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VAT in UAE : How to Claim VAT Refund in UAE for Tourist

In November of 2018, the government of the United Arab Emirates collaborated with the Federal Tax Authority in enabling eligible tourists for the processing of reclaim requests for Value Added Tax on all eligible purchases during their stay within the country.

The processing of VAT refund in Dubai for tourists is possible through the integrated electronic system that was introduced just right after the implementation of the current VAT rate of five percent on purchases. Retailers that have been approved for the Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists and are connected to the integrated electronic system are considered as eligible for VAT refunds for tourists.

Read More: VAT Registration Threshold Calculation in UAE

Self-service Kiosks - How to Claim VAT Refund in Dubai Airport

Two years following the implementation of VAT and VAT refund scheme for tourists how to claim vat refund in Dubai airport, the VAT Recovery Self-Service Kiosks that are for tourists to process their refunds have been expanded. Self-service kiosks were only previously available at departure points. They were spread across UAE airports, as well as other ports with automated service that aids the process through the identification of the eligibility for tax recovery, verification of the applicants that purchased goods or products, enabling them to reclaim tax.

But now, they are available at major hotels and shopping malls across the UAE in addition to those that are inland, maritime, and air exit and entry ports.

The expansion is aimed at providing additional services for tourists and to enhance the status of the country as the leading destination for tourism. The company that was given the authorization by the Federal Tax Authority in operating the Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists' electronic system, Planet, debuted 9 self-service kiosks. This is only the first stage of the implementation of the plan.

They are yet to set up a lot more in several different hotels and shopping malls across the country. The kiosks that are in different emirates have been equipped with the latest state-of-the-art tech, which allows tourists in processing their requests of tourists VAT refunds in UAE.

In a statement that was issued by the Federal Tax Authority, the kiosks are meant for faster processing of VAT recovery requests. In addition, tourists can now recover VAT just from their hotels or in major malls in UAE in just a matter of a couple of minutes.

Set Up of New Self-service Kiosks

An applicant or tourist can scan a boarding pass which is required in proving that he or she is set to leave the country in the following 24 hours. Other requirements for processing VAT refunds are the original passport or the identity card of a GCC national. Simple instructions are to be followed which will be displayed at the kiosks upon processing. The Federal Tax Authority also revealed that 55 brand new kiosks for VAT refunds processing will be set up by the end of 2025. Thirty of the self-service kiosks will be in hotels.

Tourists are able to submit VAT recovery requests for taxes that have been incurred on purchases within the country as soon as they’re about to leave the country. An applicant has to submit a tax invoice on a purchase that has a ‘tax-free’ sticker, which was issued by a retail outlet that was registered in the refund scheme electronic system.

A passport and credit are the other requirements for VAT recovery processing.  no limit will be placed on how much can be recovered by a tourist if the tax was charged to the credit card of the tourist. However, if the applicant wants a refund in cash, the maximum amount that can be recovered is AED 7,000 each day. The process may be performed at a self-service kiosk or in a tax refund office that is located at a port of exit in the UAE.

Goods That Are Not Eligible for VAT Recovery

All VAT on goods or products may be processed for refund except the ones that fall in any of these categories:

  • Boats, motor vehicles, and aircraft;
  • Goods that applicants don’t have with them by the time they leave from the country;
  • Products that were consumed fully or partially in the country;
  • Products that were consumed in any implementing GCC state

We recommend that tourists leave more than enough time in processing validations for VAT refunds prior to their departure. For instance, arrive at the port of exit one or two hours earlier prior to the flight departure.

Find more info - VAT Return Filing Issues In UAE

Who is Eligible for Vat Refunds for Tourists in UAE?

Not all tourists are able to reclaim VAT on purchases that were made whilst in the UAE. Under current legislation, traveling tourists need to fall within any of these categories for them to be eligible for the refund scheme for tourists:

  • GCC nationals;
  • Travelers aged 18+ that are not UAE residents;
  • Not crew members of flights that leave the UAE

If you have questions or concerns related to the VAT refund scheme of UAE for tourists, don’t hesitate to give our vat consultant in Dubai a call!

Ervee is a CPA with international experience in Tax and Accounting. He has over 12 years of experience in accounting and bookkeeping and over a year in VAT implementation, registration, and accounting in UAE. He regularly drives out inefficiencies in company operations and loves the challenge of helping clients find additional ways for an easier and improved compliance and verification of transactions.