If you are a non-EU resident who has been studying in the UK and you leave the UK and EU for 12 months or more, then you can sometimes get VAT refunds on purchases you have made in the UK within the last 3 months. You can learn more about this on the government's Tax on shopping and services webpages.

It’s very important to know that once you claim the tax refund, you are confirming that you won't enter the UK or EU for the next 12 months on any sort of visa, including Tier 4, Short-term study and even tourist visas. This could mean that you’re not able to come back into the UK for your graduation ceremony or for any resits or retakes that you end up requiring in order to complete your course.

If you are planning to leave the UK before the official end date of your course (as stated on your CAS), you might wish to obtain a letter from Student Services to support your tax refund claim at Customs. Student Services will only be able to produce a letter confirming you have no further obligation to remain in the UK for the remainder of your course if:

  • Your academic department have confirmed to you in writing that this is the case. You would need to be able to show or forward this documentation to the Visa Compliance team at visa-reg@kcl.ac.uk.
  • The Visa Compliance team has agreed to report to the UKVI that King’s will withdraw its Tier 4 sponsorship of your visa to show that you’re no longer required to be in the UK for the rest of your course.
  • You have discussed your situation with a member of the Advice & Guidance team to demonstrate that you’re aware that your Tier 4 visa will be cut short and you won’t be able to come back to the UK for the next 12 months once you claim the refund.