Drive a vehicle that you want to import

RDW does not provide vehicle license numbers for the purpose of driving from a foreign country to the Netherlands. You can contact the foreign authorities. You can also transport the car by placing it on a trailer or a car ambulance. If you are in the Netherlands and you want to drive your vehicle to RDW, you can apply for a one-day vehicle license number for that day. Certain rules and fees apply to importing a vehicle. Besides, you also need to provide RDW with certain documents.

You can apply for a Dutch vehicle license number in the following way:

  1. Contact RDW to make an inspection appointment at an inspection station and to apply for a one-day vehicle license number. You can also indicate you want to have the periodic vehicle inspection (Dutch APK) performed at RDW straightaway. If the vehicle has a valid foreign vehicle inspection registration, you can request transfer of the registration.
  2. On the day of the appointment, take your vehicle to the inspection station and bring the entire original foreign license number certificate as well as your identity card.
  3. Bring any additional documents, such as a Certificate of Confirmity (CoC), a foreign vehicle inspection (APK) report, or other relevant vehicle documents.
    A CoC is the 'birth certificate' of a vehicle. The CoC allows you to prove the vehicle meets the set requirements. In the Netherlands, you can apply for a CoC at a car manufacturer or its representative.
  4. Based on the documents, RDW assesses whether registration of your vehicle can be transferred.
  5. File for motor vehicle and motorcycle tax (Dutch BPM). How and where you can do this, you can find Externe linkon the Dutch tax authorities (Belastingdienst) website. Here, you can calculate your BPM amount.
  6. After approval by RDW and the tax authorities, you receive a license number certificate in a credit card format (also called license number card) from RDW within 5 working days. From that moment, you are liable to any obligations relating to owning a vehicle. Besides, you receive a letter containing a registration code. This is a 9-digit code that you need to sell your vehicle, for instance. Please keep this registration code safe and separate from your license number certificate.
  7. If you had your vehicle inspected at RDW, you also receive a vehicle inspection report. In case a foreign vehicle inspection registration has been accepted upon inspection at RDW, the foreign report remains valid and no Dutch report is received. The expiry date is included in the RDW license number register.
  8. After you have received the license number certificate from RDW, you need to have registration plates manufactured at Documenta recognized registration plate manufacturer (pdf, 578kb) and get third party insurance (Dutch WA) for the vehicle. The tax authorities will send you a motor vehicle tax bill.
  9. If you do not have a valid foreign vehicle inspection report, nor did you have your vehicle inspected at the RDW inspection station, you need to have this inspection done by a RDW-approved garage company immediately upon receipt of the license number certificate. If you do this at a later stage, you will be fined.

Conditions applying to you

  • You are 18 years of age or older (16 in case of mopeds) and you are included in the BRP register. If you want to have the vehicle registered to your company, the latter is registered in the Netherlands (legal entity) and does not involve a single person company.
  • You have
  • a valid identity card
  • You appear in person.

Conditions applying to your vehicle

In case of an imported vehicle from an EU member state, RDW does not consider its technical condition. If the vehicle is a clear threat to traffic safety, however, RDW may decide to have the license number certificate to be issued annulled immediately.

If the vehicle has previously been registered in an EU member state where people drive on the left side of the road, the vehicle needs to have lighting and mirrors for use on the right side of the road in the Netherlands.
In case of a vehicle inspection, RDW charges extra costs for assessing these aspects.

Conditions applying to transferring foreign periodic vehicle inspection

  • Foreign periodic vehicle inspection is valid.
  • Foreign periodic vehicle inspection report is an original document from an EU or EFTA country.
  • Foreign periodic vehicle inspection report comes from the same country as the foreign registration.

Damaged vehicles

RDW takes pictures of damaged vehicles. After having the vehicle repaired, you need to have it inspected again. More information can be found by contacting RDW.

Vehicles over 30 years old

Vehicles of 30 years old, and over, are inspected thoroughly at RDW inspection stations. Fees also differ from the ones mentioned below. Please inquire about the inspection and the applying fees when making an appointment.

Transferring foreign periodic vehicle inspection

A foreign periodic vehicle inspection can only be transferred at your request. You cannot have a foreign periodic vehicle inspection registered after having your vehicle inspected for a Dutch license number.

Company cars and campers

Specific tax requirements apply to company cars and campers. Please contact the tax authorities to find out about these.

Moving to the Netherlands

If you are moving to the Netherlands from an EU or EFTA country and you are bringing your vehicle as a ‘moving article’, please read the article ‘Moving to the Netherlands and bringing your vehicle’.