Tax-free shopping

Travelling with a UK passport? You could be eligible to save on purchases in the EU.

Save on your EU shopping

If you're a UK resident over the age of 16, you can shop some items tax-free in the European Union including cosmetics, jewellery, technology, and food and drink. 

To take advantage of these savings, look out for stores that offer tax-free shopping during your trip to Europe. Ask a member of staff for a tax refund form when you pay. You'll also need your passport.

The easiest way to receive your refund is to use a credit or debit card in store. This means you will be refunded in the currency of your bank or card. 

You'll have to spend the minimum amount required for a VAT refund, which is more than €100 in France (other EU countries have different limits). 

You can get your refund validated at one of the dedicated kiosks in the LeShuttle Calais terminal. 

How to claim for tax-free shopping

When you arrive at the Calais terminal building you must validate your tax-free shopping forms using one of our 6 automatic PABLO kiosks. Your refund will then be processed. 

PABLO is the electronic VAT refund processing system for France. If you want to claim tax back on purchases made in a different EU country (i.e. not France), you can visit the Customs Office in the Calais terminal to get your tax-free shopping forms approved and stamped.

If you're taking advantage of the Flexiplus Lounge, you must validate your purchases in the main terminal building first. You won't be able to travel back from the Flexiplus Lounge because border controls will have been completed.

Tips for tax-free shopping

Any items you include in your tax-refund must not be used or consumed before leaving the EU. Keep items in their original packaging, including any food or drink that's part of your refund claim.

Have your tax-free items ready for inspection. If they're packed away in your car, make sure they are easily accessible. 

It's a good idea to take photos of your tax-free forms after stamping or validating them, in case there's any problem with your refund later.

Bring your passport with you when you go shopping. The shop staff will need it to prepare your tax refund forms. 

Try to purchase as many items on the same receipt as possible, because you can often get a higher rate of refund for larger purchases. 

Tax-free shopping FAQs

Who is eligible for tax-free shopping?

You are eligible for tax-free shopping if:

  • You have permanent residence in a non-EU country
  • You are over the age of 16
  • You spend more than €100 in France (other EU countries have different limits)
What are the VAT rates in France?

The VAT rates in France are:

  • Standard VAT rate: 20%
  • Pharmacy goods 10%
  • Food, books: 5.5%
  • Reduced rate for certain products and services: 2.1%
How will my VAT refund be paid?
Your refund will be determined by the method you choose to receive it. It will either be cash or put onto the credit card used to make the purchases.
Are any goods excluded from tax-free shopping?

Not all purchases are eligible for a refund. You cannot get a VAT refund for:

  • Tobacco
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Cars and car parts
  • Weapons
  • Cultural relics more than 50 years old
  • Postal stamps
Is there a time limit for customs approval?
Yes. The time limit for customs approval is three months after the month of purchase for a credit card refund, or 21 days from the date of purchase for an immediate refund.
What is the minimum spend for tax-free shopping in France?
There is a minimum spend of €100.01 in France to be eligible for tax-free shopping. Other EU countries have different minimum spends.