Importing Vehicles into the Netherlands From The United States
Shipping A Car To The Netherlands
Typical Shipping Prices – How Much Does It Cost?
- Vehicles transported to the Netherlands from the U.S. usually cost from $1,600 to $4,100 to ship.
- A shipping container is the cheapest way to ship a car to the Netherlands, particularly since the country has a number of available shipping ports.
Cost & Time Examples For Shipping a Car to Netherlands
|Los Angeles to (California port) to Rotterdam||$350||$3,000||5+30|
|Las Vegas, NV to (California port) to Amsterdam||$450||$3,000||5+30|
|Phoenix, AZ to (California port) to Amsterdam||$550||$3,000||6+30|
|Charlotte, NC to (New York port) to Amsterdam||$575||$2,100||6+12|
|Chicago, IL to (New York port) to Rotterdam||$675||$2,100||6+12|
|Atlanta, GA to (New York port) to Amsterdam||$700||$2,100||6+12|
|Denver, CO to (California port) to Rotterdam||$775||$3,000||7+30|
|Memphis, TN to (New York port) to Amsterdam||$800||$2,100||6+12|
|Miami, FL to (New York port) to Rotterdam||$925||$2,100||7+12|
|Dallas, TX to (California port) to Amsterdam||$1,025||$3,000||7+30|
*Prices and times are estimated. They can vary depending on the season and the type of vehicle.
*Save the ground transport cost by delivering the vehicle to the nearest port.
*Allow an additional 10 days to process the documents.
*Prices are for 1 car in a dedicated 20ft container. This is the safest and most reliable way to transport a vehicle internationally. Other items may be included in the container to help save you money when moving.
*Using the RoRo (roll on, roll off) method is less expensive and shipments can be completed in fewer days. Contact us now for a free RoRo quote.
Importing a car into the Netherlands may sound like a daunting task, but understanding the rules and regulations involved will make the process much easier. A foreign registered vehicle may be driven in the Netherlands for up to three months; after that point, the vehicle must have Dutch number plates. The fees for importing and registering a vehicle in the Netherlands vary according to several factors, including the age, origin, and condition of the vehicle.
A-1 Auto Transport ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-518-8708 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.
Choosing The Right Shipping Method
Several different shipping methods are available, when transporting a vehicle overseas to the Netherlands. The perfect choice for your situation may depend upon the specific type of vehicle being shipped (car, motorcycle, RV, boat, etc), speed, safety, cost and other factors.
Roll-on/roll-off shipping uses specialized cargo ships with lowerable ramps - allowing vehicles to be driven directly onto the vessel. Often these ships are very large, with multiple decks for housing cars, trucks, vans, RVs and more. The advantages of this approach are fast loading and unloading times, and in many cases a lower cost compared to other transport options (1). RoRo shipping is also available for motorcycles, as long as they’re strapped securely down into place.
If you’re relocating to the Netherlands and have household goods to ship along with your vehicle, then container shipping could be a sensible choice. This will enable you to pack all of your belongings into a single weather-tight space for the long ocean crossing.
Cars, Trucks, SUVs and Vans
Nearly all cars fit easily into a shipping container, though you may wonder if your truck, SUV or van can be accommodated. You may be surprised to learn that the dimensions of SUVs and even full-size cargo vans typically allow them to be shipped via container. For instance, even a Cadillac Escalade will have almost 1.5 feet of height clearance - though the side to side clearance will be tight (at just over 1 foot) (2).
Recreational vehicles are another story, however, and it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to use a container to ship an RV. As a case in point, the average width of a Class B recreational vehicle (the smallest class) is 7 feet - which would leave 8 inches of clearance. However, the height of even shorter models is well over 9 feet - which is too tall for even a high cube container (which has an interior height of just 8’9”) (3).
In fact, your full-size travel trailer probably can’t be shipped in a container either. The average width of a travel trailer is 8 feet, and containers provide only a fraction over 7’8” of sideways clearance (4). However, a compact travel trailer (often referred to as a Lite model) will often load easily into a standard container (5).
Flat Rack Shipping
If you want an alternative to RoRo shipping for your RV or full-size travel trailer, flat rack shipping could be a viable option. Rather than using an enclosed container, flat rack shipping employs containers without a roof or sides. The ends of the container can either be collapsible or fixed (6).
