Tax-free shopping is the purchasing of goods in a foreign country and obtaining a tax refund for the value-added tax (VAT) or goods and services tax (GST) paid for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Tax Free
You are eligible for a tax refund if you are visiting a country as a tourist and are not a resident of that country. For the EU region, you are only eligible for a tax refund if you are a resident of a non-EU country.
Most shops will allow you to shop tax-free. You can look out for display signs in shop windows that say ‘tax-free’ or ‘VAT/GST-free’. If you are not sure, you can ask the shop assistant to confirm if you can shop tax-free there.
Yes, you will need to show your passport (and possibly any other identity document with your residential address) to prove that you reside outside of the country.
Each Tax Refund Operator has a different set of instructions for you to follow and claim your tax refund. You will need the following:
- Your passport
- Completed Tax Free Forms
- Sales receipts or invoices of the goods purchased
When you head to Customs before departure, you will need these documents to be verified. You should also have your purchased and unused goods with you in case they are required for inspection at Customs. You need to ensure that you receive a stamp on your Tax Free Forms or a digital ‘Customs verification’ to be able to have your refund processed.
No, you will need the Tax Free Form along with the sales receipts or invoices from the shop to complete the tax refund process.
About utu Tax Free
utu Tax Free is a revolutionary tax-free app for anyone who wishes to upsize their tax refund in the form of Frequent Flyer Miles or in the form of cash credited to their payment card.
For information on utu Tax Free product, please visit the About utu Tax Free Card section.
utu Tax Free is available for download on the Apple App Store & Google Play Store.
About utu Tax Free Card
utu Tax Free Card is a virtual card for tourists to upsize their tax refunds on any Tax Free Form in 50 countries. utu Tax Free card can be activated in the utu Tax Free app and has a validity of 58 months.
The utu Tax Free Card allows you to receive your tax refunds via two refund methods:
- 25% upsize of your tax refund value in Frequent Flyer Miles from utu’s airline partners
- Up to 5% more tax refund on your payment card when you shop in countries that use the Euro (€)
The utu Tax Free Card can only be used for receiving tax refunds and is not a credit or prepaid card.
To shop tax-free with utu Tax Free Card, you must activate your utu Tax Free card on the utu Tax Free App. You can choose a Frequent Flyer Program or a Payment Card as your preferred refund method.
With utu Tax Free Card, you’ll be able to upsize your tax refund with any Tax Free Form across 50 countries.
You will be able to enjoy a 25% upsize of your tax refund in Frequent Flyer Miles in the following 50 countries:
Austria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bahamas, Bosnia, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, Uruguay
Alternatively, you will be able to receive up to 5% more tax refund on your payment card when you choose it as your preferred refund method and shop in these 19 Eurozone countries:
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain.
utu Tax Free Card is a virtual card that allows you to upsize your tax refunds. Here’s how to use it when shopping tax-free.
- Activate your utu Tax Free Card
- Fill in your utu Tax Free Card number into the credit card refund field of a Tax Free Form, or a refund kiosk depending on the Tax Refund Operator
- In some cases, you will be required to input the expiry date as well
- For the rest of the tax refund process, follow customs formalities as instructed by the respective Tax Refund Operator
- Once your tax refund has been processed, utu will notify you when it has been credited to your preferred refund method
Follow these few steps and you’re ready to go. Upsizing your tax refund has never been easier.
Reminder: The tax refund will only be credited to an active utu Tax Free Card. The utu Tax Free Card number must be entered into the credit card field of the Tax Free Form from any Tax Refund Operator.
utu Tax Free Card is a specially designed card that aims to give you more on your tax-free shopping in 19 European countries. In Europe, tax-free operators usually charge high foreign exchange fees (typically between 5-8% of the refund amount) when they refund you in your home currency. utu Tax Free Card ensures you do not get charged with these high fees and instead, returns more to you.
To activate utu Tax Free Card on the utu Tax Free app, follow these simple steps:
- Scan your passport
- Submit a selfie for verification
- Choose your preferred refund method
- Enter promo code, if any
- Use a valid payment card for validation charge of €1.99 to activate the card
The validation charge will be reversed upon your first refund transaction. utu Tax Free Card will be valid for 58 months from the date of activation and you will be notified to renew it before expiry.
The 16-digit virtual card number can be found under the utu Card page once you tap on Show card details.
