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.

Congratulations! You are finally allowed to drive on Dutch roads. Don't forget to brush up on the Dutch driving rules to avoid traffic fines

Hope this helps and more importantly, I am not forgetting anything.
Good luck!

Alex Paleoroutas


Alex Paleoroutas

I was born in Athens in 1985. I got my first degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the University of Patras in 2009. Currently I am in the second...

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Daniel García G... 18:55 | 23 October 2017

Hello, Thanks for the detailed steps to get my car register in the Netherlands, it is really useful, as the procedure is not easy at all. I have, anyway, a question in this regard. My car is registered in Spain on my father's name, as he was the one who bought it for me some years ago. Anyway, I am paying the Spanish insurance, and I am a registered driving for the car. Would this be enough in order to ask for the exemption? Many thanks and best regards DANIEL GARCIA GRANDES

fishsticky 08:43 | 24 October 2017

Hello Daniel. The guidelines stated that the car has to be in your possession for more than six months and did not specify whether or not you have to be the one who actually paid for the car. So I think you should be ok with the documents you have. However I would recommend calling the RDW (0900 0739 - English speaking number) to make sure. Bear in mind that several years have passed since this article and the process may have changed slightly. Good luck!

Isabel Rodríguez 11:08 | 22 November 2017

Hi, thanks for the article. We are thinking of purchasing an electric vehicle before moving to Netherlands, e-cars are much cheaper in Spain than in Holland. According to BPM criteria, we would have to pay BPM since the car will be less than 6 months owned by myself, but, being an electric car, I guess I don´t pay BPM anyway, am I correct? Is there any additional charges I will have to face? e-cars pay no BPM nor MRB, what about parking permission taxes in Amsterdam? Thank you!

Pmunoz 17:37 | 11 January 2018

Hello, thanks for all the information! I'll move to the Netherlands (from Spain) to work for 6 months with a contract, so I have to register for the BSN. I'm thinking to go with my car, am I obliged to register the car? Obviously, I'll not bring the car if I have to obtain dutch plates and then register again the car in Spain. Thanks, Pablo

Roberto Pistolesi 10:56 | 20 July 2018

Dear Alex , thanks for the information. I moved to the Netherlands two years ago , to do a master and work a little as a freelance musician. I was told that I didn't have to pay the bpm until I was a student, but now the situation has changed. Do you know if I could apply for the bpm exemption , considering my situation ? I am kind of lost trying to solve this problem. Thanks for any further advice. Roberto

Uzoma Udeh 04:32 | 10 November 2018

Hello We are moving from Australia to the Netherlands, we have had our car for a little over a year and I am wondering if I would need any modifications or special permits for a right hand side drive car?

Bellthorpe 11:47 | 4 September 2019

It's probably too late now, but please do not bring your car from Australia. Driving on the "wrong" side of the road is dangerous. You will no doubt claim that you've been driving for ever, and never had an accident. But it's when things go awry that you can do the wrong thing, and end up on the wrong side of the road, or enter a roundabout the wrong way. You might well be killed, or kill someone else.

xenter22 17:45 | 4 June 2019

hi! i have few questions, maybe someone can help me: I registered in NL in April 2019, I bought a car in my origin country (EU country) end of December 2018, so I would like to import it to NL. Do you think I can qualify for the BPM exception if I try to register the car in NL end of June (when technically I have 6 months ownership of the car) - considering that I registered already in April (so before having 6 months).

florinh 13:47 | 25 November 2019

Salut! Cum ai rezolvat cu masina? Sunt exact in aceasi situatia ca si cea prezentata de tine mai sus. Merci!

danp01 22:43 | 5 January 2020

Hello. Great article. However, I do have a question. I am a soon-to-be college student in Netherlands. I am planning to buy a car 1 month before my arrival there, from my own country (Romania). Then, I will be driving it in Netherlands for 5-6 months, with the romanian license plates. After that legal period is up, and I will have to register with the RDW, can I still avoid the BMP tax, considering that I have owned the car for at least 6 months? Thanks in advance!