Importing a car into the Netherlands

Taxes, paperwork and procedure

Importing a car into the Netherlands

If you’re moving to the Netherlands on a long-term basis and wish to import your car from abroad, it is good to do your homework first and inform yourself about taxes and legislation.

Shipping and customs

If you are relocating to the Netherlands, you or your employer might contract a removal company, which can ship your car as part of the removal goods. Alternatively, you can also use the services of a dedicated car transport company or organise the process yourself (which can be a little complicated).

Expats are in some cases not obliged to pay registration and import duties, and you want to make sure not to miss out on that benefit. It is important to remember that in the end, whoever will be in charge of the transport also has to organise the exemption for removal goods .

Upon arrival, your car will be checked by customs to see if it fulfils the condition of removal good exemption. If everything goes well, you will receive a certificate of clearance and can collect your vehicle.

Registration and licence plates

Foreign-registered vehicles may be driven in the Netherlands for up to 3 months (or even 6 months, if they have been registered in the EU) from the date of arrival. After this time, you need to get a Dutch license plate.

If you are handling the import yourself, make sure to start the registration process while you are still within the initial 3 or 6 month time period. Otherwise you need to arrange a temporary number plate and a special insurance, in order to even be allowed to drive your vehicle to the testing station or on any public road as such.

Getting your licence plate

You can only get your license plates at the RDW , a company responsible for the admission and registration of vehicles and their components, and providing the documents and information needed.

You will need to make an appointment to get your license plates. On the day of the appointment, you will visit the RDW with the proper documents (foreign registration documents, your ID and any other relevant paperwork). There, your car will be checked.

Usually, you will receive a report within four days. With this report in hand, you can go to a garage, where they will create your license plates.


Depending on your circumstances, you will have to pay certain taxes:

  • Road tax (motorrijtuigenbelasting or wegenbelasting)

Once the import and registration process has been completed, and you have received the license plate and paid your taxes, the next step will be to arrange insurance. Congratulations if you made it through the whole process - and drive safe!

Further reading

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