Sorry if I'm new to this board and not sure how questions are to be phrased. I'm British and am hoping to study in the US next year for 1 year. I'm not sure if I will stay the full year as my academic term is only about 10 months long, but will probably get an F-1 Visa which should be for about a year. I will only be buying a one way ticket as I will buy a return ticket closer to the time. I was hoping to buy a new phone sometime in the near future and note that phones in the US tend to be about 15% cheaper than phones here for the exact same thing. However I remembered that foreigners can claim VAT back which would make phones here cheaper.

Is this possible if I'm natively British?

  • 1
    Note that you'll probably have to pay import VAT when you bring the phone back into the UK. – David Richerby Apr 16 '19 at 21:28
  • Note also that depending on how and where you buy the phone in the US, state sales tax may be added on top at point of sale. – MadHatter Apr 17 '19 at 6:51

You are asking about the VAT Retail Export Scheme. This is a copy/paste from Notice 704 (link below) you would be eligible if you fulfill the conditions:

2.4.3 Entitled EU residents For the purposes of this scheme only, a customer who’s established in the EU but intends to permanently leave the EU for a minimum period of 12 months may also be treated as an overseas visitor. To qualify under this provision, the customer must:

intend to leave the UK with the goods by the last day of the third month following that in which the goods were purchased for an immediate destination outside the EU

remain outside the EU for a period of at least 12 months,

the customer must prove their eligibility to use the scheme by providing evidence of their intention to remain outside the EU for at least 12 months, typically this evidence would be one of the following: overseas work permit approved visa application residency permit

export the goods having produced them, their receipts, and the VAT refund document to a customs officer at the point of departure from the EU. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-retail-export-scheme-notice-704#para2-4

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