Since the Netherlands is a part of the EU, shipping a vehicle from outside the EU can be complicated. If your career, education, or life choice is taking you to this quaint and exotic land, then you'll need to ship your vehicle from the USA to the Netherlands. This may seem overwhelming, especially if it is your first time, but it does not have to be complicated.
This guide will show you how you can prepare for the shipment and what you can do to make it happen smoothly.
Find A Trusted International Auto Transport Company
Your work begins with your search for a trusted and reliable international automobile transport company. Google is your friend here but don't make your judgments based on what you read on the websites of such services providers. Everyone advertises themselves as the best, but you need to confirm the validity of their claims from third-party sources.
Websites like Yelp, Google My Business, and Bing are perfect for this. Here you'll see how the business has served its clients and whether or not you can trust them with your assignment. This way, you'll be better able to narrow down your choices. Then you can verify their licensure and see if they are insured. This will further cut down the number of candidates.
Finally, if you feel paralyzed by uncertainty, why not call them and ask a couple of relevant questions (whatever it is that's bothering you, i.e., how will you ensure the complete safety of my vehicle?) You can even ask them to provide a couple of references if you're shipping a high-value car (a classic or a sports car).
A1 Auto Transport is an ideal candidate here because we've been in this business for years now and have made a name for ourselves due to our commitment to customer satisfaction and our uncompromising stance on professionalism. We'll take good care of your car. You won't have to worry about a thing.
Work Out The Shipment Costs
Usually, the cost of shipping a car from the USA to the Netherlands is $1,600 to $4,100, but this is an estimate. You'll have to do a bit of digging in your case to know how much you'll have to pay. Of course, it is a trade-off between convenience and investment. If you pay more, you'll have less to worry about, and vice versa.
Keep the following factors in account when calculating the actual costs:
- The cost, size, weight, and make and model of your car
- The import taxes and customs duties applicable in your case
- The overseas and overland travel distance combined
- Whether you opted for port-to-port delivery or door-to-door delivery
- Whether you opted for roll-on, roll-off transport or container shipping, or air freight
- The registration fees and insurance coverage costs
You can minimize the costs if you choose to, but that will leave more work for you to do on your end; the choice is yours!
Prepare The Car For Shipment
Next, you'll have to get your car ready for overseas transport. Start with a thorough cleaning of both the exterior and the interior, including the undercarriage, to clean any soil deposits (you may need to use steam cleaning for the latter). Remove all of your possessions from inside the car, empty the glove compartment, remove any attachments from the console, and take out any non-factory accessories and add-ons like antennas and other removable objects.
Your car should be spic and span without any additional load or accessories; the latter can get damaged during the transport; thus, it is wiser to take them off beforehand. You should also fill the tank up to a quarter of its full volume with fuel, but no more than that. This way, there will be just enough fuel to transport your car easily without increasing the weight by much.
Following this, have an automobile expert inspect your car thoroughly so that you can rest assured about the vehicle's safety and can compare the condition of the vehicle after delivery. You'll have to do a surface-level inspection of your own as well for dents, scratches, and marks so that you can record the state of your vehicle before the shipping and compare it afterward.
Photographing every angle is also highly recommended.
Gather All Necessary Paperwork
You'll have to present some documentation to the customs department for clearance, and it is recommended that you prepare these beforehand. Most likely, your transport company will ask for these documents and file them with the Dutch customs on your behalf, but you can do so yourself as well if you choose to.
Be sure to get an updated list from the customs website, but you'll most likely need the following:
- Title of the car
- An export permit from the US government
- A copy of your passport
- Vehicle registration documents
- Driver's license
- An invoice detailing the specifications & price of the car
- Bill of lading
- Insurance documents
- Proof of ownership
- Proof of residence outside the EU for at least one full year
Just be sure that all of your documents are error-free to avoid trouble with the customs.
Select A Shipment Option
Your choice of the shipment method will be partly based on affordability and partly on the merits and limitations posed by each option. Carefully consider what you want in the transportation mode before you pick an option:
Open Air Shipment: The first option is the simplest and the easiest of the lot. It is also called roll-on, roll-off shipment, or RoRo shipment. In this case, the car is shipped uncovered (hence the name) in a space shared by other vehicles on the vessel. After arrival at the destination port, the car is simply driven off-board. Though affordable for people running on a limited budget, this method is not foolproof when it comes to safety.
Closed Air Shipment: The second one also involves a vessel and a sea voyage, only in this case, the car is sealed inside a container during the whole process. This way, protection from the excesses of the journey is assured but at a higher price. For overseas travel, this method is preferred for its better safety assurance.
Air Freight: The last option is better suited for those who want their car delivered to them without much delay. Air freight is expensive, but it is fast, reliable, and safe, making it perfect for transporting high-value vehicles.
Choose Your Delivery Preference
Your shipment contractor will offer you to have your car picked by the company from your doorstep and delivered to your new address. This is the door-to-door delivery option and costs a bit more but is infinitely more convenient than port-to-port delivery, where you'll have to deliver the car to the departure port and then pick it up from the destination port.
Based on your budget, you can trade convenience for money.
Securing Customs Clearance
As with anywhere around the world, the Dutch customs will take over after initial import processing and assess the information provided about your import so that it can be taxed accordingly. For a car shipment coming from the USA to the Netherlands, the usual tax rates for regular cars under 30 years of age are 21% in value-added tax and 10% in customs duties.
The tax is waived for a car older than 30 years, but a 9% customs duty will still be applicable.
You can also import the car tax-free if you've owned the same for at least six months prior to the shipment, plus you must've driven it for at least 6,000 km in this duration. You'll have to contact the Tax Administration (0800-0143) for more information and for requesting a tax-free import if you qualify for it.
Lastly, if you import a car tax-free, you can't sell it for a full year after the import. Otherwise, taxes will be applicable.
Register Your Vehicle At The RDW
Following customs clearance, your car will be subject to a roadworthiness and emissions safety test. If it clears it, then the rest should be simple. If not, you'll have to have some modifications to your ride. After that, you'll have to make an appointment with the Rijks Dienst Wegverkee (RDW) or the Netherlands Vehicle Authority for vehicle registration.
All you need are the following (check the RDW website for an updated list just in case):
- Proof of identification
- Insurance papers
- Compliance certificate
- Sales invoice
After registration, you'll be free to drive the car with Dutch license plates.