Foreign companies with seat in non european contries which have paid VAT in Germany in relation to their business activity of limited period of time ( for examples fair trades ) can apply for VAT refund.
The refund period can be 3 months up to one year depending on the choice of the entrepreneur. The refund period can span less than three months when it comes to the remaining period of time of one calendar year. The refund sum must amount at least to 1.000 €. This requirement is not applicable if the refund period is one calendar year or the last period of time of the calendar year. In this case the VAT to be refunded must be minimum 500€. The refund application must be submitted to the Tax Office in charge within six months after ending of the calendar year in which the refund claim arose. If the company missed to observe this exclusion period, the claim can not be assert anymore. It lapses. The contractor certification in original and the invoices in original are to be provided together with the application. The certification is valid one year from the issuance date and must cover the refund period.
The VAT refund procedure can take a lot of time because the applications are processed according to the entry date. That is why you should not wonder when your VAT is reimbursed one year or even more after having submitted the application.