Car import & registration

For importing your car into the Netherlands you’ll need a permit for the free-of-tax registration of your car or motorcycle in the Netherlands. You can apply for a permit at the customs district in the area in which you will reside. It is advisable to apply for this permit well before moving to the Netherlands. As an international resident in the Netherlands, you can use your own drivers licence for a certain period of time, at the end of which you will be required to obtain a Dutch licence (rijbewijs). Depending on your nationality you can either exchange your foreign licence or need to take some lessons and do a theory and practical test. Read more in this section.

Permits are issued subject to the following conditions:
-You must have been resident in another EU country than the Netherlands for at least twelve months.
-In that period of twelve months you must have been resident in that other EU country for at least 185 days for professional and family reasons.
-Your car or motorcycle must have been in your possession for at least six months and must have been used in that other EU country.
-Following your move to the Netherlands, your car or motorcycle may not be lent out, pledged, leased or sold for twelve months. If you wish to do so anyway, you must first inform the customs authorities of the customs district you live in. They will then decide whether you have to pay taxes.

Important! If you have worked in another EU country than the Netherlands and your family lived in the Netherlands during that period, you will be considered to have been resident in the Netherlands for customs purposes. The same applies to the situation in which you have worked or studied in another EU country for a certain period of time. This can mean that you will not receive a permit and that your car or motorcycle will not be registered free of tax. Besides applying for a permit you must make a few other provisions in the Netherlands before you are allowed to drive your car or motorcycle here.

Vehicle Registration Certificatecar registration

If you bring your car or motorcycle from another EU country into the Netherlands, you may not immediately drive it. Your car or motorcycle must first have a Dutch vehicle registration certificate. This requires a technical inspection by the National Vehicle Administration Agency (RDW, Centrum voor vervoertechniek en informatie). At the RDW inspection point you will receive a declaration form for the motor vehicle tax (BPM). You must submit several copies of this form at a customs office where BPM declarations can be lodged. The vehicle registration certificate will be automatically sent to you.

You are, however, responsible for obtaining registration plates yourself. This can be done at a recognized garage. It is advisable to have your car or motorcycle inspected and lodge your BPM declaration as soon as possible.

Detailed information in English can be found on the website of the RDW.