UAE VAT refund for foreign businesses

Reclaim window now open

The reclaim window is now open for non-United Arab Emirates (UAE) established businesses to submit Value Added Tax (VAT) refund requests to the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) for the calendar year 2019.


The FTA will only accept refund applications until 31 August 2020, meaning eligible businesses should assess whether they qualify for a refund and start calculating the amount of UAE VAT they can reclaim as soon as possible.


This scheme is open to businesses which meet the following criteria:

  • No place of establishment or fixed establishment in the UAE;
  • Not a taxable person in the UAE (i.e. not registered or required to be registered for VAT purposes);
  • Not carrying on a business in the UAE; and
  • Carrying on a business and registered for VAT (or equivalent) overseas. 

An important requirement of any claim submitted is that original hard copy invoices (along with proof of payment) must be submitted along with the application. As this evidence is likely to take time to source and to validate, businesses should begin this process now.

Eligible countries

The VAT Refund User Guide for Business Visitors published by the FTA states that claims made by businesses established in the following countries will be eligible for consideration:

  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Isle of Man
  • Korea
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon – in certain circumstances
  • Luxembourg
  • Namibia – in certain circumstances
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom (UK)
  • Zimbabwe

In the event that your business is not established in a country listed above, but has incurred UAE VAT which it has been unable to recover, there may be alternative measures which can be explored to minimize the irrecoverable VAT cost incurred in the future.

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