How to import your car to the Netherlands

How to import your car to the Netherlands

The Netherlands has an excellent public transport system, but if you are planning to stay here long-term, you might want to buy a car or bring your car to the Netherlands. But how do you go about this and what are the rules when it comes to importing your car to the Netherlands?

Car import services in the Netherlands

Do you need a little help with importing your car to the Netherlands? There are various companies that can assist you with the administrative procedures and the registration process, making importing your car to the country more efficient and hassle-free. One such company is VDS Auto Import Services. They provide comprehensive support and expertise to ensure your imported vehicle complies with Dutch regulations.

Importing your car: The rules in a nutshell

If you want to drive your car in the Netherlands legally, and avoid getting a traffic fine, there are a couple of things you need to do:

RWD inspection and registration

To register your car, you will need to make an appointment at an RWD (Netherlands Vehicle Authority) inspection station. You will need to bring the following documents to the inspection, as well as the car:

  • The foreign license number certificate
  • Your identity card
  • Certificate of Conformity (COC) / foreign APK report
  • Vehicle inspection report (APK)

Based on the documents you bring, the RWD will assess whether the registration of your car can be transferred. It is possible to have the RWD perform the periodic vehicle inspection (Dutch APK) during the appointment, but you will need to indicate this when making the appointment. If your car still has a valid foreign APK report, you can request it is transferred.

Are you moving to the Netherlands from a non-EU/EFTA country?

You will have to make sure your car is checked by RWD, so it meets Dutch road safety, noise, environmental, and window illuminating feature requirements (if applicable).

Removal goods tax exemption

If you move to the Netherlands and bring your car with you, you may be able to receive the removal goods tax exemption. This particular tax exemption makes it possible for expats to import certain household effects without paying import duties.

The following conditions apply:

  • You are moving to the Netherlands from another country and you are taking your car with you.
  • The car is part of your movable property.
  • You will use your car for the same purpose as you used it in your country of origin.
  • You bought your car at least six months before you moved to the Netherlands and you have used it during this period, meaning it is not a new car.
  • You lived at least 12 months abroad before moving to the Netherlands.

How to apply for the removal goods exemption as an EU/EFTA national

You will need to apply for this exemption within 12 months after moving to the Netherlands. You can apply for the removal goods exemption via the form “Aanvraag vergunning vrijstelling bpm bij verhuizing." You can fill this out on your computer, after which you will need to sign it and send it to the Belastingdienst.

Please note: You will still have to pay bpm, even after receiving the exemption, if you sell or hire out your car within 12 months after its registration in the Netherlands, and / or you lend the car to someone else during this period.

How to apply for the removal goods exemption as a non-EU/EFTA national

If you are moving to the Netherlands from a non-EU/EFTA country, you can still ask for an exemption. However, it is your relocation company that must submit the removal goods exemption to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Douane). Make sure you arrange this well in advance of your move.

How to get a Dutch licence plate

After approval by RWD, you will get a licence number certificate within four to five working days. After receiving the certificate, you can have a Dutch licence plate manufactured at a recognised plate manufacturer.

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