Only overseas tourists who are 18 years and above are eligible for a VAT refund on eligible purchases made during their visit to the UAE. “Overseas tourist” means any natural person who is not resident in any of the Implementing States and who is neither a crew member on a flight or aircraft leaving an Implementing State, nor a ship crew member.
What is the minimum spend eligible for a VAT refund transaction?
The minimum spend to be eligible for a VAT refund transaction is AED 250 (Dirhams)
Are services eligible for a VAT refund?
All goods that have a VAT amount are eligible for a VAT refund except:
Perishable goods that have been consumed, fully or partly, in the UAE.
Motor vehicles, boats and aircraft.
Goods that are not accompanied by the overseas tourist at the time of leaving the UAE.
Goods purchased online.
Goods that have been used, fully or partly, in the UAE and are not accompanied by the original packaging.
What percentage of VAT will be received as a refund?
You will receive 87% of the total VAT amount paid, minus a fee of AED 4.80 per tax free transaction.
What do I do after I have completed a purchase at a store?
After you have completed your purchase, please confirm with the store(s) if they are registered with Planet Tax Free for the VAT refund for tourists, if the store staff has not offered this service to you already. Please note that if a merchant is not registered with Planet, you will not be able to claim a VAT refund on your purchases.
What should I do before I leave the store that is registered with Planet?
If you have shopped at a merchant/store that is registered with Planet, you must ensure that you are provided with a tax invoice which reflects your name (if applicable), as mentioned in your passport/GCC ID along with either the Planet tax free tag affixed to the back of the tax invoice or, a digital tax free transaction accessible through the Shopper Portal after you have completed your shopping. Please retain the original invoice/sales receipt and tax free transaction as you will need this to complete your validation process when you leave the UAE.
If there is a mismatch in your name appearing on the invoice versus your passport or your tax free transactions are not visible on the Shopper Portal, please ensure that you bring this to the attention of the store staff for rectification to enable you to claim the VAT refund on your purchases.
What if no Tax Free Tag was issued by merchant?
Without a tax free transaction being issued to your passport number/GCC ID, we will be unable to process your request. You must complete the validation of such purchases within 90 days from the purchase (tax invoice) date. You can access the Shopper Portal to ensure that all your purchases eligible for a VAT refund are successfully issued by merchants registered with Planet, so that you can proceed with the validation process at the time of your departure from the UAE.
The merchant could not issue a transaction to me on account of a system alert message stating that my ID/passport has not been approved by the United Arab Emirates governmental authorities as qualifying for Tax Free Shopping. What can I do to rectify this?
Planet's system validates the status of your passport/GCC ID with the Immigration and Citizenship Agency to determine your eligibility as the tourist. Please ensure that you provide the merchant with the same ID that was used to enter UAE. The system alert message means that you have been considered 'Not eligible' for Tax Free Shopping.
If the merchant is unable to issue a tax free transaction to you on account of a 'Not eligible' status, you will have to directly contact Immigration and Citizenship Authority by visiting any of their offices to verify accuracy of your record in their system.
I could not visit Planet's Validation points to validate my purchases, how can I claim a VAT refund?
Without this step taking place, we will be unable to process your refund
You cannot receive a VAT refund unless a tax free transaction is issued by the retailer and is validated by Planet.
You are solely responsible for obtaining such export validation at the time of your departure from the UAE.
As per FTA rules, a VAT refund can only be processed if the purchased goods are validated by the tourist, with the original tax invoice(s) at our validation points located across the UAE exit points.
Please ensure that you obtain all information regarding VAT refunds from Planet Tax Free staff only.
Note that you can come back to UAE with the goods within 90 days from the date of purchase and approach our team at the exit point to export validate your goods.
What do I need to present at Planet's validation points on the date of my travel from the UAE?
You must be able to present all your goods along with the original tax invoices for which you wish to claim a VAT refund at the time of your departure, to our validation staff for inspection. Please also carry original Passport/GCC IDs as no copies or photos will be accepted.
No one other than registered passport holder can initiate or complete the validation process.
Can I get details of all my tax free transactions digitally?
