Greece is a great place to shop; there are a lot of fantastic things to buy, and many of them are very affordable. Chances are some of the more expensive items you purchase can be even cheaper if you claim the tax back. Getting a VAT refund in  Greece, can be a straightforward process if you follow the required steps.

Here is a detailed guide on how to claim your refund:


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What is VAT?

VAT – Value Added Tax is a consumption tax applied in many countries, including Greece. It is levied on most consumer goods and services and in 2024 these are the rates:

  • Standard Rate: 24% – This applies to most goods and services.
  • Reduced Rate: 13% – This applies to certain goods and services such as food, non-alcoholic beverages, passenger transport, and hotel accommodation.
  • Super-Reduced Rate: 6% – This applies to specific items such as medicines, books, newspapers, and cultural events.

Some islands have reduced rates including Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Ikaria and Lemos in the Northern Aegean as well as Karpathos, Kos, Leros and Symi in the Southern Aegean.

These islands often face logistical and economic challenges due to their remote locations and reduced tourism and as such they are partially compensated.

These reduced rates are:

  • Standard Rate: 17% (instead of 24%)
  • Reduced Rate: 9% (instead of 13%)
  • Super-Reduced Rate: 4% (instead of 6%)

What is the VAT refund?

If you are not a resident of the European Union you are eligible to get a VAT refund on certain purchases.

You can do this by following the process outlinged below and submitting your claim by mail or at the following airports:

  • Athens
  • Thessaloniki
  • Heraklion ( Crete)
  • Chania (Crete)
  • Rhodes
  • Kos
  • Santorini
  • Mykonos
  • Corfu
  • Kefalonia
  • Zakynthos
  • Skiathos
  • Preveza 

Cruise Ships.

It is possible to claim the VAT you have spent while shopping on your cruise but you have to do it at the last place you depart the EU.


  • Your 11-day Mediterranean Cruise starts in Rome, visits Santorini and ends in Barcelona where you fly home to the USA, then you claim the VAT at Barcelona Airport.
  • Your 10-day Istanbul to Trieste stops at several Greek Islands but you are staying in Italy before flying home, then you claim it in Italy.
  • Your Athens – Istanbul cruise means you will not be ending in the EU. Unless you are flying back into a EU country you will have to mail your claim.

Eligibility Criteria

Before you start, ensure you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Non-EU Resident: Only non-EU residents are eligible for VAT refunds.
  • Minimum Purchase Amount: Typically, you must spend a minimum amount – usually  €50 in Greece, in a single store on the same day. Check with the specific store for their minimum purchase requirement.
  • Export Goods: The goods must be taken out of the EU within three months from the end of the month of purchase.

VAT refund in Greece process


Shop at Participating Stores

  • Look for stores displaying “Tax-Free Shopping” signs. These stores are affiliated with VAT refund services like Global Blue or Premier Tax Free and are usually larger department stores or luxury boutiques. If you do not see a sign ask just in case.
  • When making a purchase, inform the cashier that you want to claim a VAT refund and they will provide you with a Tax-Free Form. Ensure that this form is filled out completely with your details (name, passport number, home address) and the details of the purchase.

Collect Required Documentation

  • Along with the Tax-Free Form, you need to keep the original receipts.
  • Ensure your passport is handy, as you may need to present it .

Customs Stamping

Before leaving Greece, you must get your Tax-Free Form stamped by customs at the airport or other point of departure. Follow these steps:

  • Arrive Early: Arrive at the airport at least three hours before your flight to allow enough time for the VAT refund process.
  • Visit Customs Office: Go to the customs office before checking in your luggage. The customs office is usually located in the departure hall.
  • Present Documents: Show your passport, Tax-Free Forms, original receipts, and the purchased goods. The customs officer needs to verify the goods, so keep them in your carry-on luggage.

Submitting the Tax-Free Form

After getting the customs stamp, you have two options to submit your forms and claim your refund: 

Immediate Refund at the Airport:

  • Look for the VAT refund service counters (such as Global Blue or Premier Tax Free) after security control in the departure area.
  • Present your stamped Tax-Free Form, passport, and receipts at the refund counter.
  • You can choose to receive your refund in cash (usually in euros) or have it credited to your credit card. Note that cash refunds might have higher service fees.

Mailing the Form:

  • If you cannot claim your refund at the airport, you can mail the stamped Tax-Free Forms and original receipts to the VAT refund service provider.
  • Make sure to fill out all required sections of the form, including your credit card details for the refund.
  • Drop the envelope in a mailbox or at designated drop-off points at the airport.

Receiving Your Refund

  • Cash Refund: If you opted for a cash refund at the airport, you will receive it immediately.
  • Credit Card Refund: If you chose to have the refund credited to your credit card, it may take a few weeks for the amount to appear in your account.

VAT Desk queue curbside ( on the left with all the people)

The Global Blue drop box on the counter curbside

The counter on the other side in Hall A, just before immigration

Tips for a Smooth VAT refund process in Greece:

  • Keep Everything Handy: Keep all your receipts, forms, and purchased goods easily accessible.
  • Be Aware of Fees: Be mindful of potential service fees deducted from your refund amount.
  • Plan Ahead: Allow ample time at the airport to complete the VAT refund process without stress.

By following these steps, you can efficiently process your VAT refund and enjoy savings on your purchases made during your trip to Athens.

If you require any further clarification please check the official EU VAT page. 

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