Tax Free Shopping FAQs
The Tax Free Shopping FAQ section answers most of your questions about Tax Free Shopping and Global Blue Card programme. If you cannot find the answer here or by using one of our tools to the right, you can contact us via our contact us forms
How do I get my tax refund using Global Blue Tax Free Shopping?
Follow three simple steps to save money while shopping abroad which you can find here
In which countries can I shop tax free through Global Blue?
Tax Free Shopping is available in the following countries:Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. Please consult the Rules and Regulations of the country of purchase by clicking the links on our Tax Free Shopping map.
Can I shop tax free in Norway and Switzerland?
Yes. If you are not a resident of Norway, Sweden, Finland or Denmark you are eligible for refund from purchases made in Norway. Tax Free Form issued in Norway must be validated by a Global Blue Refund Office within 1 month following the date of purchase. For further information please consult the Rules and Regulations of Norway.
If you are not a resident of Switzerland you are eligible for refund from purchases made in Switzerland. Tax Free Form issued in Switzerland must be validated by Customs within 30 days following the date of purchase. For further information please consult the Rules and Regulations of Switzerland.
What are the rules of Tax Free Shopping?
Each country has its own specific rules for reclaiming VAT on shopping purchases. Please see regulations according to the country of your purchase by clicking the links on our Tax Free Shopping map.
Does Tax Free Shopping apply for services (hotel stay, restaurant bills, etc.)?
No. Services, although taxable, are not eligible for VAT refunds through Global Blue. There are other companies that deal with reclaim of business taxes, which allows reclaiming tax on car hire, restaurant and hotel bills etc.
Does Tax Free Shopping apply to goods that are shipped, sent by courier or bought on the Internet?
No. In general, Global Blue Tax Free Shopping only applies to goods that are bought at affiliated stores and exported in your luggage. Please consult the Rules and Regulations to see in which countries the shipping is allowed by clicking the links on our Tax Free Shopping map.
Can I use the purchased goods before export?
No. Goods purchased must be available to Customs in the original package. Otherwise they can refuse to stamp your Tax Free Form.
How do I fill in my Tax Free Form?
Ask for the Tax Free Form from the retailer at the time of purchase. There are two types of Tax Free Forms: one blue, one white. Fill in all the required fields in block letters, using the Latin alphabet.
How to fill in a Tax Free Form
1. Write your passport number.
2. Write your full name (first name and family name).
3. Enter your complete address.
4. Write your post code and city of residence.
5. Write your country.
6. Write your e-mail address. It may simplify future communication with Global Blue.
Remember to sign the form. Please make sure your personal details are filled in correctly before you arrive at the airport. Incomplete Form = No Refund.
I am resident in a territory that is outside EU VAT regime and therefore I am eligible for VAT refund from EU countries. What should I do to have my Tax Free From processed?
If you are resident in one of the following territories: Agio Oros/Mount Athos (Greece), Busingen (Germany), Campione d'Italia (Italy), Canary Islands (Spain), Ceuta (Spain), Gibraltar (UK), Channel Islands-Jersey & Guernse (UK), Heligoland (Germany), Livigno (Italy), Melilla (Spain) Faroe Islands (Denmark), Greenland (Denmark), Netherlands Antilles, Andorra (Spain), San Marino (Italy), Vatican State (Italy), Liechtenstein, French Oversea Territories ( French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte Island) please, make sure the name of the territory is indicated in your Tax Free Form under address and follow the local rules of Tax Free Shopping.
How do I obtain an export validation?
When you are leaving the country to head home or to continue your journey, take your purchases, receipt and passport to the Customs desk* to get your Tax Free Form validated. Make sure the goods are unused. Don’t pack away your purchases in your check-in luggage as you will need to show them to the Customs Officer. Please allow enough time for the refund process before your flight departs.
* Remember: No Customs Stamp = No Refund
** For purchases bought in Norway the export validation is to be obtained from the agents at Global Blue Customer Service Centres. If you leave the European Union by train or by car, your Tax Free Form must be validated at your final point of departure from EU.
What if I leave the EU through another member state (connecting/transit flight)?
If you are travelling on to another EU country, for goods in hold baggage get the export validation on your Tax Free Form at the airport where you check in and for goods in hand baggage at your final point of departure from EU.
