Importing a car from a country outside the EU or EFTA

Are you buying a car in a country outside the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the United Kingdom and do you want to drive it in the Netherlands? Then you must apply for a Dutch registration number with us. This procedure often involves more than you might think. You must probably have your vehicle tested at our test centre in Lelystad. That costs you extra time and money. Read what you have to take into account.
    • You must probably have your vehicle tested at our test centre in Lelystad.
    • The noise a vehicle makes while driving often is a reason for us to reject the vehicle. So make sure you have the right exhausts and air filters. Some vehicles require European software for the correct sound.
    • Mirrors and lighting are also often a reason for rejection. Check all the requirements.
    • Check your vehicle in advance with a garage. Make sure your vehicle meets the APK (periodic technical inspection) requirements. This way you avoid the extra costs that come with a reinspection by us.
    • Even if we reject your vehicle, you will be billed for the inspection. 

    Go to an RDW inspection station 

    You can go to an RDW inspection station in the following 2 situations: 

    • You have the right documents

    In these cases, identification of the vehicle and verification of the documents is only required if: 

    • The vehicle has had a Dutch vehicle registration number before.
    • The vehicle has a National or European type approval. Request proof of this type approval from the manufacturer or importer - ask for the Certificate of Conformity.
    • If the foreign registration number has a valid and complete European Approval Number which has been verified by us. Please call the Technical Knowledge Center on (+31) (0) 88 008 7477 and select option 5.

    Does your vehicle meet 1 of these requirements? Go to Importing inside the EU.

    • You move address or have an older vehicle

    A technical inspection is required if:

    • you brought the vehicle with you when you moved to the Netherlands
    • the date of first registration of the vehicle is before 1-1-1998.

    Does your vehicle meet one of these requirements? Go to Moving to the Netherlands and bringing your vehicle with you.

    1. By clicking the button 'Make an appointment' you open the online form "Individuele goedkeuring" (Individual inspection). Fill in this form.
    2. We will call you to make an appointment. Please note! Our test centre is very busy. So it may take 2 to 4 weeks before we call you. It also may be that we can only schedule your vehicle 2 to 3 months later. Please state on the form if you need a one-day registration certificate.
    3. Bring your vehicle on the day of the appointment. Make sure the fuel tank is filled for at least ¼. You cannot stay. We will call you after the inspection to pick the vehicle up.
      You must bring: 
      •  the complete foreign registration certificate (if applicable)

      • your valid identity document.

      You do not have a foreign registration certificate? Contact the test centre in Lelystad

    4. We identify the vehicle, assess whether it meets the requirements and we drive the vehicle a few rounds on the proving ground.
    5. We approve your vehicle? Then you tax it (BPM). The vehicle tax (BPM) for a passengers car depends on its CO2 emission. That amount may run into thousands of euros. Read on the website of the Tax and Customs Administration how to calculate the vehicle tax (BPM) and how to tax your vehicle.
    6. We will send you a new registration card within 5 working days after approval by the Tax and Customs Administration. One working day later we will send you a letter with a complete registration code. Keep the registration code safe.
    7. We will send you the bill for the test(s) we performed in Lelystad.
    8. Insure your vehicle for Civil Liability (WA). You will automatically receive an invoice for motor vehicle tax from the Tax and Customs Administration. For more information, see "Vehicle obligations".
    9. Have registration number plates made by a registered number plate supplier. Take the vehicle registration card with you. You can find a registered number plate supplier with the RDW location finder (only available in Dutch). 
  • Costs for importing a vehicle add up quickly

    Please be aware that the costs may add up when you import a vehicle from outside the EU. It starts with the cost of transport to Europe. Then you pay import duties and VAT. You pay vehicle tax to the Tax and Customs Administration upon admission and you will receive our bill for the inspection(s) and for the costs of your registration card. Also take a look at our information at ‘Tips when importing a car'.

    Inspection in test centre Lelystad
    Description Cost
    Import of passengers car/light commercial car (vehicle category M1/N1) €859,00
    Reinspection passengers car/small commercial car (vehicle category M1/N1) €494,00
    Your vehicle has been approved
    Description Cost
    Registration in the vehicle register €40,80
    Registration in a person's name via the RDW €10,75
    Individual approval certificate €57,00
  • If you have a car, commercial car or camper registered to your (company) name, you must meet a number of obligations.

    1. Insurance
    2. APK (Periodic Technical Inspection)
    3. Motor vehicle tax
    4. Correct registration number plates

    Insurance

    A car, commercial car or camper must be insured from the moment it is registered in your name (in accordance with the Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Act (WAM)).

    You can take out liability insurance with an insurance company. This must be an insurance company authorised to make entries in the RDW's insurance register. This usually means that it has to be a Dutch company.

    When you take out the insurance, the insurance company asks you for the reporting code. This reporting code consists of the last 4 digits of the vehicle identification number (VIN). You can find the reporting code on the vehicle log book that you received when you bought the vehicle and on the registration card.

    APK (Periodic Technical Inspection)

    A car, commercial car or camper must be APK inspected (APK meaning Periodic Technical Inspection).

    Motor vehicle tax (MRB)

    You have to pay motor vehicle tax (MRB). When you register a vehicle registration certificate in your name, you automatically file a motor vehicle tax return at the same time. The Tax and Customs Administration will send you automatically an invoice for motor vehicle tax.

    For more information on motor vehicle tax, go to the site of the Tax and Customs Administration.

    Do you have a classic vehicle? You may be eligible for the tax arrangement for classic vehicles. Under this arrangement of the Tax and Customs Administration, you do not pay vehicle tax for your classic vehicle. However, you do have to comply with the insurance obligation and the APK obligation. 