Since the vehicle being shipped can be wider and taller than the container (to a point) - flat rack shipping can be used for oversized vehicles that won’t fit in a standard container. Though typically utilized to export large cargo like heavy machinery, you could use this method for an RV or travel trailer, as it may well be cheaper than some other options (7).
Finally, lift-on/lift-off (LoLo) shipping is available, and this approach has its own set of advantages and drawbacks. With a built-in crane on board, a LoLo ship can utilize more ports, as it doesn’t require a fixed crane to be available at the docks. In addition, a LoLo ship can typically handle large and even very large vehicles - possibly making this a good choice if you wish to ship an oversized RV or boat to the Netherlands (8).
In addition, your RV doesn’t need to be in working condition, as the crane will load it onto the ship (9). However, lift-on/lift-off shipping tends to be more expensive than RoRo and container shipping, and the loading and unloading process is slower than RoRo shipping (10).
If a vehicle has been owned for at least six months and has been driven more than 6,000 km, it may qualify to be imported duty-free. The documents needed to request a tax-free import may be obtained from the Tax Administration. Contact Dutch customs at 0800-0143 to start the process of your tax-free import.
Note: If you import a vehicle tax-free, you must own it for at least 12 months after immigrating to the Netherlands. If a vehicle is sold prior to being in the Netherlands for 12 months, you will be liable for paying all of the import fees that were waived.
Popular Shipping Destinations:
Taxes and Fees
The Netherlands levies several taxes and fees on vehicles before a number plate can be issued. These taxes and fees may include:
- Value Added Tax (VAT/BTW)
- BPM - a “green” tax that the first person to register a vehicle in the Netherlands is required to pay
- Import Duties
Required Documents For Shipping A Vehicle To The Netherlands
- Bill of sale/purchase invoice
- Proof of identity (passport or driver’s license)
- Foreign Vehicle Registration CertificateCertificate of Conformity
- Title or proof of ownership
- Proof of insurance for 6 months
- VAT (value-added tax) receipt
- Proof of residency outside EU (12 months)
- Bill of lading
All vehicles operating in the Netherlands must be approved by the RWD (National Service for Road Traffic). An RWD location can be found by calling 0900-0739. When you visit an RWD approval center, the following are required:
Note: Vehicles registered in another EU country, or those that are included as part of your personal moving inventory (no matter the country of origin) will be approved for operation in the Netherlands.
After your vehicle has been approved by the RWD, you may register your vehicle. This process takes place within the BPM department of the Customs Authorities, located within the RWD offices. You must bring the following:
- The vehicle
- BPM form issued by the RWD
- Proof of origin of the vehicle
- Certificate of Conformity or the Individual Vehicle Approval (if the vehicle is coming from outside the EU
During the registration process, the BPM amount that you owe will be calculated. After you have paid the fee, the Customs Authorities will submit proof of payment to the RWD, and they will send you a vehicle registration certificate showing that the vehicle is registered in your name.
Note: In some cases, BPM fees may be waived. Visit the website of the Tax Authorities for further details.
Click here to learn more about vehicle registration process in the Netherlands.
Number Plate and Insurance
After your vehicle is registered, you can obtain a number plate for your vehicle through the RWD. At this time it is also important to arrange auto insurance. The Netherlands mandates carrying liability insurance; you may elect to purchase more comprehensive insurance for your protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the major freight-handling ports in the Netherlands for receiving car shipments?
You can opt for any one of these four very important ports in the Netherlands:
Rotterdam Port: This seaport is considered to be the world's busiest one for the past several decades, with an annual storage/holding capacity of 400 million tons! The port hosts thousands of vessels every year. The high volume of import material necessitates a huge workforce; around 70,000 people are employed in various capacities in the city.
Amsterdam Port: This port is more popular with cruise ships and has a rich history entwined with seafaring. However, the port is spacious enough, the second-biggest in the nation, to handle container shipping on a large scale. It handles several import-export businesses such as the cocoa trade. Amsterdam is the leading supplier of the chocolate industry.
Zeeland Seaports: As the name lets on, this is a duo of Vlissingen and Terneuzen ports. These ports are strategically located between Antwerp and Rotterdam. They are expected to become even more important in the future for inland shipping.
Groningen Seaports: This is a combo of the Eemshaven and Delfzijl ports. The two combine to become the largest seaport duo of the nation's northern region and have a decent shipping capacity and strategic importance, i.e. they are linked with the Eems river that flows into Germany.
How much will I have to pay for shipping a car from the U.S. to the Netherlands?
