Customs Regulations

Posted on 19-Feb-2022

This information is for anyone who is moving to the Netherlands and wishes to take their personal belongings with them. Normally, you have to pay tax when importing goods and registering your car or motorcycle, but this is not necessarily the case when you are moving. To take your personal belongings with you to the Netherlands tax-free you will, however, have to take certain measures. For example, if you wish to take your car with you, you need a licence. And your dog or cat may not enter the country without its own passport, which you can obtain from a vet. Your removal company will often arrange many matters for you. The rules applicable depend on the country you are moving from. Different rules apply when you move from another EU country than when you move from a non-EU country. The other EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. NB You will often have to take certain measures in the country from which you are moving for the export of your personal belongings. You should therefore ask the authorities for information well in advance. This issue is not dealt with here. Moving to the Netherlands from an EU country Personal belongings You can bring your personal belongings into the Netherlands. This includes household effects, bodycare products, vehicles, dogs and cats. You can bring them with you without having to apply for a licence or having to pay duties and taxes. The same applies to alcoholic beverages and tobacco products intended for your own use. Customs assumes they are for your own use if you do not exceed certain quantities. The maximum quantities allowed are: – 110 litres of beer; – 90 litres of wine; – 20 litres of fortified wine, such as sherry or port; – 10 litres of spirits; – 800 cigarettes; – 400 cigars; – 1 kilogram of tobacco. If you wish to bring larger quantities into the Netherlands, you must be able to demonstrate that the goods are for your own use. Otherwise, you must declare them to Customs and pay duties and taxes. You do need a licence, however, to bring your car or motorcycle with you. Cars and motorcycles You need a licence to register your car or motorcycle in the Netherlands tax-free. Applying for a licence You can apply for a licence at the customs office in the area where you will be living . It is advisable to apply for a licence well before moving to the Netherlands. Licences are issued subject to the following conditions: – You must have been resident in an EU country other than the Netherlands for at least 12 months. – During that 12-month period you must have been resident in the other EU country for at least 185 days because you worked there and your family lived there. – Your car or motorcycle must have been in your possession for at least six months and must have been used in the other EU country. – Following your move to the Netherlands, your car or motorcycle may not be lent out, pledged, leased or sold for 12 months. This term commences on the date on which Customs issues the licence. If you wish to do so anyway, you must first inform the customs authorities in the area where you live. They will then decide whether you have to pay taxes. NB If you have worked or studied in an EU country other than the Netherlands and your family lived in the Netherlands during that period, you will be considered to have been resident in the Netherlands for customs purposes. This may mean that you will not receive a licence and that your car or motorcycle cannot be registered tax-free. Besides applying for a licence, you must take a few other measures in the Netherlands before you are allowed to drive your car or motorcycle here. Vehicle registration certificate If you bring your car or motorcycle into the Netherlands from another EU country, you are not allowed to drive it straight away. You must first obtain a Dutch vehicle registration certificate. This requires a technical inspection by the National Vehicle Administration Agency (RDW Centrum voor vervoertechniek en informatie). At the RDW inspection point, you will receive a declaration form for car and motorcycle tax (BPM). You must submit several copies of this form to a customs office where BPM declarations can be lodged. The vehicle registration certificate will then be sent to you automatically. You are, however, responsible for obtaining registration plates yourself. You can do this at a recognised garage. It is advisable to have your car or motorcycle inspected and lodge your BPM declaration as soon as possible. Motor vehicle tax You must pay motor vehicle tax as soon as your car or motorcycle is registered in the Netherlands. Once your name has been placed on the vehicle registration certificate, this also serves as a motor vehicle tax declaration. The Tax and Customs Administration (Belasting