How to bring your car to the Netherlands
Please note that you can find the latest information about importing your car to the Netherlands here.
It is quite common for expats to consider bringing their cars to the Netherlands. Either for day trips (visiting other cities or even neighbour countries) or for work (some Dutch companies compensate you for driving your own car since they do not have to lease you one), having your own car in the Netherlands can be a real life-saver or sorry to say, a living hell.
What I've learned when I tried to bring my car to the Netherlands
First of all, expatriates can drive their cars under any EU country registration only for six months! After that period all expats have to register and get Dutch license plates. In order to do that, two different taxes have to be paid:
› Road tax (Motorrijtuigenbelasting)
The amount of road tax depends on (vehicle) weight and fuel type (diesel is more expensive). As an indication, an average sized, non-diesel fueled car will cost around 500 euros per year. To calculate the exact amount you have to pay check the road tax calculator that can be found here (in Dutch).
› Private motor vehicle & motorcycle tax (BMP)
As opposed to Road tax, the private motor vehicle & motorcycle tax (BMP) depends on many factors and - hold your breath - for an average vehicle BMP can rise up to 5.000 euros.
How to avoid paying BMP tax
I bet this is the part why you are considering not to bring your car; at least, this is what I thought when they told me the tax price. Relax though, there is a solution:
Almost every EU expat can claim that the vehicle is part of his / her "removal goods". Why should you do that? Because this exempts you from BMP! Just fill out the Aanvraag vergunning vrijstelling BPM bij verhuizing form and send it to the RDW (Department of Road Transport).
Apparently, you have to prove that you have lived in another EU country for more than 12 months and more importantly, that the car has been in your possession for more that six months. This may be time-consuming but believe me, it is definitely worth it.
If your application is approved, you will receive confirmation that you are exempt from paying BMP.
Thus, you have to make an appointment with any RDW inspection centres to provide:
› your passport or ID
› any vehicle-related documents such as proof that you own the car
› your driving licence
› the BMP exemption letter you received after your application
› your vehicle
If everything goes well, an employee from Customs will give you a notice of completion and a "document of vehicle details for the BMP declaration," which you do not really need - or at least, I have not used it yet - but anyways…
What you need to get is a vehicle registration certificate, which has to be presented in any authorised garage to get the new license plates. When you get the Dutch plates, you are done. Almost..
After you get your plates, you are obligated to take out a third party private car insurance, which is generally a bit expensive, but not as expensive as you might think. All in all, having your own car in the Netherlands will cost you around 150 euros per month depending on how much you drive.
Hope this helps and more importantly, I am not forgetting anything.