There is no fixed estimate on the cost of shipping vehicles from the USA to the Netherlands and vice versa because the costs vary based on prevailing conditions and the nature of the package being shipped. However, a general estimate for container shipping across the seas is between $1,600 and $4,100 – but once again, this is not a fixed range.
The primary variable (although not the only one) is the over-seas distance of the optimal route in every case. For instance, the travel route from New York port to Amsterdam is cheaper in comparison to the route between California port and Amsterdam.
There is another important factor to consider here: the shipment option you choose, i.e., you can opt for the "roll-on, roll-off" or container shipping option. The former involves driving an operable vehicle on-board, fastening it to the ship, transporting it overseas, and then driving it off-board.
This is preferable for people seeking to save solid bucks, plus it is reliable and applicable in most cases. In contrast, container shipping is better suited for shipping non-operable/non-runner vehicles and offers greater protection but for a higher cost.
Lastly, you can minimize the shipping costs by choosing to pick up your vehicle from the port rather than having it delivered to your doorstep.
Why is there so much variance in the shipping cost of cars from the USA to the Netherlands?
The shipping costs for cars varies even on fixed routes; these differences are created due to the following factors:
- The details of the vehicle, i.e., its model, make, size, etc.
- The date/batch of manufacturing, i.e., the age of the car
- The monetary value of the car, based on its current condition
- The distance needed to be covered both over-land and over-seas for the transport, i.e., as noted earlier, the New York port to Amsterdam route is cheaper than the California port to Amsterdam route.
- Your selected shipping option will also affect the cost, i.e., the roll-on/roll-off shipment method is cheaper than container shipping.
- The customs duties and taxes levied on the car's price, and the shipping dues will also affect the final cost.
- Insurance coverage fees will also count if you opted, for instance, protection.
- The equipment and materials used in the shipment process will also cost you.
How should I prepare my car for shipping from the USA to the Netherlands?
First of all, your car needs to be completely clean, both the exterior and the interior.
Get it serviced and ensure that there is nothing inside the vehicle; none of your personal belongings should remain inside. Be sure to go through everything very carefully before you ship the car because there will be customs inspection and whatnot to deal with later on.
Also, if your car is operable, you'll have to fill up the gas tank to ¼ of the total capacity, no more than that. This will be the case if you plan on using the roll-on, roll-off shipment method, in which case the car should be operable, and there should be none of your belongings inside the car.
You'll also have to make sure that the undercarriage of your car is not contaminated with foreign soil. For this, you can order it to be steam cleaned – this is a legal requirement for the vehicle's entry into the Netherlands, do not ignore this, please.
Of course, you could cut yourself some slack and contact A1 Auto Transport to manage the process for you.
Why do I need to clean the undercarriage of my car before exporting to the Netherlands?
You've probably heard this from an official website, and yes, it is important.
While overall cleaning is legally required for a vehicle's entry, some countries demand extra care for biosafety. Cleaning the undercarriage is much more than just a general cleanliness issue.
The authorities in the Netherlands are cautious about what gets in, i.e., invasive species. If the undercarriage is contaminated with foreign soil, then any number of pests or invasive species of microbes, animals (cysts), or plants (seeds) may find their way into the Netherlands.
The local ecosystems will be less than prepared to handle such an intrusion, creating a major environmental and biosafety hazard for all. Thus you need to get the undercarriage cleared off any foreign soil via steam cleaning or any other suitable method.
The A1 Auto Transport Company will help you get it all in order, and once you hand the project over to us, we'll handle the rest.
How many shipment options do I have for transporting a car, and which one do you think will be more suitable for me?
You have two major choices when it comes to car shipments: open-air shipment and closed-air shipment. Both of these options are applicable for different situations. None is better than the other but based on your specific case. It would make more sense to opt for one over the other.
The open-air shipment option/roll-on, roll-off shipping apples to operable (runner) cars. In this case, the car is driven on board, fastened to the deck, transported, and then driven off-board upon arrival. This is the cheaper of the two options and is applicable for runner cars only.
In contrast, container shipping involves sealing the car in a container – thus "closed air" and then shipping it as such. This method does afford extra protection to the vehicle but for a greater cost, so if you're willing to pay extra, this one might be for you.
However, in most cases, people transporting runner cars prefer the roll-on, roll-off shipment option because it is simpler, reliable, and less expensive.
I am new to this, can you break down the whole process of shipping a car from the USA to the Netherlands?
