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 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!)
  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

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.

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.

Looking forward to your comments...


  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

  26. avatarALow says

    Hi Helen

    Thanks for your informative post. I just wanted to let you know that ABN Amro no longer provides refunds for Premier. You have no choice but to drop it into a box as there are no other counters available. Just hope it doesn’t get lost!

    • avatar says

      Hi Audra,
      Thank you for letting me know about ABN Amro no longer providing cash refunds for Premier. I’ve checked their website and it appears that they now use Travelex.

      If you’ve dropped your claim in their box, it should in theory not get lost, but I hope that you did make a copy of your forms so that you can followup online in case it “goes missing” in their system.

      I would be interested in knowing if and when you get your payment.

      Kind regards,

  27. avatarMC says


    Thanks for all the info shared above. It was very useful!

    I purchased bags from Venice and am leaving Italy via Amsterdam to the United States.

    My flight leaves at 6:30 am from Italy and only has one hour and 20 minutes layover at Amsterdam. Given that the Italian global blue office is not open at 6:30 am and i bearly have enough time to do tax refund at Amsterdam, when do you advise me to do?

    Also, if I want to try my luck at Amsterdam, do I need to exit the security, get the custom stamp, get the refund from the global blue desk, and re-enter security?? That seems troublesome. Is there an easier route where I don’t have to exit and re-enter?

    Thanks again!

  28. avatarKingsley says

    Please I want to ask how to go about it.Am travelling to lagos via Frankfurt from
    Amsterdam and they said I can stamp the duty free cheque at the final port of exit from EU.What do I do as I must have checked in in Amsterdam and the luggages can only come in Lagos as final destination.Please advice.

    • avatar says

      Hi Kingsley,

      If you are just having a short stopover in Frankfurt and your airline ticket is for Amsterdam-Lagos, they will allow you to do your VAT Refund at Schiphol since your checked bag (and shopping) will be going all the way to Lagos. Customs will want to see your airline ticket and boarding passes to check that you’re actually leaving the EU from Amsterdam. From your comment above, this seems to be your situation.

      However, if you have two separate airline tickets, i.e. Amsterdam-Frankfurt on one carrier and Frankfurt to Lagos on a different carrier, they will not process your VAT in Amsterdam. In this scenario you will be retrieving your bag in Frankfurt to check in for your next flight to Lagos. In this case, Frankfurt is is your point of exit and you will need to do your VAT claim here. Sometimes travellers do this by buying a budget flight for the European sector and then separate ticket for the main flight. So if you have two tickets like this, then Frankfurt is considered your final point of exit.

      Hope the above helps,


  29. avatarJosie says

    Dear Helen,

    I really need your suggestions for my below questions:

    1. In order to avoid the long queue at the Sciphol’s VAT refund, can I come earlier to claim it? (for example: one or two days before my departure date)

    2. I’ve purchased some goods at eurofleur and at some small shops and they reached more than ∈50 each bill. But I didnt get anything else then the payment receipt. What should I do? Can I go back to those stores another day or it should be on the same day?

    Thank you so much before.


    • avatar says

      Hi Josie,

      1. To claim your VAT refund, you (and your goods) must be leaving the EU, so it’s not possible to do it in advance of your departure. At Schiphol you can do your VAT claim before checking in for your flight, so I suggest that you go to the airport earlier and give yourself plenty of time.

      2. It is not compulsory for companies to participate in the VAT refund scheme and you’ll find that the smaller retailers don’t offer this service. For those that do, you’ll usually see the Tax Free Shopping logo in their shop window. You can go back to the stores that you bought from and ask them if they do the VAT refund form for you. Bring along your passport when you do this.

      If you’re doing any more shopping in Amsterdam, check with the shop first before you make your purchase.

      Kind regards,

  30. avatarJosie says

    Dear Helen,

    Thank you for your helpful reply.

    More questions:
    1. My plane will leave NL at 20.45 pm. Will the Global Blue office and custom office still open? Do you know their opening hours?

    2. If you were me, what time will you arrive at the airport?

    Thank you so much before.

    Warm regards,

    • avatar says

      Hi Josie,
      Below link to Global Blue website shows that their office in Departure 3 closes at 8:30 pm so you should be fine for Customs and Global Blue.

      Schiphol Airport recommends that international passengers get to the airport 3 hours before departure and I would follow that recommendation, especially as you have VAT to claim. If you have a lot of goods to claim for, you might consider an extra half an hour so you don’t feel stressed if there is a long queue.

