tax return for foreigners in shopping invoices in Colombia


In recent years, Colombia has positioned itself as a popular tourist destination among travelers worldwide, becoming the third most visited country in Latin America, surpassed only by the Dominican Republic and Mexico. In light of this growth, the country has implemented several measures to make the country more attractive and competitive for the international community. One of these strategies is the Value Added Tax return (VAT) (IVA: Impuesto al Valor Agregado en Colombia), a benefit for foreigners visiting Colombia as tourists, legislated as a fiscal benefit through Resolution 1495 of 2021.

Foreigners in Colombia can request a refund of the IVA – VAT for purchases of taxable goods when leaving the country. To provide information about the process, in we have created an updated guide for 2023 on who can claim the shopping tax refund in Colombia and the procedure to request it.

What is the IVA tax in Colombia?

IVA is the Spanish VAT tax, an indirect contribution that taxes consumption and is applied in the sale of goods and services considered taxable. In Colombia, the general IVA tax rate is currently 19%; however, other rates apply to specific cases.

Who is eligible to request an IVA tax return in Colombia?

All foreigners who come to Colombia as tourists can request the IVA return, holding a valid tourist permit (TP) or a Tourist Visa (V-Type). In this regard, it’s necessary that the entry stamp clearly indicates the tourist status.

What documents must present a foreigner to request the IVA tax return?

DIAN Electronic Sales Invoice

They must be printed and brought with the purchased goods.

Tourism stamp in the passport

Present your original passport and provide a copy.

Complete the DIAN 2737 form

Register your credit or debit card details to receive the tax return.

National tourists from countries associated with the Andean Community (CAN) and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) must present one of their valid national identification documents in addition to the Andean Migration Card (TAM) issued by Migración Colombia.

DIAN must validate the request form 2737 for the IVA refund for the refund process to be successfully completed. To validate the shopping tax refund request form, you must make the process at the nearest DIAN Validation Kiosk/Self-Service or DIAN office before leaving the country.

Application form for IVA tax return 2737 for Non-Resident foreign tourists in Colombia
Application form for IVA tax return 2737 for Non-Resident foreign tourists in Colombia

How do I identify valid invoices for the IVA tax return?

Sellers must issued the electronic invoice to the foreigner’s name, who will submit the IVA tax refund request. The document number on the invoice must match the foreigner’s identification document used upon entry into the country.

Furthermore, it must include the legal name of the company (business’s legal name), the Tax Identification Number (NIT), and contact information. It must be clearly identified as «Electronic Sales Invoice» and its respective numbering.

Each electronic invoice has a CUFE code and a QR code. These two elements ensure that the invoice complies with the regulatory issuance and verification by DIAN.

Approved electronic sales invoice by DIAN and valid for tax return.
Approved electronic sales invoice by DIAN and valid for tax return.

How is the IVA tax return process?

This procedure must be completed before the luggage check-in because officials can ask the foreigner to show the purchased goods that will leave the country. The acquired goods must remain in their original packaging. Suppose the expat has to make domestic layovers before leaving the country. In that case, he should complete the process in the last Colombian city where the luggage will be registered, with its subsequent delivery in foreign territory.

It is important to note that the unique method payments to receive the tax return, will be through Visa and Mastercard’s credit cards specified in the refund request form. No refunds of this tax will be made through any other payment method, even for payments made in cash or with debit cards, when the procedure is carried out directly at the DIAN office.

If the process is made at a validation kiosk of the authorized payment processing company, the refund can be made to the credit or debit card listed on the refund form.

It should be noted they will deduct all the financial and operational costs of the refund amount. If the refund amount is equal to or less than the intermediation costs for this process, they won’t refund the tax amount.

Would you like to download the step-by-step guide for VAT refund?

We've created a practical guide with all the steps you need to take to request the refund of your VAT for the purchase of taxable goods you acquired in Colombia during your stay in the country. Don't forget to access this benefit.