Your transaction history can be found under the utu Card page when you tap on Activity.
utu supports all currencies of the 50 countries that utu Tax Free Card is applicable to process your refunds.
If you have chosen to receive your refund as cash credited to your payment card, utu will refund it to you in your home currency if it is listed below.
AUD, CAD, CHF, CNY, EUR, GBP, JPY, HKD, SGD, THB, NZD, USD
If your home currency is not on the list, utu will credit your refund to your payment card in USD which will then be converted to your home currency at the daily conversion rate.
utu supports the following payment card schemes:
Visa Credit Card, Visa Debit Card, Visa Electron, MasterCard Credit Card, MasterCard Debit Card
Note: utu does not support pre-paid cards for refunds.
Tax refunds may take 3-6 weeks from Customs verification depending on the Tax Refund Operator. After receiving your tax refund, utu will credit the refund to your preferred refund method.
No. utu Tax Free Card can only be used for receiving tax refunds and is not a credit or prepaid card.
utu Refund Methods
You can choose to receive your tax refunds in:
- Frequent Flyer Miles
Enjoy a 25% upsize in your tax refund value with utu’s airline partners
- Payment Card
Receive up to 5% more of your tax refund when you shop in countries that use the Euro (€)
You may add as many of our Frequent Flyer Program partners as you like.
To receive your tax refund in Frequent Flyer Miles, you will need to add and select your chosen Frequent Flyer Program as the refund method.
You will be required to provide your membership account number and other necessary details. Once added, select your preferred Frequent Flyer Program as your default refund method to receive your tax refund in Frequent Flyer Miles.
If you have already selected Payment Card as your default refund method, you may make the change by selecting any of the Frequent Flyer Programs that you have added. To set a Frequent Flyer Program as your default refund method:
- Under the utu Card page, tap on Refund method
- Select your preferred Frequent Flyer Program to set it as your default refund method
You will see an indication on the app of your newly selected default refund method.
You will receive your refund within 10 working days from utu receiving your refund from the respective Tax Refund Operator, depending on the refund method you choose.
If you have chosen to receive your tax refund in Frequent Flyer Miles, the time taken to receive your refund will vary based on the respective Frequent Flyer Programs. Do ensure that you have entered the correct membership account information as incorrect information will cause a delay in processing.
utu will notify you once you have received your tax refund in your preferred refund method.
Contact your Frequent Flyer Program membership services if you still have not received your Frequent Flyer Miles after 10 working days.
There could have been an error in the input of the Frequent Flyer membership account number or other necessary details. We will not be able to process the refund if the details provided are incorrect. You will receive an in-app notification to re-enter or update your details.
Emirates Skywards Special offer
You need to follow the below process:
- Complete the utu registration
- Activate the utu Tax Free Card
- Select Emirates Skywards as your preferred refund method
- Claim a Tax Refund in any of the 50 countries supported by utu
As per the standard proposition, you will earn 4,167 Skywards Miles for every USD 100. With this offer, you will earn 5,001 Skywards for every USD 100 of tax refund until 31 March 2022. There is no minimum spend requirement or maximum Miles limit.
Upon successful conversion, Skywards Miles will be credited to your Emirates Skywards account within 10 working days from the date of successful submission.
There is no limit to the number of times you may participate. The offer is valid from 11 October 2021 until 31 March 2022.
Go to Login, tap on Forgot your password and tap on Reset after entering your email. Follow the instructions sent to your email.
Yes. Go to the Profile page, tap on View Profile to edit the mobile number or email address. Once you have successfully changed the mobile number, you will receive an OTP to verify the new number.
You may enable notifications via your device’s settings. Notifications may include alerts, sounds and icon badges. These can be configured in settings. utu encourages shoppers to enable notifications for you to receive timely information on your tax refunds.
Go to the Profile page, tap on Help and then Contact Us.
Otherwise, you may contact us at:
Toll Free: +44 (800) 041 8174
Business hours: Mon–Fri 11:00-19:00 (CET or UTC/GMT+1)
After 19:00 (CET or UTC/GMT+1): Email us or leave a voicemail
The FAQs are some of the questions that we frequently get asked in relation to our products and services. The questions and answers are not intended to be exhaustive and do not constitute legal advice for your particular question, issue or concern and are meant to serve merely as guidance and consequently have no legal merit. The information, however, is intended to be helpful and to assist you with queries which you may have regarding the products and services. For more information, we advise that you review the terms and conditions for the products and services and if necessary to contact us to dialog further on your queries.