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Importing a vehicle

When importing a vehicle to the Netherlands there are three main organisations involved:

  • the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer – RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority) is responsible for the registration of vehicles in the Dutch system, issuing vehicle registration numbers, and issuing certificates of vehicle roadworthiness;
  • the Belastingdienst  (Tax and Customs Administration) and
  • Douane (Customs) who are both responsible for the paperwork to do with importation, including exemption from import duties, and collecting road tax.

Foreign-registered vehicles may be driven in the Netherlands for up to three months from the date of arrival. After this time, the car needs to be registered with the Dutch authorities, and usually requires a Dutch number plate.

When registering a car or motorcycle from abroad in the Dutch vehicle registration system a Belasting van Personenauto’s en Motorrijtuigen – BPM (Car and Vehicle Tax) declaration must be filed. Before a BPM declaration can be filed, the passenger car, van or motorcycle must be identified or inspected at an RDW inspection station.

In a number of situations, applicants can be granted an exemption. In that case BPM does not have to be paid. The summary set out on the Belastingdienst website details the main exemptions, with information about how to apply for them.

For detailed information about importing a vehicle and to start the process go to Importing a Vehicle on the RDW website.