What kind of purchases qualify for the IVA tax return?

Purchases eligible for IVA tax return are those for goods whose value equals or exceeds three Tax Value Units (UVT). For the year 2023, the value of each UVT is COP 42,412  (approximately USD 10 at a reference rate of 4,000 COP/USD). Therefore, purchases that, according to the respective invoices, demonstrate a value equal to or greater than COP 127,236 (approximately USD 32 at a reference rate of 4,000 COP/USD) will be eligible for this benefit.

This refund only applies to taxable goods acquired through any payment method (credit cards, debit cards, cash, etc.) that leave the country with the person who made the purchase. If the item was purchased exclusively for use in the national territory, it would not qualify for the IVA tax refund. Please note that this process cannot be requested for taxes acquired by purchasing gasoline, food, alcoholic beverages, or services received in the Colombian territory.

Goods purchased by the traveler that will leave the country.

Purchases exceeding 127,236 colombian pesos.

IVA taxes for services acquired by the foreigner.

Goods consumed or intended for use in Colombia.

Where should I go to process the IVA tax return?

The foreigner wishing to request a refund of this tax should visit a DIAN office or Global Blue Sucursal Colombia, where an official from this institution will assist them.

Global Blue company logo: authorized entity for IVA tax return to foreigners.
Global Blue company logo: authorized entity for IVA tax return to foreigners.

Currently, these self-service offices or kiosks are located at the following airports:

El Dorado Airport, Bogotá.

-Level 2 – Entry 5 – DIAN Customs Office

-Second Floor – Gate 5 – kiosks

José María Córdova Airport, Rionegro, Antioquia.

-Second Floor – Gate 3 – DIAN office

-Second Floor – Entry 2 – Kiosks

Rafael Núñez Airport, Cartagena.

-International Departures Gate – Kiosks

-International Departures Entry – DIAN Office

Ernesto Cortissoz Airport, Barranquilla.

-Floor – Entry 3 – Kiosk


Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airport, Cali.

-International Hall – Second Floor Gate 2

Internacional Palonegro Airport, Bucaramanga..

-Second Floor- Gate 14 – Customs Office

FAQs about IVA tax return in Colombia

What is the maximum amount of IVA that can be refunded?

The maximum amount to be refunded to the requesting foreigner is 200 (UVT). This means that, for 2023, the maximum amount that can be returned is $8,482,400 COP (approximately $2,120 USD at a reference rate of 4,000 COP/USD).

How long does it take the IVA tax return process in Colombia?

When conducted at one of the DIAN offices, the refund process may take up to one calendar month from the requested date. However, if the request is made at self-service kiosks available at airports operated by the company responsible for the process, the refund time will be approximately ten (10) calendar days.

How many units of the same product can I take to the destination country when leaving Colombia?

In such cases, you should consult the customs regulations of the destination country to learn about specific restrictions and requirements regarding the import of goods.

Can I request the IVA tax return with invoices printed by Point of Sale machines (POS)?

You can only submit electronic invoices from DIAN to be eligible for this benefit. Therefore, any other document type will not be valid for requesting VAT refunds.

Can I request the IVA tax return after leaving Colombia?

It is recommended that the process for receiving a VAT refund be completed prior to departing the country because the format and purchased goods must be validated prior to luggage check-in.

How much time do I have to request the IVA tax return?

The execution of the process must be carried out within the same period of validity assigned for your stay within the country and before departing from national territory.

Do you want to obtain a detailed guide to request the IVA tax return in Colombia?

At, we know how important it is to take advantage of the tax benefits that Colombia grants to foreign visitors. By simply filling out the form, you will obtain this guide that we have created for you, with the step by step to request the IVA tax return in Colombia.

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2 comentarios en “VAT or IVA Tax Return for foreigners in Colombia

    1. Hello Liliana.

      We always recommend to request the IVA tax returns before leaving Colombia, because the purchase goods must be validated prior to luggage check-in.

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