      Schiphol is a nice airport so if you manage to get through quickly, it’s quite relaxing inside.

      Kind regards,

  31. avatarJosie says

    Dear Helen,

    Thank you for your prompt reply.
    I hope it will be my last questions:

    1. Can I open and throw away all the packages of thr items that I’ve bought? Or should I show the goods together with its packaging?

    2. Should I show EVERY SINGLE item that we bought? Will they check them one by one in details?

    Thats all for now.
    Thank you so much!

    Best regards,

  32. avatar says

    Hi Josie,

    1. You can throw away bulky packaging like shoe boxes and shopping bags, but I would leave the price tags and labels on as proof that the goods match the receipts and that they are new. For smaller items like watches or jewelry, I would keep them in their packaging.

    2. You must have ALL your shopping with you as Customs can do spot checks. If they ask to see an item and you don’t have it with you, then it will be disallowed, and it may be cause them to ask to see more items.

    If you have a lot of shopping and claims, they are more likely to ask to see one of your goods. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll get waived through.

    Kind regards,

  33. avatarclark says

    Thank you kindly for sharing this info. I just came back from Schipol and this website was a godsend. I got my stamp from customs w/o any issues!

    However, I was directed by the Information desk to Departures 3 to get my stamp even though I was all the way over in Departures 1. It’s quite hard to find too as it didn’t appear to be on any of the airport maps and took quite a bit of asking around. Not sure if there’s still an office in Departures 2.

    • avatar says

      Hi Clark,
      Thanks for your update and I’m glad that you got your VAT refund okay. I see on the Schiphol Airport website that they are undertaking some major renovations and that could be the reason for sending you to Departure 3. If I get anymore concrete information, I’ll update the post.

      Thanks and kind regards,

  34. avatarsanny nguyen says

    Hi Helen
    my situation is : I bought my stuff in paris and the retailer gave me the tax refund form of a company named Simply tax free but my last country before leaving Europe is Nertherlands so could you show me the steps I must take to get my tax refund at the Schiphol airport ( because I did not see the office of this tax company in schiphol airport ? Thank you so much

    • avatar says

      Apologies for the late reply. We are travelling ourselves and the internet has not been available at the places that we were visiting.
      The Simply Tax Free is a system where you take your VAT form to a PABLO barcode reader at Charles de Gaulle Paris airport and scan the barcode of your VAT form yourself. If your VAT form is in order, you will see a green message saying that your form is okay and you then proceed to one of the Cash Refund points to get your refund. This process does not require you to get a stamp from a Customs Officer.

      However, as you’ve missed to chance to use the PABLO barcode reader in Paris, you will just need to get a stamp from a Customs Officer at Schiphol Airport and then send in your stamp form and receipt to the Simply Tax Free office. The shop that you bought from would have given you an envelope with the address on it. Before you send in any forms, please make sure that you make a clear photocopy of the documents, just in case your forms go missing in the mail.

      All the best with your claim,

  35. avatarWina Yuwana says

    Hi, I was at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam claiming my tax refund for my handbag. However, the custom officer told me that I needed to go to gate F2 inside (after the immigration counter) because the price of my handbag is huge, and so they need to check it at gate F2. When I reached F2, a custom officer checked my receipt and my handbag. After which, there is no counter for cash refund. The officer asked me to mail all my receipt to Premier Tax. Can you help me on this? As I am confused because on the receipt, it was written cash refund and not credit card refund BUT at gate F2, there is NO premier tax counter to refund my money. Do you have Premier Tax customer service email address so I can share my problems with them and get my money back through credit card? Thanks. Hope to hear from you soon.


    • avatar says

      Hi Wina,
      Apologies for the late reply – we’re on the road in the U.S. and the internet is not always available.

      In regard to your VAT claim, I presume that you managed to get your documents stamped by the Customs Officer at Gate F2. Travelex handles the cash refund for Premier Tax Free at Schiphol, but as you’ve missed the opportunity to get your cash refund, w hat you now need to do now is send the stamped form and receipt to Premier Tax Free and ask for a refund to your credit card. You would have been given a Premier Tax Free envelope to send back your documents in.

      Make sure your include your credit card information on the form and make a copy of all your documents before you send them in. Things do go missing in the mail and if you don’t have copies, it’s hard to do any kind of follow up.

