How to ship your car to the Netherlands

How to ship your car to the Netherlands

Shipping a car to the Netherlands can seem like a daunting task. However, it can be quite simple if you follow some important steps to ensure the vehicle is legal and all documentation is ready for customs agents.

Whether you are planning a permanent move, a work relocation or even a fun extended vacation, you can have a car moved quickly and safely to the Netherlands.

The first thing you will need to do is hire a reliable overseas car shipper to ensure your car is delivered to the port or to your new home safely and legally. Shippers should have the necessary experience working with customs agents in the Netherlands, and they should know the specific requirements for vehicles being imported to your local area.

How to ship your car overseas

Let’s take a look at the various ways a car can be delivered to the Netherlands:

Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO)

An affordable option, as well as one of the most common ways to ship a car overseas, is RORO. This mode of transportation involves loading a vehicle onto a ship, parking it in a space just as you would in a garage and securing it in place for the voyage.

One thing to note is the fact that on a RORO ship, cars are exposed. Not only to the elements, such as seawater, storms and winds, but also to the people on the ship and those who may be in the shipyards before or after the vehicle is transported overseas.

Before shipping with RORO, you will need to check how frequent departures are from the port and which ports accept RORO shipments.


For a safe voyage and a car that is fully protected from people as well as storms and seawater, a container is an ideal way to move a car overseas.

A container will cost more than RORO shipping, but inside a container, cars are safe and secure from the elements. Unless you drive the car to the container port on your own, you will be responsible for paying for transport to the port, the handling charge from the terminal and the loading fee to place the car inside the container.

Containers are sealed inside, and all contents are safe from vandals, weather and potential theft during shipment. Best of all, if you are moving, you can also load personal goods inside the container to ship along with the car, such as home furnishings.

To save a little money, you may be able to share a large container with another customer. The only downside to sharing is that you might need to wait a little until the other customer has loaded his or her vehicle.

Saving money

One of the biggest benefits of having a personal car to drive in the Netherlands will be the convenience you will have of travelling on your own time, rather than having to wait for a cab or another form of public transport. Owning a car of your own is also a money-saver because you won’t need to worry about the costs of car rental or public transportation every time you need to go anywhere.

From the US?

If you are moving to the Netherlands from the United States and you want to bring a car with you, you can do so without having to pay VAT or import duties, if sales tax has already been paid on the car and you have owned it longer than six months.


Most ports in the Netherlands will accept container shipments, but some do not take RORO shipments. Large port cities, such as Rotterdam or Amsterdam, are, generally speaking, the easiest to ship to. Rotterdam offers high-tech scanning tools for containers, which makes customs clearance much faster than at smaller ports in the Netherlands.

If you don’t plan to drive the car after it has arrived at the port, be sure to arrange transport to have it delivered to your new home. You will need to be at the port to accept it, but can leave it in safe hands for delivery once it clears customs.

Registration in the Netherlands

If your car is registered in an EU country, it can stay in the Netherlands for up to six months without it needing to be registered locally. When the six months are up, however, you will need to register the car and purchase Dutch licence plates.


To register a car locally, you will need to pay the following taxes:

Private Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Tax

This tax, also known as a BPM tax, is based on the CO2 emissions from the car. Electric or low emission car owners do not need to pay this tax. BPM tax is due at the time of registration. Owners of taxis, ambulances, scrap vehicles, and vehicles used to transport disabled people can file for an exemption from the BPM tax.

Road Tax

Most people need to pay road tax. The amount is calculated based on the type of car your own, the CO2 emissions, the type of fuel, the age of the car and the province you live in. If your car does not emit CO2 or is older than 40 years, you don’t have to pay road tax. If your car runs on diesel, you will have to pay more tax than someone with a car that runs on petrol.

You can find out more by calculating your road tax on the Confederation Fiscale Europeenne website.

Don't forget about car insurance!

Once your car has been registered and you have obtained new licence plates and paid your taxes, you will need to get local automobile insurance to drive legally.

Jason Mueller


Jason Mueller

Jason loves to travel and he enjoys writing while exploring the world. For more information on shipping to the Netherlands, you can visit A-1 Auto Transport online

Read more



Leave a comment

JigsawStu 14:22 | 12 January 2018

I have a question, my wife’s lives permanently in the netherlands, she owns a car which she acquired when she relocated and is a Dutch citizen, I travel over to vist and will relocate in 5-6 years. We have a car in the UK which I bought her a private plate for and I am going to be selling the car as I dont use it enough. However the private plate was a birthday gift and was reasonably expensive so I am going to retain it. Is their any way I can register the english private plate to my wife’s Dutch car, which is based full time in the netherlands??

aamir 00:27 | 3 April 2018


mdkazmac 22:49 | 2 August 2018

I am looking to ship a car to the Netherlands, get it registered there after clearing customs, then put it on the ferry to Newcastle, UK. My wife and I have a holiday home in the UK and would like to use this car in the UK as well as for travel inside the EU. Is this possible without a Netherlands address? Are there mandatory driver's license requirements if we were to get the car registered in the Netherlands?

suhailfriend 14:57 | 10 September 2019

Hi, I am working in Netherlands, recently relocated from India. I bought a new diesel car in India before 2.5 years. Emission norm of the car is BS IV, Also the car's steering is in the right side (same as in UK). If I ship the car from India to Netherlands, is there any issue in getting registration in Netherlands? Since I used the car more than 2 years,do I need to pay sales tax in Netherlands? Thanks in Advance,