In this article you can find information on the following topics:

Importing a vehicle

This is what you need to do to import a vehicle and apply for a Dutch registration number:

  1. You can transport the vehicle from abroad on a trailer or vehicle transporter or you can drive it into the Netherlands yourself.
  2. To apply for a Dutch registration number, this link opens in a new windowmake an inspectionappointment with the RDW.
  3. If the vehicle still has a valid foreign Annual test of vehicle safety (APK) you can request that it be transferred. You must then provide the original foreign APK report. For more information, go to Conditions for transferring a foreign APK.
  4. On the day of the appointment, you can drive to the inspection station with a one-day registration number (Dutch article) or the valid foreign registration number.
  5. Take the complete original foreign registration certificate and your proof of identity with you. The RDW will take the foreign registration certificate, so we advise you to make a copy beforehand.
  6. If you have additional documents, such as a Certificate of Conformity (COC), a foreign APK report or other relevant vehicle documents, take them with you too.
  7. The RDW assesses whether the registration of your vehicle can be transferred on the basis of the documents. If you would like to find out what happens during an inspection at the RDW, go to Theinspection process at the RDW (article only available in Dutch).
  8. Pay the fee
  9. You must declare the vehicle for Taxation of Passenger Cars and Motorcycles (Belasting Personenauto’s en Motorrijwielen, BPM). Find out how and where you can do this on the this link opens in a new windowDutch Tax and Customs Administration’s website.
  10. After the RDW and the tax administration have given their approval, the RDW will send you a new registration certificate (registration card) within 5 working days. In addition, the RDW will send you a letter with a full registration code one working day later. You will need this code when you sell the vehicle, for example, so keep it safe. From that moment onwards, you are liable for the obligations associated with owning a vehicle.
  11. If the foreign APK is transferred during the inspection, your foreign report will remain valid. You will not receive a Dutch report. The RDW enters the date of expiry in the vehicle licence register.
  12. If you have received the registration certificate from the RDW, you must have registration plates made by an approved registration plate manufacturer and take out third-party liability insurance (Wettelijke Aansprakelijkheid, WA) for the vehicle. You will automatically receive an invoice for the motor vehicle tax from the tax administration.
  13. If you do not have a valid foreign APK report and have not had an APK test carried out at the RDW testing station, you must have one carried out by an RDW-approved garage as soon as you receive the registration card. If you do this at a later stage, you will be fined. The amount of the fine can be found in this link opens in a new windowthe fine database of the Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie, OM).

Conditions that apply to you

Conditions that apply to your vehicle

The RDW does not look at the technical condition of vehicles imported from an EU Member State. However, if the vehicle clearly poses a risk to road safety, the RDW may decide that the registration certificate to be issued is to be declared immediately invalid.

  • It is possible that the RDW takes pictures, for example, of vehicles with damage. You must have the vehicle inspected again after having it repaired. For more information, see the following article: Applyingfor a Dutch licence plate for a damaged vehicle from the EU or an EFTA country (article only available in Dutch).
  • If you intend to import a bus intended for passenger transport, contact the individual vehicle approval department.
  • If the vehicle was previously registered in an EU Member State with left-hand drive, the vehicle must be fitted with lights and mirrors for right-hand drive in the Netherlands. In its inspection, the RDW will charge additional costs for assessing these aspects. In the fee overview, this is listed as ‘assessment of fewer than 5 aspects’.
  • The inspector checks whether the vehicle is stolen on the basis of the identity of the vehicle and various information systems.
  • The vehicle’s odometer reading is taken and recorded in the vehicle licence register. The RDW does not assess the accuracy of the odometer reading of imported vehicles.

Conditions for transferring a foreign APK

  • Foreign APK report (original). You must present this at the inspection.
  • The foreign APK is still valid.
  • The foreign APK report is an original document from an EU or EFTA country.
  • The foreign APK report comes from the same country as the foreign registration.  

Driving a vehicle that you intend to import

The RDW does not issue a registration number for the purpose of driving a vehicle from abroad into the Netherlands. You need to contact the foreign authorities when you intend to do this. You can also transport the vehicle on a trailer or vehicle transporter.

Will you be driving the vehicle with the foreign registration plates and valid foreign registration certificate to the RDW? If so, you must bear in mind that the RDW is legally obliged to take the foreign registration certificate. You will no longer be able to drive the vehicle on public roads after the appointment at the RDW, because you will no longer have a valid vehicle registration certificate. In this case, you can apply for a free one-day registration number from the RDW. The one-day registration number is valid only on the day of the inspection.

You can use the vehicle (again) once you have received the Dutch registration certificate. One condition, however, is that you must also comply with the other obligations associated with having a vehicle.

The inspection process at the RDW

The inspector takes the vehicle’s odometer reading and records it in the vehicle licence register. The RDW does not assess the accuracy of the odometer reading of imported vehicles. In addition, the inspector also checks whether the vehicle may have been stolen. This is done on the basis of the identity of the vehicle and using information from various systems.

If you would like to find out what happens during an inspection at the RDW, go to The inspection process at the RDW.  

Vehicles from an EU/EFTA country manufactured before 1 January 1978

Vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1978 and weighing no more than 3 500 kg are subjected to an extensive examination at the RDW inspection stations. The RDW investigates whether the foreign registration of the vehicle can be transferred. If it can be, the RDW does not look at the technical condition of the vehicle, but will do so in all other cases.

You must make an appointment for this examination at an inspection station. You can do this online. Select the option ‘Importing a vehicle from an EU/EFTA country manufactured before 1 January 1978’. In its inspection, the RDW will charge additional costs for assessing these vehicles. In the fee schedule, this is listed as ‘assessment of 5 to 9 aspects’.

Importing a vehicle from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

If you want to import a car from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you’ll have to contend with Brexit. You can find more information about this on the RDW’s Brexit page.

Company cars and mobile homes

The tax administration has separate requirements for company cars and mobile homes. You can contact the this link opens in a new windowtax administration about this.

Moving to the Netherlands

If you are moving to the Netherlands from an EU or EFTA country and taking your vehicle with you as ‘removal goods’, you can apply to the tax administration for exemption from Taxation of Passenger Cars and Motorcycles (BPM). For more information, go to Moving to the Netherlands and taking your vehicle with you.

Fees

Approval assessment for fewer than 5 aspects of a light vehicle €27,50
Approval assessment for 5-9 aspects of a light vehicle €55,00
Identification of a light vehicle €51,00
Registration certificate €40,70
Registration in a person's name via the RDW €10,40