International visitors to Norway can, in certain circumstances, claim a refund of the sales tax paid on souvenirs.
Unlike the United States, Norway refunds sales tax to foreign visitors who are only in Norway on a temporary basis. The refund is not available for residents of Norway, Sweden, Denmark or Finland. Participating shops will display a “Tax Free” logo at the entrance and at the point of payment, so ask if you don’t see a logo or you are unsure.
How the process works
If you use the tax free shopping service offered in these stores, you can claim a cash refund when leaving Norway. Note: Although you must begin the process in the store, you will not receive the money until you are leaving the country. Refund points are sited at various exit points including most airports, road borders, and on board ferries and cruise ships. Which refund point you can use depends on how you leave the country.
To qualify for a tax refund, there is a minimum purchase threshold you must meet from a single shop. At the time of writing this stands at NOK 315 for regular goods and NOK 290 for food. The goods in question must be exported in unused condition within 30 days from date of purchase. This is really important. For example, if clothing has been obviously worn (labels torn off etc) or electronic items opened, the refund will be refused.
To claim the refund when leaving the country, you’ll need to present the goods, the completed refund form and your passport. If you are unable to present the goods the refund will be refused, so make sure to pack any such items in your hand luggage!
You should receive a leaflet at the point of sale which has answers to all your questions, but sometimes it’s easy to misunderstand the bigger picture.
So as a reminder, to claim a refund you must:
- Not be a citizen of Norway, Sweden, Denmark or Finland
- Be leaving Norway within 30 days of purchase
- Get a form completed at the point of purchase
- Not open or use the goods until you have left Norway
- Show the completed form, your passport and most importantly the goods when exiting Norway