Rules of the road

The relevance of the rules depends largely on which foreign country is in question and the purpose of stay in the Netherlands. There is a considerable amount of administration to deal with and taxes and fees need to be paid. The Dutch Tax Office and the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RWD) offer additional information on importing a car into the Netherlands.

Importing a car

When importing a car, customs will want to know where the car is registered. In nearly all situations, private motor vehicle and motorcycle tax must be paid to the Dutch Tax Office.

If the car is registered in the EU, the administration will be less demanding. No customs duty or VAT is charged in this case, but authorisation from the local customs office is a prerequisite. Once that’s obtained, apply for a vehicle registration certificate, pay motor vehicle tax and take out adequate insurance.

Cars imported from outside the EU are not exempt from VAT and import duties. Authorisation from customs to import a vehicle must be obtained before starting the importation process. Once the car arrives, file an import declaration form.

Because safety and environmental norms vary internationally, the car may need vetting before it is allowed on the road. If it clears, the owner will be permitted to drive it provided a vehicle registration certificate is obtained, motor vehicle tax is paid and adequate insurance is obtained.

Exporting a car

Before exporting a car, research the regulations in force in the other country. There are often exemptions for the removal of personal property including vehicles. Contact the country’s embassy for more exact information. It is essential that Dutch vehicle registration be cancelled before relocating. No restitution will be offered for private motor vehicle and motorcycle tax already paid.