China Tax-free Shopping: A Comprehensive Guide For Tourists

China Tax-free Shopping: A Comprehensive Guide For Tourists

China is opening its doors to overseas visitors from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, offering a tempting opportunity to reclaim China tax-free shopping for purchases made in various regions across the country.

This article guides you through the process, ensuring you make the most of this fantastic policy.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the tax refund policy, overseas visitors must adhere to the following criteria:

  1. Duration of Stay: Visitors should not stay in Mainland China for more than 183 consecutive days.
  2. Goods for Personal Use: Purchases should be for personal use and not on the prohibited items list. Please refer to the detailed Exit Regulations of China for guidance.
  3. Minimum Spending: A minimum spending of CNY 500 in a single designated tax-free store is required for one tourist on any given day.
  4. Designated Ports: Visitors should exit through designated ports, mainly airports and cruise ports such as:
    • Beijing Capital International Airport
    • Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
    • Chengdu Tianfu International Airport
    • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
    • Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
    • Shanghai Pudong International Airport
    • Tianjin Binhai International Airport.
  5. Timeframe: The time between the purchase date and the departure date should be less than 90 days.
  6. Goods Must Leave China: Purchased goods must leave China along with the visitor.

Tax Refund Rate

The tax refund rate is a generous 11% of the invoice value, but there’s a slight catch – a 2% service fee is charged by the rebate agency. This means visitors effectively receive a 9% rebate rate.

How to Request Rebates

Requesting rebates is a straightforward process:

  1. Make purchases in designated “Tax-Free” stores (退税商店) and obtain the sales invoice and tax refund form from the salesperson.
  2. Visit the customs office at your departure port and submit the refund form, invoice, passport, and the purchased products. If everything goes smoothly, the officer will stamp the refund form.
  3. Proceed through joint inspection, head to the refund counter, have your items examined, and receive your well-deserved rebates.


With all required documents prepared, it takes approximately three to five minutes at the customs office and refund desk, respectively.

On average, visitors spend around 15 minutes completing all the formalities. However, it is strongly advised to allocate an additional 40 minutes to an hour for the entire process.

Make the most of your visit to China by unlocking valuable tax refunds on your purchases. Happy shopping!