Importing a Vehicle to the Netherlands

Information about importing a new or used vehicle to the Netherlands...

A person registered as a legal resident in the Netherlands may not own and use a vehicle from another country. Tourists and visitors to the Netherlands may drive their foreign-plated car.

The process of importing a foreign-registered vehicle to the Netherlands for personal use is similar regardless of whether it is registered in a country within the European Union (EU) or non-European Union country.

The RDW (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer) is the national authority for road transport and vehicle administration.

EU-Registered Vehicles

There is free movement of goods throughout the EU area, and this applies to all personal belongings including cars and motorcycles. However, an import permit is needed for a tax-free registration of a car or motorcycle. Permits are granted to those who have lived in another EU state for at least twelve months and who have owned the car or motorcycle for at least six months. It may not be sold for 12 months after arrival in the Netherlands. These restrictions are in place to stop Dutch residents buying much less expensive cars in Germany and bringing them back across the border to Holland.

Vehicles from Outside the EU

If moving to the Netherlands from a non-EU country, privately owned cars or motorcycles may be registered tax-free although a permit is required. It is advisable to apply for this permit from the customs office of the intended district of residence before arriving in the Netherlands.

Vehicle Taxes

If the import permit is not granted, the vehicle may still be imported, however it will be taxed.

  • Information on vehicle import taxes is published in English by the Dutch Customs authority (Douane Nederlands)

Taxes that may be involved in the import process are:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT/BTW)
  • BPM (Bijzondere Verbruiksbelasting van Personenautos). "Green" tax is payable by the first person to register a car or motorcycle in the Netherlands. This does not apply to the first car for those settling in Holland if it can be shown to be part of the families goods and furniture on first arrival into Holland.
  • Import duties (rechten bij invoer)