If you're new to the whole shipment process, then no worries, we'll guide you through the whole thing. Here is a summary/break-down of the whole process:
- Research – this is a preliminary step:
- Go through the official websites of the Netherlands to understand their import requirements before you start.
- Ensure that the vehicle you plan on shipping to the Netherlands will be allowed to enter, i.e., it complies with their entrance requirements.
- Documents – you'll need the following documentation for your car shipment:
- Contract of sales
- Vehicle registration
- Other necessary paperwork
- Evaluate the cost of shipping the car to the Netherlands – here's what you need to factor in:
- Charges for the freighting
- Insurance coverage dues
- Charges for storage and transport
- Delivery fees (if you choose to have your vehicle delivered to your place)
- Customs duties
- Taxes levied on your car's price and the shipment price
- Fee for cleaning the car: both exterior (including the undercarriage) and interior
- Import processing fees
- Customs broker's fees, if you chose to procure the services of such a professional
- Cost of shipping the vehicle
- Find a well-reputed international car shipping company that can ship the vehicle to the Netherlands, i.e., A1 Auto Transport is a trusted and reliable establishment in the business. We have been serving clients internationally for years now.
- Pre-shipping activities – be sure you get these right:
- Determine the closest departure port for your car
- Choose the destination port
- Clean the vehicle thoroughly
- Make sure that the undercarriage is free from any contamination (from foreign soil)
- Ensure that none of your personal belongings are inside the car
- Ship the vehicle – your auto transport company will guide you through the process.
Can you give me a checklist of documents I need to ship a vehicle from the USA to the Netherlands?
Here's what you need to have at hand. Make sure you tick every entry in this list:
- The sales invoice with all the details and the cost sum
- Driver's license or a valid passport (a proof of your identification)
- Vehicle registration documentation
- Documents proving compliance with the given legal standards, i.e., a certificate of conformity
- Documentation proving ownership
- Insurance documents (for the past six months)
- Receipt for VAT (value-added tax)
- Proof of having a residence outside the E.U. for the past year/12 months
- Lading bill
Be sure to check the official websites of concerned departments for any updates in the policies/documentation requirements before going ahead with the shipment process. It is better to be prepared.
What happens when my vehicle is shipped to the Netherlands?
Here is a summary of what happens when your car is shipped to the Netherlands:
- Customs Inspection – the Customs department will check the details of your case to see whether you deserve a tax exemption, based on the following criteria:
- Whether or not the car forms a segment of your household effects.
- Whether or not you'll use the car as you did abroad (if it is your car), i.e., before your relocation.
- Whether or not the vehicle was bought at least six months before your relocation to the Netherlands and you used it in that duration.
- Whether or not you lived abroad for a full year before moving to the Netherlands.
- After approval from the Customs – there are two possibilities here:
- You may receive the certificate of clearance without having to pay tax.
- Or, you may have to pay the due BPM tax.
- After paying your dues (if any), you'll be able to collect your car.
- Before registration – you can't operate the vehicle unless it is registered in the Netherlands. You can't even keep it on a public road. Instead, have it stored in a private storage space until the rest of the process is completed.
- RDW Inspection – the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer/National Vehicle Authority will see whether your vehicle complies with the nation's legal import requirements:
- The legal requirements are not very intensive in comparison to other countries.
- All cars in the Netherlands must have fog lights on the rear.
- You might have to have them installed (since most non-EU cars don't have them by default).
- The inspection will be arranged at any nearby RDW station.
- You may make an appointment at your earliest convenience.
- You'll have to pay an inspection fee.
- Registration – the RDW will facilitate you here as well once your vehicle clears the inspection criteria.
If I import my car to the Netherlands after being relocated, do I have to pay import duties/taxes for my own car?
If you were relocated to the Netherlands, i.e., because of your job, you could import your car to the country without having to pay any import taxes/duties:
- Start by calling the Customs Department at 0800-0143.
- You can get the necessary documentation from the Tax Administration.
- You must've owned the said vehicle for at least six months prior to your relocation.
- The car must've been driven for at least 6,000 km.
Once you import a vehicle tax-free, you'll have to maintain your ownership for a full year.
How can I get my vehicle registered in the Netherlands?
After approval from the RWD (call 0900-0739), you can register your vehicle with the Netherland authorities (the BPM department within the RDW offices).
You'll need the following for the registration process:
- Your vehicle
- The BPM form issued by the RWD
- Documents detailing the origin of the vehicle
- Certificate of conformity/Individual vehicle approval certificate