    For more information about the classic vehicle arrangement, ("oldtimerregeling") go to the site of the Tax and Customs Administration.

    Registration number plates

    You must have the correct registration number plates on your (camping/commercial) car.

    Suspend vehicle obligations

    You can suspend the obligations that come with owning a (camping/commercial) car by taking the vehicle "off the road". This is called suspension.

    Fines after routine checks of registered particulars

    We check the insurance register and the inspection register daily. This way we can immediately see whether a vehicle is insured and APK-approved. Each vehicle is checked in both registers at least once a year (100 percent check). We perform these checks on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and Security.
     
    If your car is not insured, you will be fined by the Central Judicial Collection Agency (CJIB) in Leeuwarden. If your car is not APK approved, you will also be fined by the CJIB. The Tax and Customs Administration checks via the vehicle register whether you have to pay motor vehicle tax (MRB) for your vehicle. If you do not pay (on time), you will be fined by the Tax and Customs Administration.

    Amount of the fine

    You can find the amount of the fine here (only available in Dutch). 

  • We do not issue a registration number for a car you drive from abroad to the Netherlands. Ask abroad about the possibilities there.
    You can also transport the vehicle on a trailer or car ambulance. Are you driving the vehicle with the foreign registration number plates and the valid foreign registration certificate to us? Keep in mind that you will not get back the foreign registration certificate. After you have been with us, you are no longer permitted to drive the vehicle on public roads. So apply for a free one-day registration plate from us.
    For more information, see 'One-day registration plate'. After you received the Dutch registration certificate, you may use the vehicle (again).
  • If you have a vehicle without a Dutch registration number inspected by us, you can transport it by car ambulance to the inspection station. Would you rather drive the vehicle to us yourself? Then you need a one-day registration certificate. You can apply for this registration certificate (free of charge) using DigiD or eHerkenning.

    Conditions for a one-day registration plate

    • You can only apply for a one-day registration plate if you make an inspection appointment at the same time.
    • Only valid on the day of inspection.
    • Only valid in the Netherlands.             

    It works like this

    1. You made an inspection appointment. 
    2. You log in with your DigiD or eHerkenning by clicking the button 'Apply for a one-day registration certificate'. (only available in Dutch)
    3. After you entered the requested information, you will receive a confirmation of the application by e-mail. This e-mail has a link to your one-day registration certificate and provides additional information.
    4. The registration number must be put on registration number plates on your vehicle. You are allowed to make these white registration number plates yourself (from cardboard, for example). You put the registration number on these plates with a black marker that cannot be erased. The registration number plates must be legible in bad weather.
    5. On the day of the inspection, you are allowed to drive with the one-day registration number from the Dutch address where the vehicle is located to the inspection station and back.
    6. Your vehicle must be insured in the Netherlands on the day of the inspection and must be safe to drive.
    7. You must have a printout of the one-day registration certificate with you when you drive on a public road.
    8. You can use the RDW vehicle app as an extra. Go to ‘Eendagskentekenbewijs (One-day registration certificate) on the  RDW vehicle app’ how this works (only available in Dutch).                       

    Not online

    Are you unable to apply for the one-day registration certificate online? You can also apply for it by contacting our Customer service.

  • Private individual

    As a private individual, you must use one of the following valid documents to provide proof of your identity:

    • Dutch driving licence showing your date of birth
    • Dutch passport showing your citizen service number (BSN)
    • Dutch identity card showing your citizen service number (BSN)
    • Identity card or driving licence issued by an EU or EFTA country showing your date of birth
    • Diplomatic passport
    • Dutch travel document for foreign nationals
    • Dutch travel document for refugees
    • Service passport
    • Foreign passport

    Please note: you cannot use a residence permit or residence document to have a vehicle registered in your name.

    No Dutch citizen service number (BSN) on your identity document?

    If your Dutch citizen service number (BSN) is not shown on your identity document, you should also bring an extract from the municipal Personal Records Database (BRP). The extract can be obtained from your municipality and must be no more than 3 months old. Do request an extract that shows your citizen service number (BSN), as municipalities do not issue these automatically.
    If you have a diplomatic passport,  you may also submit a declaration from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (no more than 3 months old) showing your citizen service number (BSN).

    Company

    As the authorised signatory of a company, you must use one of following valid documents to prove your identity:

    • Dutch driving licence or Dutch passport showing your citizen service number (BSN)
    • Dutch identity card of the authorised signatory showing your citizen service number (BSN)
    • Identity card or driving licence issued by an EU or EFTA country showing your date of birth
    • Diplomatic passport
    • Dutch travel document for foreign nationals
    • Dutch travel document for refugees
    • Service passport Foreign passport

    Please note: you cannot use a residence permit or residence document to have a vehicle registered in your name.

    Extract from the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce

    In addition to your proof of identity, you must also provide an extract from the  Netherlands Chamber of Commerce register (or a copy). The extract may not be older than 1 year and is not allowed to be obtained from the internet. The extract must show the name of the authorised signatory.

    Sole tradership, partnership or shipping company

    If your company is a sole proprietership, partnership or shipping company, you cannot have the vehicle registered in the name of the company itself.  You can only have it registered in your own name. In this case, you should identify yourself as a private individual.

  • Do you apply for a Dutch registration number? Your vehicle must meet certain technical requirements. You can see what the permanent requirements are in chapter 5 Vehicle regulations.

    Additional requirements for newer vehicles

    A vehicle with a date of first registration("Datum Eerste Toelating" or DET) of 1 January 1998 or later (not an item involved in a transfer of residence), must also meet European requirements. You can read more about these requirements and information about the inspection in the Alternative requirements.

This webpage is part of an EU quality network