Enviroment: I have D visa which issued by Netherlands, but my plans had changed, I'm not gonna apply for mvv anymore. I'm Russian residental, but not going to stay there much and soon leaving for another (non-EU) country. Question: May I expect refund for goods I am going to buy here in Amsterdam? I've searched and found pretty same question about Slovenia and Turkey, but I am still not sure it's the same in my situation. I also not familiar with the whole procedure, I'd love to know more about full process.


2 Answers 2


You can only get a refund, if your permanent residence is outside the EU; the item is more than 50 EUR, the item is unused, and it has been less than 90 days since you bought it.

A "D" visa (which is a long stay visa - longer than 90 days at a time) is not a permanent residence visa; and a mvv (which is a residence permit) is only required in certain circumstances.

Therefore, you are not classified as someone whose permanent residence is within the EU and can avail the tax free status on goods; although you must exit with the goods within 90 days of purchase.

How do they determine your permanent residency? The EU site on taxation and customs has the following to say. I have highlighted the important part:

A ‘visitor’ is any person who permanently or habitually lives in a country outside the EU. Your address as shown in your passport or other identity document will be taken as the place where you permanently or habitually live.

The process itself is very simple:

  1. You need to get a VAT exemption receipt from the vendor. It comes in a blue envelope.

  2. Just a reminder - the item has to be sealed, unused. If you opened the item, you cannot claim a refund on it. This means, if you removed the shrink wrap, opened the box, inspected the item, never turned it on and replaced it in the box ... you cannot claim a refund. Trust me on this one.

  3. You can claim a refund upto 90 days of the date of purchase.

  4. To claim the refund, is a two step process. First, the customs officers stamp your receipt; then you take this receipt; your filled in form to the reclaim desk. The reclaim desk can either refund you on your credit card (it doesn't have to be the one you purchased the items on) or send you a money transfer. I find the card option is the easiest.

  5. So, first step is to get a stamp from the customs desk. There are two main areas at Schiphol where you can get this stamp. One is before check-in at Departures 3; the second is after check-in near Lounge 3. The customs officers have to visually inspect the item; which is why the main desk is located before the check-in counters.

    • If you are only having carry-on luggage, go directly to immigration and head to the secondary counter; which has both customs and reclaims. The primary counter always has a large waiting line.

    • If you are having check-in luggage, you can get the stamp at the counter in Departures 3, and then head to the reclaim desk at Lounge 3.

    • The lines get very long, so plan on adding an additional hour or hour and 30 minutes in order to ensure you clear the customs and refund process.

  • +1 for the detailed information on the procedure to follow. - The answer might benefit from a little more emphasis on the condition of non-EU residency, in my opinion, as that seems to be the most important part in the context of the question. Oct 26, 2016 at 6:28
  • The first few paragraphs are confused and confusing. Where is this notion of “permanent” residence coming from? Indeed, the official guidance you quote reads “permanently or habitually”. You can certainly enter the Schengen area with a D visa and the intent to turn it into long-term residence, and it would then be illegal to claim a VAT rebate. For all I know, even staying for a year while always planning to return to your country of origin might qualify as residing “habitually” in the EU…
    – Relaxed
    Oct 26, 2016 at 7:02
  • That's not to say it would not be possible to do it in this case but that would be because of the OP's change of intent and/or the fact that the customs does not check visas, not because of this permanent residence mumbo-jumbo.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 26, 2016 at 7:04

The EU Law says anyone even an EU Citizen is entitled for TaxFree VAT Refund if the person is mainly living outside of the EU Member States.

That can be proven by a address/municipality registration of the non-EU Country or a resident permit card.

If you want to get stamped by Netherlands Customs your TaxFree paper they will see instantly if you are registered at the Municipality(Gemeente). If you are registered at the Gemeente you will have no change to get stamped your TaxFree Form even if you are non EU Citizen.

It´s basically because anyone registered in Netherlands has the status of living in Netherlands/EU.

You can de-register from the Gemeente and get the status eligible for TAX-Free Refund.

For more tips&tricks to get your most TAX Refund please contact us or read our Information blog on Social Media.

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    Feb 25, 2018 at 17:28

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