If you are moving to the Netherlands and want to import your car, follow the step-by-step plan below.
To import a car, you must be at least 18 years old and registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP).
If you wish to import a camper van, caravan, motorcycle or any vehicle other than a car, there are a few differences. But the process is more or less the same.
Step-by-step plan for importing a car
Sometimes you must declare goods to Customs before your move to the Netherlands. This depends on whether you are moving from a country in the European Union (EU) or one outside it.
I'm moving from an EU country
Within the EU, free movement of goods applies. This means that you do not need to declare your car to Customs. And you do not need pay any import duties.
I'm moving from a non-EU country
You do not need to pay import duties because your car forms part of your household effects. But you do need to submit an import declaration to Customs. You should state that you wish to import your household effects without having to pay tax. You can find out how to submit an import declaration and what the requirements are on the Customs website.
Make a vehicle inspection appointment
You must have your car inspected by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW) at an RDW inspection facility. The RDW will assess whether the car meets European requirements.
Make a vehicle inspection appointment (RDW) (information in Dutch)
Find an RDW vehicle inspection facility (RDW) (information in Dutch)
Work out how to travel to your appointment
If you are registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP) you cannot drive a car with a foreign registration plate that is registered in your name on Dutch roads. You should therefore make alternative arrangements to bring your car to the RDW inspection facility. You have 3 options:
- Request an exemption from car and motorcycle tax (BPM) and motor vehicle tax (MRB) for short-term use. This exemption will allow you to drive your car on Dutch roads for a maximum of 2 weeks, starting from the day you first enter the country with your car. You do not need to pay any tax on the car during this period. However, your car must continue to be insured with your insurer abroad. You can apply for the exemption online on the Tax Administration (Belastingdienst) website. You must do this before you drive your car on Dutch roads. You will need a citizen service number (BSN) to apply for the exemption.
Apply for a short-term BPM and MRB exemption (Tax Administration)
- Apply to the RDW for a one-day registration. A one-day registration is only valid on the day of your vehicle inspection appointment. It allows you to drive from your home to the RDW inspection facility and back. Applying is free of charge using your DigiD. You should apply once you have made a vehicle inspection appointment. You'll receive the registration via an email link. You should make your own plates for your car (for instance, from cardboard) bearing the letters and numbers of the registration. You will also require third party liability insurance (WA-verzekering) for that day. You can take this out with an insurer.
Apply for a one-day registration (RDW) (information in Dutch)
- Hire a trailer for your car. You can hire a trailer to take your car to the appointment. You do not require additional insurance for this.
Gather the following documents and bring them with you to your vehicle inspection appointment:
- Your identity document.
- A complete, original foreign vehicle registration certificate and a photocopy of this.
- If applicable: a certificate of conformity (CVO). This is a ‘birth certificate’ for your car and lists its technical specifications. It allows you to show that your car complies with the admission requirements for the Netherlands.
- If you are moving from a country outside the European Union (EU): an import document issued by Customs no more than 12 months ago. The document must state that your car is part of the household effects you are bringing to the Netherlands.
As the owner of the car, you must attend the appointment in person. You cannot ask someone else to attend for you. Bring all the documents listed under step 3. During the appointment, the RDW will check your car and all the related documents. If there are no problems, the RDW will register your car in the Netherlands’ vehicle registration database.
You must pay for the inspection and registration. The amount you will need to pay depends on where your car is from, the type of car and the year it was manufactured. The RDW's customer service department can provide you with an estimate of the costs.
Transferring your car's foreign inspection certificate
If you are moving from a European Union (EU) country and your car has a valid inspection certificate, you can use it to drive in the Netherlands. The RDW will record its expiry date. Please inform the RDW of this during your inspection appointment. Bring the original foreign inspection report with you. An annotation on the foreign registration certificate or an inspection sticker affixed to the foreign registration plate is also acceptable.
If you a moving to the Netherlands and bringing your car with you, you do not need to pay car and motorcycle tax (BPM). You must, however, submit a BPM return. You can only do this on paper. You cannot do this online. Have your citizen service number (BSN) ready.
Submit a car and motorcycle tax (BPM) return (Tax Administration) (information in Dutch)
See the overview of BPM exemptions (Tax Administration)
After you have submitted your return
Once the Tax Administration and the RDW approve you BPM return, you will receive a new registration certification from the RDW within 5 working days. You will receive a letter with your new registration code the day after. Keep this letter safe. You will need the code if you want to sell your car.
Technical inspection (APK) mandatory
- If your car's foreign inspection certificate was transferred, the foreign inspection report remains valid until the expiration date. The RDW will record the expiration date in the Netherlands’ vehicle registration database.
- If the RDW carried out a new technical inspection (APK), you will receive the APK report.
- If you did not have the RDW carry out an APK inspection and your car does not have a valid foreign inspection certificate, you must have a Dutch vehicle inspection (APK) done. This can be carried out by a garage near where you live after you have received the new registration certificate. Do this 1 day after you have received the certificate, otherwise you may be fined.
In the Netherlands, if you have a car registered in your name, you must pay motor vehicle tax (MRB). This is also known as road tax. How much you need to pay depends on a several things, including the type of fuel the car runs on and its weight. You will need to pay MRB on a monthly or quarterly basis.
You do not need to file a separate return. The RDW will pass on your details to the Tax Administration. The Tax Administration will write to you and inform you how much you need to pay and by when.
Read more about motor vehicle tax (MRB) (Tax Administration) (information in Dutch)
From the moment that your car is registered in your name in the Dutch vehicle registration database, it must be insured in the Netherlands. This means you need to take out third party liability insurance (WA-verzekering). This will cover you if you cause any damage while driving your car. You should take out this insurance with a Dutch insurer.
If you had insurance abroad, you can cancel this.
Have Dutch registration plates made for your car. You should have a recognised registration plate manufacturer do this. Take your registration certificate with you.
Find a recognised registration plate manufacturer (RDW) (information in Dutch)
Driving on Dutch roads
Once you have completed all the steps above, and your car has Dutch registration plates, you can drive it on Dutch roads.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.