      You can get more information about Premier Tax Free at their website on

      Good luck,

  36. avatarSerene says

    Hi Helen,

    I did my purchases in Spain and try to do cash refund in Schiphol, which was my transit airport in EU.
    I had no problem getting my cash refund from Global Blue but was been told by the staff of Global Blue that cash refund counter for Premier Tax is located in the arrival hall before custom check. Having no choice, I dropped my tax refund envelope into the Premier Tax collection box, just next to the Global Blue refund counter. Big mistake as I did not take a copy of my form! I took for granted that since it is the Premier Tax collection box, it should reach them safely. How wrong was I. It has been a month before I am able to follow up on the status on my refund. To my horror, I received an email informing that they did not receive my forms!

    My question: the address on my prepaid Premier Tax envelope is in Spain, any idea if it will be handled by the Netherlands Premier Tax office or sent back to Premier Tax Spain. If it is the latter, would my mail be rejected due to insufficient postage? If so, any way I can retrieve my mail back?

    Are there other ways that I might have to get my refund back? I have 2 claim forms, 1 of them I have the tourist Copy of claim form, the other, I only have the original receipt.
    The refund amount is quite substantial and I’m feeling really lousy now :(

    Thank you in advance for your advise!

  37. avatar says

    Hi Serene,
    I’m sorry to hear of your Premier Tax Free VAT refund problems. I am not aware of how Premier Tax Free processes claims that are dropped in the box at the airport. If it were sent back to Spain you wouldn’t need to worry about insufficient postage as the envelopes are postage-paid for Europe.

    Unfortunately, once you’ve dropped your claim in the box, it is not possible to retrieve it. Can I suggest that you contact Premier Tax Free in the Netherlands ( and find out who actually handles the claim, i.e. the Netherlands or Spain and see if they can advise you on what to do.

    If you tourist copy of the claim form has a document number, you can try and track your refund on their system:

    As you’ve indicated that your refund amount is quite substantial, it’s worthwhile trying to trace it.

    I hope your attempts will be duly rewarded.

    Kind regards,

  38. avatarAbdur-Rahman Y. Abdullah says

    Hi, I was at Schiphol Airport in February 2015, Amsterdam claiming my tax refund. There is no counter for cash refund. The officer asked me to fill an application and include all my receipts to a drop box. I wrote my credit card number. I got no feedback. Do you have any customer service email address so I can share my problems with them and get my money back through credit card? Thanks. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Abdur-Rahman Y. Abdullah

  39. avatarYaron says

    The Customs tax free validation desk is actually located now at Departure hall 3, next to desk 29-30.
    (I could not find the one in Departure hall 2 and was refereed to this desk by Airport information).

    The desk is closed at night (between 22:00 – 6:00), however there is a phone number to call at night and someone arrives within minutes after calling.

    The desk is right next to the Global Blue.

    • avatar says

      Hi Yaron,
      Thank you for providing the updated information on the location of the Customs Tax Free Validation Desk. It seems that the Tax Free Validation desk location has changed since I was last there and I appreciate your update which will help other travellers.

      Kind regards,

  40. avatarLisa says

    Dear Helen,

    I am flying out of Bucharest through Amsterdam to US. I have only an hour layover at schipohl which probably isn’t enough time but if I carry my items in my hand luggage where is the custom validation desk located in terminal? My understanding is that I can get a validation in the terminal when I transfer? I do not have enough time to go to departure and then back through security and passport control. Is it in gate D area? I was looking at airport map but hard to tell. Thank you!

    • avatar says

      Hi Lisa,

      Apologies for the late reply as we’re on the road at the moment.

      It appears that there is no VAT Refund services at Bucharest Airport, but you can get your Customs Stamp there. I note that a query was asked on the TripAdvisor forum in 2013 and the response from the Bucharest Customs was “Customs office is located in the International Departures Terminal, after security check and border police”. You may wish to get an update by emailing I suggest you try this option first as one hour at Schiphol Airport doesn’t leave you plenty of time, even if there are no delays.

      According to the Schiphol Airport map that I looked at, the VAT Validation Desk is at Gate F. It’s an image of a customs officer with a stamp next to it. There may not be any Vat Refund desk there, in which case you’ll need to send in your documents by mail. This can be done from back home as well. Before you put anything in the mail, be sure to take a copy of all your forms so that you’ll be able to chase up your refund if things go missing in the mail, which they do.

      Enjoy your shopping and all the best with your VAT claims.

      Kind regards,

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