How to Claim your Tax Refund at Rome Fiumicino Airport

If you’re planning on doing some real shopping in Rome and intend claiming the VAT refund, the Customs process has changed a little as we found out this week.

Non-EU residents who purchase goods to the value of Euro 155 or more from the one shop are entitled to claim a VAT refund, but you have to go through a couple of hoops before getting your tax refunded.

Read our blog HERE on the current process at Rome Fiumicino Airport’s Terminal C.


  1. Comment by terri

    I left Fiumicino airport on 22/6 and proceeded through Immigration to the VAT counter after check in with boarding pass in hand.
    The procedure I had to follow was step 1: get all your tax refund documents stamped on a separate line. Step 2: there were three counters – Global Blue, Tax Free, yellow forms only that you have to queue separately to claim the cash refunds.
    I took Helen’s advice and decided to pass through immigration with my boarding pass and goods with me. I did arrive at the airport and was at the VAT refund counters 3 hours before boarding. I translated a few phrases into Italian pertaining to documents and that I was carrying the goods with me for them to inspect. They did not inspect the goods but asked me if I had my purchases with me to which you answer “Si”. The little Italian I blurted out like Buona Sera and Come va really helped and there were no questions asked except “oh you speak Italian” to which you answer “un poco”. The officer happily stamped everything quickly as I was smiling sweetly at him and I said Grazie.
    I then chose the longest line which was Global Blue for the cash refund, it took about 40 mins because the Chinese have bundles of tax refund forms, they travel in packs and tend to allow their friends to push in front of you. I then went to the other cash refund counter at which the queue was not too bad, in the meantime I asked the guy in front of me if he would mind my spot whilst I went to the 3rd and last yellow counter (with no queue) and obtained the refund quickly. I then returned to my saved spot and waited. The Chinese are very rude and will ask you to let them in because they have to board a flight. I understand Chinese and I told them to send it in the mail, alternatively you can tell their tour leader to get some envelopes and send the forms. I found the whole procedure ok but time consuming and you have to be very direct with the Chinese and tell them that they have to wait their turn and not let their friends push in. One group took 20 mins. They also seem to irritate the counter staff, so if you can exercise some niceties it helps a lot.

  2. Comment by Helen Page

    Hi Terri,
    Thank you very much for taking the time to share your VAT experience here. I can appreciate how infuriated you were by the groups of people who jump queues and don’t do the right thing and cause other people to stand in the line for much longer. I think when the customs officials are faced with group tourists like this, they get irritated as well. I myself waited 40 minutes behind a Taiwanese group and the Customs official decided to check every receipt against the goods bought and in the end I didn’t have time to get a cash refund. I put my stamped documents in the dedicated mail box and never got a refund.
    Yes, it can be a real pain and time-consuming, but at least you got all your refund. Well done for being polite with the customs official and practicising your “un poco Italiano”. We always believe that when you treat people politely, they will respond.
    I’m aware of Global Blue and Premier Tax Free, but I’m not familiar with this “yellow forms only” line. I would appreciate it if you could provide a little more details as to what this yellow form is.

    Thanks and kind regards,

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