Access the Shopper Portal by clicking the link sent to you via SMS sent to your registered phone number, to view all your tax free transactions. If you have a Planet tax free tag attached to the back of your tax invoice, you can scan the QR code to direct you to the Shopper Portal. In case you are unable to see any details of your purchases, this would most likely mean that the merchant has not issued the transaction successfully and you will have to revisit their store or contact them for a resolution.
What is the timeframe within which I am required to complete the validation process?
Once your transactions are issued, you have 90 days to validate your goods at Planet's validation points from each respective tax invoice date, at the time of your departure from the UAE. You must leave the UAE within 6 hours of completing the validation process. Failure to do so will result in your refund being cancelled, and you will be required to restart the validation process during your actual date of departure.
I completed the validation process but could not exit the UAE 6 hours after the validation, what am I required to do?
Please inform our staff at the time of your rescheduled flight, in order for them to reinitiate validation of your purchases and approve your VAT refund for processing onto the card of your choice.
Will I be eligible for a VAT refund if I have already shipped my goods through cargo services?
Goods exported from the UAE through cargo services are not eligible for a VAT refund. To be eligible for a VAT refund, you must export your goods with you at the time of your departure from the UAE within 90 days from the date of purchase of goods (reflected in the tax invoice). You must be able to present your travel document ID, original tax invoice with your name matching that on your travel document, tax free transaction and goods before you exit from the UAE.
What are the available refund methods I can choose from?
After you have validated your goods, you may claim your VAT refund in Cash, Card or Digital Wallets.
Is there a maximum threshold for cash refunds?
Yes, if you are choosing a refund in cash, the maximum refund amount is AED 35,000. If your refund amount exceeds AED 35,000/-, you will have to provide us with a valid credit/debit card to enable us to process your refund.
What are the card schemes that are accepted?
Planet accepts payments to card schemes such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB and Union Pay. VAT refunds processed by Planet to your credit/debit card will normally be credited in your card's currency. Your card issuing company or bank determines the foreign exchange rate to be applied on your VAT refund and Planet has no control over this rate.
I selected cash as my refund method but didn't have time to visit Travelex's counter to claim my refund. How can I change my refund method?
In case you are unable to visit a Travelex counter to collect your cash refund, you can access the Shopper Portal by clicking the link sent to you via SMS sent to your registered phone number, to view all your tax free transactions. If you have a Planet tax free tag attached to the back of your tax invoice, you can scan the QR code to direct you to the Shopper Portal. Open the link and enter your details to claim your refund through card.
If I claim my refund in cash, can I claim the money in my local currency instead of Dirhams?
You can claim your VAT refund in cash in your preferred currency if the refund point you selected offers it. Our refund partners determine the foreign exchange rate to be applied on your VAT refund and Planet has no control over this rate.
What is the timeframe within which I can claim my VAT refund after completing the validation process?
Once you have successfully completed the validation process and exited the UAE, you can claim your VAT refund within 12 months from the export validation date.
Can I initiate the validation process of my purchases before I reach the airport?
If you are exiting the UAE through an airport, you can initiate the validation process of your purchases by using our City Validation Kiosk validation service located at leading malls and hotels across the UAE. To use this service, you must be departing the UAE within 24 hours and should have already obtained your valid online/digital boarding pass/ QR code. Please contact our Customer Happiness Center for more information about the locations of our City Validation Kiosks.
How do I use the City Validation Kiosk service?
You are required to scan your valid online/digital boarding pass (sent by airline carriers that offer an online check-in service) and your original travel document ID (used to enter the UAE)
You must verify that your personal information reflected on the screen is accurate. If you find any errors, please contact our Customer Happiness Center or our staff at the airport. If there are no errors, please proceed to the next step.
Your existing tax free transactions will be displayed on the screen and the kiosk will advise you on next steps i.e. further inspection at the airport before check-in counters or proceeding to claim your refund.
If you select cash as your refund method, you will be required to visit one of Travelex' counters after immigration/security check.
If you select card as your refund method, we will begin processing your refund claim upon your departure from the UAE.
Who can I contact if I have any queries?
You may contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively you may call our Customer Happiness Centre on +971 4 586 4700 from 9AM to 12AM (UAE local time)