Remember: No Customs Stamp = No Refund
How do I receive the refund if I didn’t manage to receive an export validation on my Tax Free Form?
Obtaining an export validation is one of the main conditions of Tax Free Shopping. It proves that the purchased goods were exported from the country of purchase to your home country. However, rules and regulations in some countries offer the possibility to obtain an additional export validation.
●For Tax Free Form issued in an EU country, it is necessary to go through an EU Customs again, re-export the goods and obtain an EU Customs stamp within the requested time limit.
●For Tax Free Form issued in any other country, it is required to obtain the export validation as indicated in Rules and Regulations of the country of purchase.
How do I calculate my refund?
The VAT (or GST in some countries) is a percentage added on top of list prices. For example: if the VAT rate is 20% and a dress is displayed at €100, including VAT, the VAT amounts to €16.50. (Dress price: €83.5 + 20% VAT = €100.) The refund amount will thus be €16.50, minus a service fee.
If you would like to know how much you are getting back for your purchase, consult the Refund Calculator on our website.
Why was a currency conversion fee applied to my refund?
If you received the refund by sending the Tax Free Form to Global Blue, and your local currency is different than the currency in which the Tax Free Form had been issued, the current "we sell" rate of a recognized European retail Bank, plus 3-5%, will be applied for the currency conversion.
For the refund to credit card, your account will always be credited in your local currency; or in the currency in which the credit card was issued. Please refer to the article REFUND RULES on your Tax Free Form.
Can I change my refund option?
Yes. If you have already submitted your Tax Free Form to Global Blue Processing Centre but it has not yet been processed, it is still possible to change the option you originally chose. If you have such query, please contact the Global Blue Customer service Centre using the Contact Us Form.
In which currency can I get cash at the Refund Office?
An Immediate Refund will always be paid in the currency of the country where the Refund Office is located. Alternatively, if a different currency is selected, the current ”we buy” rate of a recognized Bureau de Change at the same location as where the refund is presented will be applied for the currency conversion.
Global Blue reserves the right of choosing the appropriate refund method in exceptional cases at its reasonable discretion.
I want to receive the refund to my credit card. Does it have to be the same credit card that I used for paying in the shop?
No. You can receive the refund on a different credit card as well (you don’t need to be the holder). The credit card account will always be credited in the currency in which the credit card was issued. If the currency of your credit card is not recognized, the amount will be credited in US Dollars.
How do I get cash at the airport?
Go to a Refund Office displaying the Global Blue logo. Present your export validated, completed Tax Free Forms, shop receipts and your passport to receive your refund in cash or to your credit card. Please observe that at some Refund Offices a cash handling fee per “Form” will be charged should you require an Immediate Refund in cash.
Please find the closest Refund Office here.
If you are in a rush, mail your export validated, completed Tax Free Forms back to Global Blue using the prepaid envelope and receive your refund to your credit card, bank account or bank cheque as specified on your Tax Free Form.
Can I authorize a 3rd party to cash my refund at Refund Office?
Yes. The 3rd party must present the original Tax Free Form, their own passport, a copy of the buyer´s passport and duly filled-in Proxy signed by the buyer. Please note that the Refund Office reserves the right not to pay the refund to a 3rd party.
Proxy can be downloaded here.
How to cash the bank cheque?
The international bank cheque is issued with the clause ”account payee only”, which means that it must be presented to your bank and deposited with your personal bank account. Global Blue bank cheques do not state any expiry date. The validity of the bank cheque may vary depending on the bank and the country where the cheque is deposited. Please note that any bank fees or minimum deposit amount for cashing our cheques are decided by your bank and are beyond our sphere of influence.
What can I do if the bank cheque I received from your company is not valid for refunding or has expired?
Please return the bank cheque to the postal address* stated below along with the filled-in letter "Reissue Request"
For standard and registered mail:
810 00 Bratislava
Prievozska 4D/Block E
821 09 Bratislava
*We recommend you to use registered mail in order to reduce the possibility of loss of documents in postal system.
How can I get my refund back?
Global Blue offers a wide range of refund options:
(a) Refund in cash or to credit card at one of the Refund Offices located at major airports or by sending completed* Tax Free Form to Global Blue:
(b) Refund to credit card (Visa, Master Card, Amex, Diners, JCB and CUP)
© To a bank account:
●To € bank account issued in Eurozone for Tax Free Forms issued in Eurozone.
