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Transportation

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. You must make a declaration for ‘BPM’ (“special energy tax on private vehicles”) at Customs (Douane) or the Tax Service (Belastingdienst) and pay the amount owed
  3. Your vehicle must undergo inspection and approval by the RDW
  4. 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
  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. Making a declaration for ‘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
  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.

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 for exemption from BPM (Aanvraag vergunning vrijstelling voor verhuisgoederen)

No form available: permit is applied for digitally, either through moving service or customs representative. In the latter case you can search for one online (Google).

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 of afschrift uit de BRP”) 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

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. Once you have received the exemption for paying BPM, you still must file a BPM statement about the car. There are two forms that you need to complete:

  1. Aangifte bpm: Voor niet-vergunninghouders
  2. Berekening bpm: Bij de aangifte en melding bpm

You will need to have all the technical information about your car to complete these forms. An easier way to complete both forms is to use this website. On this page, select “Start AutotelexIMPORT” and the program will begin. Although you will need to be able to electronically pay 20 euros to use the program, it is well worth the investment rather than navigating the complex tax form yourself.

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. Your vehicle must be inspected at one of the RDW’s inspection stations. You can make an appointment at one of the stations via the central telephone number 0900 – 07 39 (€ 0,10 p.m.). 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 a one-day registration for the purposes of weighing and investigation by the RDW. This can be obtained when you make your appointment for the inspection. 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

The appointment should be made at least a week in advance, since the RDW will need a few days to send you the one-day registration papers. 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 number 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.) 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 “afschrift basisregistratie personen“, which lists your name, address, and the fact that you moved here from abroad on it. This will cost around 15 euros. 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. Groningen Duinkerkenstraat 25, 9723 BP Groningen. RDW: tel. 0900-0739 BPM:.Tel: (050) 368 79 97. Fax: (050) 313 49 80. Openingstijden: ma. t/m do. 8.30 – 16.00 Heerenveen Jupiter 12, 8448 CD Heerenveen. RDW: tel. 0900-0739 BPM:.Tel: (058) 294 96 12. Fax: (0513) 62 18 93. Openingstijden: 8.00 – 16.30 You must bring to the inspection:

  • your car or motorcycle
  • a valid driver’s license
  • your passport
  • a recent extract from the population register from the Municipality
  • evidence of the origin of the vehicle (e.g. its foreign registration certificate, bill of sale)
  • the permit for exemption from BPM

If the import inspection has been completed, your Dutch license plate registration will be processed regardless of whether or not you have already completed an APK. Again, APK is mandatory. If you choose not to arrange a combined import-APK inspection, you can combine the APK with the appointment to have your license plate made. You can schedule this once you have received the registration letters.

4. Annual car inspection (APK)

The “Algemene Periodieke Keuring” (APK) is a compulsory inspection for all vehicles under 3,500 kg. A similar inspection is a legal requirement in all European countries. (In Britain, for example, it is known as the MOT Test and in Germany, the TUV). 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. In the Netherlands, APK inspection may only be conducted by businesses that are certified by the RDW to do so. In order to maintain the quality of the inspections, the RDW conducts random testing as supervision of the way they are carried out. The inspector responsible for testing must also fulfill certain requirements. All vehicles, both those that pass the inspection and those that do not, are given an inspection report. There is no set price for an APK inspection. It could, for example, form part of the regular service. However, there are fixed fees for approval and for notation of 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. Safety and environmental protection For your safety and for that of other road users, as well as for the environment, it is important that your vehicle is in good technical condition. Regular servicing will help to ensure that it remains in good technical condition. Passing the APK inspection at that particular time does not mean that your car will remain safe and clean for the rest of the year and does not mean that you do not need to carry out any maintenance during that year!

5. The Dutch license plate

If the import inspection has been completed, your Dutch license plate registration will be processed, then the RDW will send you your registration paper with the permanent license plate number by mail. With this number, you go to one of the approved garages that make up the license plates and get it made on the spot. However, if you have not yet completed the APK for the vehicle, this is compulsory. If you chose not to arrange a combined import-APK inspection, you can combine the APK with the appointment to have your license plate made. You can schedule this once you have received the registration letters. After the APK is complete and passed and your license plate is ready, the plate is then attached to the car.  RDW-approved garages can be found at this link. Car 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.

6.  Obtain third party liability 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.