How to Import Your Car from the US to the Netherlands

Importing a car from the US to the Netherlands is a step-by-step process. Below is a complete guideline on how to import a car to the Netherlands from the US.

Have you recently moved to the Netherlands and have to import your car from the US? Did you buy a car from the country or for some other reason? Regardless of why you need to import a vehicle, it is important to understand that transferring a foreign car to the Netherlands is not easy.

Take note that the requirements and process in transferring a car from the US to the Netherlands are different from a vehicle coming from an EU country. If the car comes from a non-EU country, the process is longer and more difficult compared to the latter. Likewise, it is more expensive.

Step 1: Obtain a Permit from the Customs Office

If you’re moving to the Netherlands from the USA, you need to register your car tax-free. To do so, you’ll need a permit from the customs office of the intended district of residence. You have to acquire the permit before arriving in the Netherlands.

Be warned that not all cars are exempted from registration tax (BPM). A car is classified as a removal good and exempted from registration tax and import duties as well. However, a car can be tax-exempt provided that the owner lived overseas for 12 months used the car for at least six months before arriving in the Netherlands. Therefore, newly-bought cars are not exempted from tax registration.

Step 2: Complete the Requirements Asked

Before importing a car to the Netherlands, be aware of the taxes and requirements. Here are the documents you will need for the move and to validate your claim.

  • A copy of passport or any proof of identity
  • A copy of car license registration from the USA (this is different from the manufacturer registration)
  • Proof of purchase of the vehicle
  • A proof of residence, a copy of the rental contract, or buying contract
  • A copy of Dutch employment contract if moved to the country because of work
  • Proof of previous employment if available
  • Proof of enrolment to the Netherlands because of study

Step 3: Seek RDW Approval for Import

After completing the requirements and BPM exemption, if applicable, the next step is to have your vehicle inspected and approved by the RDW. The RDW approval is proof that the car passed the vehicle standards and requirements by authorities in the Netherlands.

During the inspection, you’ll have to provide information about your car such as VIN. If you’re not aware of your car’s VIN, you can find your identification number through an online VIN checker.

If the car passed the inspection, you have to arrange a combined import-APK inspection. It is a mandatory process but not a prerequisite for Dutch license plate registration. Thus, you can get this certification after registration.

Step 4: Get a Dutch License Plate

Once the car passed the inspection with approved BPM and RDW, the last step is to get a Dutch license plate. Comply with the requirements asked by authorities to obtain a permanent license plate number. Take note that you can’t use the vehicle in the Netherlands without a driving license and a registered Dutch license plate.