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Importing a motor vehicle

If you have bought a car or motorcycle outside the Netherlands, there are a number of conditions attached to your being able to use it on the Dutch roads:

  1. In a number of instances you must make a declaration for import duty and/or VAT and pay the amount owed
  2. Apply for a BPM exemption (if applicable)
  3. Your vehicle must undergo inspection and approval by the RDW
  4. Fill a declaration for BPM tax (also if you have obtained an exemption)
  5. Have your car inspected (APK)

Once you have completed the above stages you will receive a registration certificate. You must then:

  1. Have the number plates made up by an authorized manufacturer
  2. Obtain third-party liability insurance for your car or motorcycle

1. Making a declaration for import duty and/or VAT

If you intend to drive a vehicle purchased abroad on the Dutch public highways, you must fulfill a number of conditions. One of these conditions is to make a declaration for import duty and/or VAT.

If you bought your car or motorcycle in another EU country:

You need not declare your purchase for import duty provided the vehicle is to be registered (with a normal registration, not a dealer’s registration.)

However, a distinction is drawn between new and used vehicles for VAT purposes. VAT is payable on new imported cars and motorcycles but not on used vehicles. “Used” in this instance means a vehicle which has driven in another EU country and which was first registered in your name more than six months ago.

If you bought your car or motorcycle outside the EU:

You must declare your purchase to Customs at the time of actual import. Customs will then charge you import duties and VAT. The necessary documentation is available from Customs.

2. Applying for an exemption of ‘BPM’ tax

If you intend to drive a car or motorcycle purchased abroad on the Dutch public highways, you must fulfill a number of conditions. One of these conditions is that you make a declaration for BPM (“special tax on private vehicles”). Most people have to pay BPM. However, you can request a permit for an exemption from BPM if you fulfill several conditions. The conditions are listed below:

If you are moving from another EU country:

  1. You move from within the EU to the NL and bring your car with you
  2. Your car is part of your household goods that you imported, that is, you are importing your car within 12 months from your date of registration in NL
  3. You use the car for the same purpose that you used it your previous country of residence
  4. The car was in your possession and in use by you for at least 6 months before you moved to the NL
  5. You lived at least 12 months in your previous country before moving to the NL

If the above conditions apply to you, then you can request the exemption, Permit for exemption from BPM (Aanvraag vergunning vrijstelling BPM bij verhuizing binnen de EU) – The form is available at this link.

Please note: If the Tax Authority grants you this exemption, you may not sell, lease, or lend the car or motorcycle within 1 year after registration. Residing family members with a valid driving license may use the car or motorcycle. 

If you are moving from a country outside the EU:

  1. You move from outside the EU to the NL and bring your car with you
  2. You imported the car within 12 months after you moved to the NL
  3. You use the car for the same purpose that you used it your previous country of residence
  4. The car was in your possession and in use by you for at least 6 months before you moved to the NL
  5. You lived at least 12 consecutive months outside of the EU before moving to the NL
  6. You will not sell, loan, pawn, or lease your car within 12 months of importing

If the above conditions apply to you, then you can request the exemption. Permit  applied for via a digital declaration system (AGS), either through a moving service or customs representative. In the latter case, you can search for one online.

The Belastingdienst/Douane does ask for quite a lot of documents to substantiate your claim (see following list)

  1. Extract from the population register (“uittreksel basisregistratie personen”) from the Municipality (gemeente)
  2. Proof of deregistering from your previous country (if applicable)
  3. Copy of your passport
  4. Copy of your proof of purchase of the car (bill of sale and title)
  5. Copy of your proof of car license registration from your previous country

You may also need to show (for proof of address outside of the EU):

  1. Rental contract or home ownership papers from your previous country AND from the NL
  2. Copy of your employment contract from your previous country AND from the NL
  3. Copy of your health insurance policy from your previous country
  4. Bank account numbers and the name of the bank from your previous country

You can apply for this exemption within 12 months of your move to the NL. The form and supporting documentation should be sent to the address on the form.

Please note: in most cases, students coming to the Netherlands are not eligible for a BPM exemption!

