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How to claim your VAT Refund?

How to claim your VAT Refund?

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Step 1


Simply identify yourself as a foreign tourist to the shop assistant, and request a Tax invoice for the goods you have purchased. A Tax invoice must contain all of the following information:

  • The words Tax Invoice.
  • The seller’s name and address.
  • The seller’s VAT registration number.
  • The date of issue of the tax invoice.
  • A tax invoice number.
  • A full description of the goods purchased, second hand goods must be indicated as such.
  • The cost of the goods supplied in Rands.
  • The amount of VAT charged, or a statement that VAT at the rate of 14% is included in the total cost of the goods.
  • In the event that purchases of over R5 000.00 were made, the purchaser’s name and physical address and the quantity of the goods must appear on the tax invoice.


  1. Only the person whose name appears on the invoice may claim the refund.
    Where the tax invoices are issued in both the husband and wife’s name, the passport copies of both the husband and the wife should be submitted for VAT refund purposes.
  2. To qualify for a VAT refund you must have purchased the goods during your stay in South Africa.  Your purchases must be made during the period of your stay.
  3. Any tax invoice that exceeds R5 000.00 VAT inclusive, presented for a VAT refund that does not have the purchaser’s name and physical address printed on the invoice by the South African vendor who supplied the goods, will not be processed for VAT refund purposes.Tax invoices exceeding R5 000.00 that have been generated by a point of sale system that does not reflect the purchaser’s name and address but which are accompanied by proof of payment reflecting the purchaser’s name, will be considered.If you are in possession  of an invoice exceeding R5 000.00 that does not comply with the above requirement, you may obtain a “copy tax invoice” from the South African vendor which reflects the purchaser’s name and physical address.  The copy tax invoice must be accompanied by the original invoice endorsed with a “VRA goods inspected” stamp and then it may be lodged for processing.  In the event that the claim is lodged by post, the documents must be accompanied by a copy of the claimant’s passport reflecting entry and exit stamps from South Africa.

Step 2


Inspections must be evidenced by an endorsement on the relevant tax invoice by a VAT Refund official or a South African Customs official.

Should you depart from Johannesburg International Airport, Durban International Airport or Cape Town International Airport, you must present your purchases as well as the relevant tax invoices to a RSA Customs official or VAT Refund official for inspections. If your purchases are too large to be kept as hand-luggage, you must present the goods and relevant tax invoices to a RSA Customs official or VAT Refund official before the goods are checked in with the airline.


No Inspection, No refund!

Should you depart from one of the airports or harbours listed below, you must present your purchases and the relevant tax invoices to a South African Customs official.

Other airports: Lanseria, Bloemfontein, Gateway, Nelspruit, Pilansberg, Port Elizabeth, Upington

Harbours: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, East London, Richards Bay, Mossel Bay, Saldanha

Please Note:
Goods exported at any other departure point will not qualify for a VAT refund. Goods exported by mail will also not qualify for VAT refunds because a specific point of departure cannot be determined.

Step 3

Claim your VAT refund

On departure from one of the three international airports, present your claim at the VAT refund office. Your refund will be made by various methods determined by the value of the claim and other factors. Payment methods include a Rand cheque that is payable anywhere in the world. These cheques may also be cashed at the airport banking facility. Alternatively you will be issued with a VISA electron cash card that will be loaded with foreign currency after your departure from South Africa.

Please Note: the method of payment is determined by the VAT refund departure point system and not at the option of the claimant.

No refund will be made if the claim is not lodged before your departure.

Methods of payment:

VAT refundable less than R3 000.00
A VAT Refund Card will be issued which will be loaded with either your home currency or a foreign currency after your departure from South Africa. This happens generally  within 48 hours or as soon as your claim has been processed. The Card may be used where the MasterCard Acceptance Mark is displayed worldwide  to pay for all purchases. The card may also be used to withdraw cash from a MasterCard supported ATM however there is a fee associated therewith.

In the event that you were issued with a Visa Electron card, the card may be used to withdraw cash from a VISA electron ATM machine or at any VISA merchant worldwide. This excludes car hire, hotel accommodation and fuel purchases. To utilize the full value of funds on the card, the card should be presented at a VISA merchant with the request that an amount equal to the balance on the card must be debited.

VAT refundable exceeding R3 000.00
Where the VAT refundable amount exceeds R3 000.00 you may be issued with a VISA electron cash card that will be loaded with foreign currency to the value of your claim. This happens once your claim has been approved for payment by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Alternatively your refund will be paid by US Dollar cheque, Pound Sterling cheque or other foreign currency depending on the circumstances of your refund, once the claim has been approved by SARS. The approval of the claim may take up to 6 weeks. These payments will be sent by standard mail to the address provided on departure from South Africa.