Home Living in the Netherlands Transportation Tips to easily take your vehicle to the Netherlands
Last update on January 23, 2020

Moving to the Netherlands? Taking your vehicle is easier than you think. Here are some foolproof tips.

Are you moving to the Netherlands soon? Then it is useful to know that it’s often worthwhile to take your car, motorbike or camper van with you.

As an expat, you are exempt from the Dutch registration tax and import duties in many cases. This could save you thousands of euros compared to someone who does not have a tax exemption for removal goods. Furthermore, less stringent administrative requirements apply to the admittance of a vehicle that has been designated as removal goods.

The process of importing a vehicle as removal goods is as follows:

1. Shipping

The first thing you think of when you plan to move is: ‘How do I get my belongings to the Netherlands?’ In some situations, you can arrange to have one or more vehicles shipped via your employer or a removal firm as part of your removal goods. If this is not the case, it’s recommended that you call upon the services of an import service provider to help with your vehicle’s relocation. Apart from the shipping, they can also take over all the administrative hassle.

It’s important to note that the party who arranges the shipping is also the party that must submit the removal goods exemption to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. We recommend that this is arranged well in advance of shipping.

2. Inward clearance and transport within the Netherlands

Once it has arrived in the Netherlands, your vehicle will be subject to inward clearance by customs. They will check whether you fulfill the conditions of the removal goods tax exemption. Once approved, you will receive a certificate of clearance and the vehicle may be collected by your import service provider or carrier. Please note that transport by road is not yet permitted as the vehicle does not yet have a valid number plate. Your vehicle must not be kept on a public road either.

3. Technical adaptation in accordance with European requirements

Less stringent administrative requirements apply to the admittance of a vehicle that constitutes removal goods. However, there are technical requirements that must be fulfilled, such as correct lighting. It is advisable to arrange for a specialised workshop or import service provider to make your vehicle’s lights compliant.

4. Testing and registration in the Netherlands

Once the vehicle has been successfully transported to the Netherlands and has been adapted according to the technical requirements, the next item on the list is to have it tested by the National Vehicle and Driving Licence Registration Authority or RDW.

You can arrange this yourself, but you should bear in mind that you will run into some practical issues. For example, you will need a temporary number plate and a special insurance in order to be permitted to drive to the testing station.  Furthermore, your vehicle may not be kept on a public road until it has a permanent Dutch registration, because it is not possible to take out any insurance until that time. Finally, you still have to buy and fit the new number plates yourself.

Arranging your own imports is therefore not especially practical for most people. If you prefer to save yourself the time and hassle of importing yourself, you may choose to outsource the testing process.

5. Hit the road!

Once the import process is complete, the RDW will enter your vehicle in the vehicle registration system. The vehicle registration or kentekencard is then sent to your home address. Once you have arranged insurance, you can hit the road!