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 Tax Free Validation Stamp
The Customs Tax Free Validation desk is now in Departure Hall 3, next to check-in desks 29 and 30. If your check-in is in Departure Halls 1 or 2, I suggest that you confirm the location of the Tax Free Validation Desk with the Airport Information Desk first before walking to Departure Hall 3.
- 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)
I’ve been told by one of our readers that the desk is closed at night (between 22:00 – 6:00), however there is a phone number to call at night and someone will come within minutes to assist you with the tax free validation.
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 –
- There is a Global Blue desk just next to Tax Free Validation Desk. 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 cash payment at Travelex. (Note: Cash refunds were previously available through ABN-Amro, but it appears that Premier now uses Travelex. Travelex operating hours are between 06:00-20:30. If anyone has used the Travelex for their cash refund, I’d appreciate it if you could let me know if there is anything to be aware of.)
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.
Information on the Tax Free Validation desk location and procedures can change from time to time and we rely on our readers to provide us with any updates. If you’ve recently been through Schiphol Airport and have updated information, please leave a comment here.