Ever since some of the most important international fashion brands along with a vast array of urban clothing stores, trendy and innovative outlets and the finest local and foreign luxury firms settled in the main commercial avenues of Barcelona, the city has been considered one of Europe’s top destinations for shopping.
Whether the sole purpose of your visit is to find the latest trends or the fashionista hidden inside you just can’t resist the temptation while on a business trip to Barcelona, know that as long as you are a permanent resident of a country outside the European Union where the IVA tax does not apply you are entitled to Tax-free shopping, that is, to get a refund of the taxes paid on your purchases before leaving the EU.
What are the conditions that must be met to get a VAT refund in Barcelona?
Apart from residing outside the European Union, in order to get a tax refund on your shopping in Barcelona you must show proof of purchases amounting to 90,15€ or more (grouped in a single receipt in the case of several acquired items), have asked for a tax free form in every member shop, have bought the items for personal use only and be able to produce them at the airport customs so that officers can check they are actually the ones appearing on the invoice issued by the store.
Steps to claim a VAT refund at El Prat airport
Before checking in for your flight if you are going to check bags or before clearing security if you just have a carry on and have an electronic boarding pass, go to Customs in Barcelona airport so that qualified officers can stamp your tax-free forms and receipts. At Barcelona-El Prat, there are two offices specially designated for such purpose and are located to the left of the security control area in Terminal 1 and in the arrivals hall of Terminal 2B respectively. If you decide to do this right before departing, make sure to allow some extra time as sometimes you will have to wait in line until it is your turn. However, providing the shops you have been to are able to issue DIVA Tax Free forms, you can simply skip the line and have your receipts stamped digitally at the automatic kiosks.
*Take into account that:
-You will be asked to show your passport, boarding pass or airplane ticket by the officers, so be ready and have them at hand together with the receipts of your purchases and the tax-free forms.
-It is mandatory that you complete this process in the last airport you will be transiting through within the European Union, so if you are still having a layover in another EU airport, wait until you get there.
-The remark above affects particularly the purchased items you are transporting in your carry on, but you could still claim your tax refund on items you have in your checked baggage.
How to get your VAT refund in Barcelona airport
After shopping tax-free in Barcelona, you can choose to leave the city with the refunded money in your pocket or wait until you get home to get it transferred to your bank account or credit card. When you go to either a bureau de change or specialised office at the airport to get your VAT refund commissions may apply; alternatively, you may post the required documentation to the address indicated on the tax-free form and get it later.
Where are the VAT refund offices in Barcelona-El Prat airport?
While in Barcelona airport, you can claim your Tax-free shopping refunds at:
–Global Blue, open 24 hours a day in the check-in area of Terminal 1, in both the arrivals and departures zones of T2B (they close at 4 p.m. Sunday through Friday and at 7 p.m. on Saturdays), and in the Sky Centre after security from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m in Terminal 1.
–Global Exchange, available around the clock in the public and restricted areas of both terminals. These offices are part of the Innova and Premier tax-free programs, in collaboration with El Corte Inglés department stores.
Are you looking for accommodation in Barcelona? If you won’t be travelling for business and would love to spend all your time in the city shopping and sightseeing, we recommend staying near the Sagrada Familia of Gaudí.