3. Having your car or motorcycle approved for import by the RDW

Once you have received your BPM exemption, you must have your vehicle inspected and approved by the RDW.

Inspection at test center Lelystad

Most of the vehicles brought from outside the EU/EFTA are not built according to a Dutch or European type approval. The special equipment required for the inspection is only available at the RDW test center in Lelystad. 

Approve at other RDW locations

In the following situations, you can have your vehicle inspected at RDW test stations across the country:

  • If you enter the vehicle as part of your household goods.
  • If the vehicle has had a Dutch license plate in the past.
  • If the vehicle has an European type approval. You can request this from the manufacturer or importer of the vehicle brand. 

If any of the above mentioned situations apply to you, your vehicle can (and must) be inspected at one of the RDW’s inspection stations.

If you have brought your car as part of your household goods, you will also need to make an appointment to go to the Municipality before the RDW appointment, to request an extract from the population register or “Uittreksel BRP”, which lists your name, address, and the fact that you moved here from abroad. This will cost you approximately €17.

You can make an appointment at one of the stations via the central telephone number 0900 – 0739 (€ 0,10 p.m.) or the RDW website.

To make the appointment at the RDW, you need to know the following information about your car:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Year
  • Color
  • Type of gasoline
  • Number of doors
  • Number of cylinders
  • Standard or automatic
  • VIN or chassis number
  • Approximate weight

Your vehicle may be transported to the inspection station (e.g. by trailer or pick-up) but you may also drive it there yourself. In this case you must be in possession of an one-day pass for the purposes of weighing and investigation by the RDW. This can be obtained when you make your appointment for the inspection 

For vehicles imported from outside of the EU/EFTA

For vehicles imported from an EU/EFTA country (Click the red ‘Keuringafspraak maken‘ button and fill out the requested information, which is also listed on the next page)

 After making the appointment, the RDW will send confirmation and the paperwork to your house. Included in the paperwork is a one-day pass, if requested. This pass also gives your temporary license plate number. This numbers needs to be written onto a piece of cardboard and attached with a rubber band to your license plate holder or taped to the back and front windows on the inside.

You will also need to arrange car insurance, once you have a temporary license plate number. The insurance will be cheaper for you if you can get a statement from your insurance company about your driving behavior (i.e.: a ‘no claims’ declaration that lists how many years you have driven accident free). 

With the temporary license plate in place, you can drive the vehicle to the RDW inspection station on the inspections date. The addresses of the RDW inspections stations are listed below.

 

RDW Inspections Stations

Almelo

Van de Broekeweg 14, 7602 PH Almelo

Opening hours:

8.30 – 16.00

Heerenveen

Jupiter 12, 8448 CD Heerenveen

Opening hours:

8.00 – 16.30

Venlo

L.J. Costerstraat 55, 5916 PR Venlo

Opening hours:

8.30 – 16.30

Amsterdam

Tijnmuiden 1, 1046 AK Amsterdam

Opening hours:

8.15 – 15.15

Nieuwegein

Hollandhaven 11, 3433 PD Nieuwegein

Opening hours:

8.15 – 17.00

Waddinxveen

Coenecoop 290, 2741 PL Waddinxveen

Opening hours:

8.30 – 17.00

Arnhem

Malburgseveerweg 2, 6833 HK Arnhe

Opening hours:

8.00 – 16.30

Rijen

Haansbergseweg 18, 5121 LI Rijen

Opening hours:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays 8.30 – 17.00

 Zwijndrecht

Zoutverkopersstraat4, 3334 KJ Zwijndrecht

Opening hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 7.45 – 16.30

Elsloo

Businesspark Stein 160, 6181 MA Elsloo

Opening hours:

8.30 – 16.30

Roosendaal

Borchwerf 18, 4704 RG Roosendaal

Opening hours:

8.30 – 17.00

 Zwolle

Ossenkamp 2, 8024 AE Zwolle

Opening hours:

8.00 – 16.30

Groningen

Duinkerkenstraat 25, 9723 BP Groningen

Opening hours:

Monday to Thursday, 8.30 – 16.00

Schiedam

Calandstraat 97, 3125 BA Schiedam

Opening hours:

8.00 – 17.00

 

‘s-Hertogenbosch

Hedikhuizerweg 19, 5222 BC ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Opening hours:

8.30 – 16.30

Veldhoven

De Run 4412, 5503 LR Veldhoven

Opening hours:

8.00 – 16.00

 

Please note that this inspection costs a fee; updated information can be found here.