●To bank account issued in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and UK. Please note that the country of purchase and issuing country of bank account must match.
(d) Refund to Alipay – ZhiFuBao (available for Chinese customers).
(e) Bank cheque sent to your home address
*How to fill in a Tax Free Form
Where to send my Tax Free Form?
You can send your Tax Free Forms using the prepaid envelope available at all affiliated stores. We recommend using safer mail service, e.g. registered mail.
In case you have lost the prepaid envelope, please use an ordinary envelope for sending your Tax Free Form to our Processing Centre:
For standard and registered mail:
810 00 Bratislava
Prievozska 4D/Block E
821 09 Bratislava
You have to make sure that your Tax Free Form is export validated by the Customs and your Tax Free Form is completed with all personal information, and that all necessary documents as stated in Rules and Regulations of the country of your purchase are enclosed. It is recommended that you make a photocopy of your Tax Free Form, or to note the ID of the Tax Free Form (“DOC ID”) for your future reference.
When will I receive my refund?
Refunds are processed within following time limits:
●5 working days applies to refunds processed at Refund Office and paid to a credit card.●For Tax Free Form sent to Global Blue the following applies:
●21 calendar days* for refunds paid to a credit card, bank account or bank cheque
●10 calendar days* for refunds to an Alipay account
* from receipt of Tax Free Form by mail
I paid for my purchases by credit card. Will my credit card information be automatically registered on the Tax Free Form?
No. The credit card you used in the shop is not automatically registered. Please write your credit card number to the appropriate section on your Tax Free Form.
What information do I need for being able to track my refund?
For tracking your refund you always need: (i) ID of the Tax Free Form (“DOC ID”) which you can find under the barcode of your Tax Free Form
(ii) Country of purchase
(iii) Name of the buyer
(iv) Credit card number
For tracking you refund online via the Refund Tracker, you need the ID of the Tax Free Form (“DOC ID”) which you can find under the barcode of your Tax Free Form, and the Country of purchase.
How do I track my refund?
Once you submitted your Tax Free Form stamped by Customs, the status of your refund can be easily tracked online via the Refund Tracker on our website. You need the ID of the Tax Free Form (“DOC ID”) which you can find under the barcode of your Tax Free Form, and the Country of purchase.
For this purpose, it is recommended to make a photocopy of your Global Blue Form, or to note the ID of the Tax Free Form (“DOC ID”).
Why was my credit card debited?
You probably opted for Early Refund, and received your refund before exporting the goods outside the country of purchase. In this case you were obliged to get your Tax Free Form export validated and delivered to Global Blue within 21 days.
The refund will be paid back to your credit card if Global Blue receives your export validated Tax Free Form within its validity. Please be informed the penalty fee (x%) was applied and cannot be paid back.
Please be aware that the penalty fee will be applied to cover additional administration. Please refer to the terms and conditions on the Traveller Declaration that you received and signed at the Refund Office.
How can I track the refund payment on my bank statement?
Your refund payment appears as “Global Blue Tax Free” or “Tax Free shopping” on your statement. The processing time of credit card companies or banks is excluded. In case you have already received a confirmation of your refund payment from Customer Service and you are still unable to track your refund we advise you to contact your bank for further information on the refund payment.
In which currency will I receive the refund if I chose credit card as the refund option?
The credit card account will always be credited in the currency in which the credit card was issued. If the currency of your credit card is not recognized, the amount will be credited in US Dollars.
In which currency will my bank cheque be issued?
Global Blue can issue bank cheques in the following currencies: EUR, CAD, DKK, USD, HKD, JPY, GBP, and CHF.
The currency of your bank cheque is determined by your residence country. Residents of countries where local currencies are supported will receive bank cheques issued in their local currency; unless a different currency is preferred. Residents of countries where the currency is not supported will receive bank cheques issued in US Dollars.
What is DOC ID number and where can I find it?
Doc ID number is an identification number of a Tax Free Shopping transaction. It is an unique number composed of 20 or 16 digits. It can be found under the barcode of a Tax Free Form.
What is the Global Blue Card programme?
Full FAQs about the Global Blue Card are available here.
To become a Global Blue Card holder enrol online.
What should I do if I have issues with Global Blue mobile application/ Global Blue website?
Please contact our Customer Service at email@example.com for further assistance.