Tips/Advice for customs, VAT, etc.

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  1. My experiences, with Germany/US packages:
    1) fill out customs form to declare contents/value
    2) mark as "gift"
    3) US international postage cost is much higher than Germany's
    4) around Christmas, German mail delivery crawls as a drunken slug

    No duties paid, either end. For gifts.
    You will not have trouble with twilly.
    Gabs007 likes this.
  2. I found a bag online in the UK (John Lewis) that shows price including “all applicable tax” but want to ship to me in the US—international delivery is 18.00.

    Without knowing the method of shipment, does anybody have experience in what to expect with an “import” —cost?

    I searched but could not find anything, thought here would be best place to post question. Thank you!
  3. Hi I am having this same issue right now. I want to buy a bag from a UK merchant to ship to me in the US. I emailed them to ask if they knew what the customs fees would be for me and they said they weren't sure but their estimate would be around 20% of the cost of the item. However I have no idea how accurate that estimate is. I may start a separate thread.
  4. I want to buy a bag from a UK merchant to ship to me in the US. I emailed them to ask if they knew what the customs fees would be for me and they said they weren't sure but their estimate would be around 20% of the cost of the item. However I have no idea how accurate that estimate is.

    Has anyone imported leather handbags into the US from Europe and do you know what % the customs fee is?
  5. Hi- I’m traveling to Paris and would love to get some advice. How do you guys pack returning home?

    1. Is there a VAT refund outside the gate at CDG? Can I check in my goods after VAT refund after the process?

    2. Do you recommend putting your bags and goods inside the carry on or check them in?

    3. Also, what do you do with boxes and shopping bags? Do you need to have them with you to show at the refund? Do people toss them out?

    Thank you!
  6. 1. Yes, there are VAT refund agents/Pablo booths outside of the gate near check-in areas. Go there first and then check-in after in case you need to show goods.

    2. I always carry on the valuables. In case of theft or loss, airlines only cover so much.

    3. You don’t need original packaging. I’ve usually kept boxes and checked in a cardboard box of boxes filled with worn clothes and/or shoes. You can get a cardboard box from your hotel (if they have one) or at an Office Depot (there’s one that’s a 10-15 minute walk north of the Louvre).

    Enjoy Paris!
  7. Does Canada have a process similar to VAT refunds in Europe? Any advice is appreciated!!
  8. Hi everyone! I’m planning a trip to Paris for about 2 weeks and will fly from US-France however I’ll probably travel around Europe (Belgium, Germany, etc) during my time in Europe.

    1. If I purchase in Paris, am I still eligible to get my VAT refund when I come back to the states?

    2. VAT refund for Paris is 12%..does anyone know the rates for Belgium? (Or is there a website that lists these percentages?)

    Thank you!
    francesmonique likes this.
  9. You could send it to yourself, but use a UK sending address, send it registered and mark it as a gift. I have sent presents to friends in Norway, was never an issue even if the items were designer. Usually a little letter helps or a card, in case they open it, but if it isn't from a business address or something that is forbidden to send, it tends to not be an issue
    Cherrypye likes this.
  10. Hi everyone,

    I'll be heading to Europe in January. I'll be flying RT from Oslo, Norway but I'll be traveling to Barcelona, Paris, London. When should I claim VAT? I will most likely do the most shopping in Paris as I plan on buying a Celine while there and possibly a bag for my mom as well. I don't anticipate doing any shopping in Spain or England, if I do shop in England it'll most likely be from the Liberty sale.
    milotic55 likes this.
  11. To be honest, Madrid is superb for shopping and amazing bargains to be had, with the low Pound rate, even the UK is not that bad, especially if you hit the sales in January. you should definitely check out Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.
    francesmonique likes this.
  12. What is the process when ordering online via Etsy from France? Item is a bag for $750. I'd get it in a heartbeat but so unsure about import process! Thanks for any help!
  13. I haven't bought from Etsy but a friend does regularly, usually the delivery company charges the import duty from you and then hands the amount over to customs and revenues.
  14. Get your VAT forms stamped by tbe Customs agents from the last EU country that you visit when you are departing that country. They will check your passport and boarding pass to verify that you are actually departing that day. (If you are departing by train, there are Customs desks at the major train stations too.)

    You can then either mail the forms to the appropriate agent (such as Global Blue or Premier) with the envelope provided by the merchant with your stamped VAT forms OR you can then go to the appropriate Global Blue, Premier, etc desk at the airport and drop off the forms. If you go to the desk, you have the option of talking your refund in cash on the spot minus a small fee (anywhere from around 2 - 25 Euros depending on the size of the refund).

    They provide the refund in Euros and will ask if you want to convert to your home currency. Don't do it before checking the conversion rates carefully. I'd take the euros and either keep them for a future trip or exchange them when you get home with your regular bank who will likely give you a better exchange rate.
  15. Hi everyone
    I am thinking of buying something at Prada in Amsterdam and I wanted to check something about the VAT refund process. I live in Singapore and I will be flying back to Singapore from Amsterdam via a transfer in Istanbul :

    So if I purchase something from Prada in Amsterdam, do I do the VAT refund process and collect my VAT in Amsterdam (Schiphol) or do I do my VAT refund in Istanbul ? Is Turkey part of the EU already ?