Once the inspection has been carried out, the RDW will digitally send the technical information of your vehicle to the Tax Authority (Belastingdienst).

4. Filing a declaration for BPM

Even if you have received the exemption for paying BPM, you still must file a BPM statement about the car.

There is one form that you need to complete:

Aangifte/ melding/ opgaaf bpm

Send your declaration with the requested attachments in a stamped (gefrankeerd) envelope to:

Belastingdienst

PO Box 2710

6401 DE Heerlen

From 1 October 2018, the Belastingdienst processes the BPM declarations automatically. The order in which you submit your declaration determines the decision time. You can shorten the lead time by providing your data in one package in this order:

  1. Form ‘Aangifte/Melding/Opgaaf BPM’
  2. Attachments to the BPM declaration form
  3. Other appendices such as invoice, price list, CVO, etc.
  4. Valuation report

5. Annual car inspection (APK)

The “Algemene Periodieke Keuring” (APK) is a compulsory inspection for all vehicles under 3,500 kg. If your vehicle is three years or older, it must be inspected annually. The inspection looks at various aspects of safety and environmental protection. Vehicles over 3,500 kg and all taxis must be inspected annually once they are one year old.

There is no set price for an APK inspection. However, there are fixed fees for approval and for notifying the fact that your vehicle has been inspected by the RDW.

Three years old or more The date of the so-called ‘first approval’ decides when your vehicle becomes liable for inspection. This date can be found on Part I of the registration certificate and is usually the date on which the certificate was issued. Your vehicle must have its first inspection three years after this date. You may have the vehicle inspected up to two months prior to this date; this does not affect the date by which the vehicle must in future be inspected. For example: your vehicle must be inspected on or before 14 April. You may therefore have the inspection carried out any time between 15 February and 14 April. 14 April remains the final date for inspection. Do not therefore put off the inspection too long. Appeal If you have a complaint about the inspection (for example, you later find a rusted strut which was rusted at the time of the inspection), or if you disagree with the result, you may lodge an appeal. 

6. The Dutch license plate

If the car passes the import inspection and the Tax Service has received the BPM declaration, then the RDW will send you your registration papers, including the permanent license plate number, by mail within 5 working days. You will receive the following:

  • A letter stating your Dutch license plate number (kentekenbewijs)
  • One working day later, you will receive a letter with a so-called tenaamstellingscode, a code that belongs to the kentekenbewijs.

If you have arranged for an APK inspection, you will also receive the APK report separately. Together, the kenkenbewijs and the tenaamstellingscode comprise your registration certificate. More information on this certificate is mentioned below. You have to have your Dutch license plate made by an approved manufacturer. RDW-approved manufacturers can be found here

Registration Certificate

Every owner or keeper of a registered vehicle should be in possession of a registration certificate. This certificate consists of three parts. If your registration certificate has been lost or damaged you must obtain a replacement from the RDW.  

  • Part I
    • This part shows the technical specification of the vehicle, such as the make, model and chassis number. The owner/keeper is obliged to keep this part in the vehicle whenever it is use.     
  • Part II
    • This part shows the personal details (name and address) of the vehicle’s owner/keeper. This part must also be kept in the vehicle whenever it is in use.
  • Part III: Transfer of ownership certificate
    • The final part of the registration certificate is a sort of ‘proof of ownership’ and is necessary when selling the vehicle. The transfer of the vehicle’s ownership must be registered at the Post Office using this part of the certificate. The transfer document need not be kept with the vehicle: it is probably more sensible to keep it in a safe place at home.

7.  Obtain auto insurance

If you have not yet done so, you need to arrange auto insurance. There are many different companies that offer Insurance so shop around for the best deal.
Usually if you have 3 or more insurances with the same company, you receive discounted prices.