Dear Helen,

    On my visit to Europe I purchased jewelry in Amsterdam. Yesterday I flew back to China through Schiphol. The Global blue counter before the Customs (Douane) told me they couldn’t give me the custom stamp. So after check-in I immediately went to the global blue-desk. The guy sitting looked first at the invoice and the tax form, but then said that I should get the stamp in my home country once upon arrival. What does this means? I never heard anything like this before. He even didn’t wanted to look at the jewelry. I started being so mad and told him his colleague said I should go here, but he refused and told me that only his decision counts. Due time I had to catch my flight and now I don’t have any custom stamp.

    Is there another way in which I can collect the tax?



  18. avatar says

    Hi Celine,
    If you purchased jewelry in Amsterdam and flew back to China from Schiphol, there’s no reason why you should not be able to have your VAT refund processed at Schiphol. One point I need to clarify is that the Customs stamp is provided by the Dutch Customs Office and not Global Blue. Global Blue can only process your refund if you have the required Customs stamp. If you look at the photo above, taken at Schiphol Airport, you should have seen signs indicating “Tax Free Validation – Customs”.

    The Global Blue guy you spoke to after check-in should have referred you to the Customs desk to obtain your stamp. It’s possible that there was no Customs officer on duty at the time and hence the reason to ask you to get the stamp in your home country. In any case, he should have explained the situation to you more clearly.

    What you can do now is contact your nearest Dutch consulate or embassy in China and ask their assistance in providing you the stamp. Once you obtain the stamp, you can mail the Tax Refund Cheque and invoices to Global Blue with a note explaining that you were not able to get a stamp at Schiphol. You would have been given a Global Blue Reply Paid Envelope by the shop you bought your jewelry from.

    Before you send your documents to Global Blue, I suggest you make copies of your documents, just in case they go missing.

    I hope the above is clear and good luck in getting your VAT refund.

    Kind regards,

  19. avatarceline says

    Thanks for your reply.
    I’m sorry, I didn’t tell my story clear. After check-in I obtain the Custom stamp and a paraph. But there is another stamp (on the Custom-stamp) written like this: ‘Alleen deze stempel kan niet niet voldoende voor teruggaaf BTW’. This means that the stamp is cannot be used for VAT refund. The worker told me I could get another stamp at arrival, but after arrival I asked at the airport in China for a stamp but they said they didn’t know anything about this kind of procedure. They also couldn’t help me. So the problem is now: where should I obtain the next (custom) stamp to claim my VAT back? Is there a import-stamp? The goods are now imported and not a export-good anymore. This morning I called the Custom of Schiphol airport, but they told me to write a letter to the complaints-department of the custom at the airport. I feel like I’m sended back and forth, bc they don’t want to refund the VAT to me (…)



    • avatar says

      I’ve never come across any situation where you have to obtain more than one Custom stamp. The translation of ‘Alleen deze stempel kan niet niet voldoende voor teruggaaf BTW’ implies that the stamp alone is not enough for VAT refund, i.e. there are other conditions attached.

      Since you appear to have obtained your Customs stamp, I suggest that you phone or email Global Blue and get their advice on what you need to do. You should scan your tax form with the Customs Stamp and invoices so that you can send these to them when asked.

      Kind regards,

  20. avatarKS Chua says

    Hi Helen,

    If my country of departure is in Switzerland? And i have made purchase in Amsterdam, my last EU country is Germany, how can I get tax refund? I will be traveling by train.


    • avatar says

      Hi Chua,
      If you’re crossing from Germany into Switzerland by train, ask the conductor or ticket inspector if the train will be stopping at the German/Swiss border and if it’s possible to get a Customs stamp then.
      If not, when you get home you can ask the Dutch consulate (or any EU consulate) to stamp your VAT form for you and then mail the forms back to Global Blue or whichever tax refund agency you have documents from.
      Before you send in any documents, please make copies of them just in case things go missing by mail. You will at least have the document ID and receipts with which to do any followups.
      Unfortunately, Switzerland is not in the EU and the Swiss Customs cannot verify your EU VAT refund documents. I myself have to see if the process works as we crossed from Germany into Switzerland by road last month on a Sunday and the Customs desk at the border was closed.
      Kind regards,

  21. avatarGowrishankar says

    Hey. Is there a certain time period before which you can claim the VAT?

