VAT Refund for Visitors

Signage pointing the customs and VAT refund office is seen in a Duty Free store at Malta International Airport in Luqa, Malta August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi - RC1EFC31C6D0

Tourists and visitors can claim refund on VAT paid on purchases they made during their stay in the UAE. Recovery of payment will be done through a fully integrated electronic system which connects retailers registered in the ‘Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme’ with all ports of entry and exit from the UAE. Read the details.

Applicable date for Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme
From 18 November 2018, eligible tourists in the UAE will be able to request refunds on the Value Added Tax (VAT) incurred on their purchases while there are in the UAE. Only tax invoices issued from 18 November 2018 will qualify eligible tourists to reclaim taxes on their purchases.

Planet is the exclusive operator of the tax refund system for tourists which Federal Tax Authority executes in the UAE. Read more about VAT refunds for tourists.

Conditions for tourists to claim their VAT refunds
For a tourist to claim VAT refund on purchases he made in the UAE, he must fulfill certain conditions:

Goods must be purchased from a retailer who is participating in the ‘Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme’
Goods are not excluded from the Refund Scheme of the Federal Tax Authority
He must have the explicit intention to leave the UAE in 90 days from the date of supply, along with the purchased supplies
He must export the purchased goods out of the UAE within three months from the date of supply
The process of purchase and export of goods must be carried out according to the requirements and procedures determined by Federal Tax Authority.

Read how you can shop tax free in the UAE.

Where and how can tourists claim VAT refund for their shopping
Federal Tax Authority has allocated spaces where tourists can reclaim taxes through a fully electronic system managed in partnership with a global operator. Tourists will receive their refunds through a special device placed at the departure port – airport, seaport, or border port – by submitting the tax invoices for their purchases from the outlets registered in the Scheme, along with copies of their passport and credit card.

Once these documents are submitted, tourists can either recover the VAT in cash in UAE dirhams, or have it transferred to their credit card. Until October 2018, 4,000 retail outlets across the UAE were connected electronically to the system.

These eligible outlets can be identified with posters displayed on their storefronts and visible to visitors.

Updated on 24 Jul 2019