    I bought a laptop in late 2013, but would like to claim VAT when I fly back to India. Does anyone know if it is possible?

    Thanks in advance.

    • avatar says

      Hi Gowrishankar,

      1. Goods purchased must be unused to qualify for VAT refund. No doubt your laptop which was bought in late 2013, was used over the past year.
      2. The VAT form must be duly stamped by Customs within 3 months following the month when the Form was issued. You’ve exceeded that period.

      Based on your information, you’ll not be able to claim VAT refund for your laptop.

      Kind regards,

  22. avataroren says

    Hi there,
    i am intended to travel to London, leave to Brussels and continue to Amsterdam,
    finally coming back home to Israel Via Istanbul.

    i will make all of my shopping in london,
    How do i get my Tax refunds?
    Can i get it “on spot in Sciphol” or should i just stamp customs and deliver my receipts to the stores by myself?


    • avatar says

      Hi Oren,
      Yes you can get your VAT refund on the spot in Schiphol, but do allow time just in case there are queues. Personally, I prefer having it processed there and then as mail can go missing and it’s always more difficult trying to chase up matters when you’re not there.

      Kind regards,

  23. avatarManuel says

    I’ve purchased some goods at H&M in den Haag end I note that they didn’t stamp (tax-free) I went there and asked way coz I noted that all the other stores did, they said that in their case wasn’t necessary……..I’m reading all the comments and now I’m really worried……..
    Do I have a reason to be. Does anyone had the same experience as me?

    • avatar says

      Hi Manuel,
      Firstly, I must point out that not all retailers are VAT-registered businesses (the bigger ones usually are) and those that are usually have a sign in their shop window advertising tax-free shopping.
      What you need from H&M is a “Tax Refund Cheque” and these days this ‘cheque’ is mostly generated from the cash till machine. It is a long thin strip of paper with the words Tax Refund Cheque on it. You have to record your passport number and residential address on this form. There is no “stamp” that says tax free as you mentioned abov.
      To be eligible for VAT refund, the retailer would normally ask to see your passport or ID to prove that you’re not an EU resident. They will also usually provide you with an envelope from Global Blue, Premier Tax Free or whichever VAT refund agency they’re working with so that you can mail your VAT claim if you don’t have time at the airport.
      Check the receipt that H&M provided you and see if you have something that says Tax Refund Cheque. If not go back and see them again and bring along your passport.

      Kind regards,
      Helen Page

  24. avatarsarita says

    I got camera from japan, but i paid tax here in Netherlands, i dont have anything except of that tax receipt. So i would like to ask if i can apply for the tax refund when i go back to my country or not??

    • avatar says

      The EU VAT refund system is for goods purchased within the EU by non-EU residents. As your camera was bought from Japan, you’ll not be entitled to a VAT refund. Your Japanese retailer is not an EU VAT-registered business and therefore not able to issue you a Tax Refund Cheque which is what you’ll need to make your claim. Also, to be eligible for VAT refund, your camera must be unused and exported within 3 months of purchase.

      Helen Page

  25. avatarSunita says

    Hello Helen,

    I have bought very expensive things online, and I an going back to my home country next month.
    And I want to claim the tax refund at the airport with my receipt.
    How can I do it?

    • avatar says

      You must firstly have the tax refund forms or tax free cheques from the retailers that you bought goods from and these have to be stamped by Customs. Not all retailers participate in the tax refund scheme and usually goods bought online are not eligible for the refund scheme. An ordinary shop receipt does not qualify. If the shops you bought from are in the Netherlands you may wish to ask them if they can provide you with the tax refund forms.

      Helen Page

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