A member of the European Union, the trade relationship between the United States and the Netherlands is strong. As such, the flow of used cars from the United States to the Netherlands is consistent, with Danes demonstrating an interest in fuel-efficient and low-cost vehicles. If you’ve been considering exporting a used or salvage vehicle from the United States to the Netherlands, then you’ll find a willing market on the other end.
Of course, to import a used U.S. vehicle into the Netherlands, you have to know the process. Below, we’re going to review everything you need to know. We’ll start by discussing how you can take advantage of online used car auctions to get incredible deals on U.S. vehicles. Then we’ll discuss the process of arranging shipping, clearing customs, and then even registering your vehicle once it’s in the Netherlands.
Purchasing Used Vehicles at U.S. Online Car Auctions
It has long been known that the best way to get a tremendous deal on used and salvage vehicles in the United States is through used car auctions. However, ordinary consumers and importer / exporters have typically had difficulty gaining access to such auctions, as participation in them is most often restricted to those possessing dealer’s licenses. However, online car auctions have changed all this.
Through online car auctions, you have access to certain used and salvage car auctions across the United Statesas these Online Car Auction sites list vehicles from certain dealer-only auction houses right on their site. This gives you the opportunity to potentially save as much as 70 or even 80 percent when bidding on used and salvage vehicles!
Best of all, participating in online car auctions is incredibly easy. You only need to create an account with a website and then make an initial deposit. The deposit is necessary in order to establish your bidding power, with the size of the deposit typically representing 10% of your potential maximum bid. For example, were you to make a deposit of $450, you would then be able to make a maximum bid of up to $4,500 on used and salvage vehicles!
With an account setup and a deposit made, you’ll find that using an online car auction site is a breeze. You can easily browse an extensive database of used car auctions taking place across the country. In addition, you can also seek the assistance of an auction agent who will be assigned to you. He or she can help you with everything from bidding strategy to gaining access to auctions and vehicles that cannot be displayed publically through the site’s databases.
Shipping a Used or Salvage U.S. Car to the Netherlands
As perhaps the most important cog in international shipping for all of the European Union, you should have no difficulty locating a port from the United States that offers shipping to the Netherlands. The only real choice that you’ll have to make is between traditional container shipping and something known as RORO shipping, which stands from “roll-on roll-off”.
This latter option is particularly appealing if you’re looking to cut shipping costs, as it’s significantly less expensive than container shipping. These savings are possible, because your vehicle will simply be rolled onto the ship at port and then rolled off the ship once it arrives in the Netherlands. There is a slight drawback to the savings, though. Because a container will not be protecting your vehicle, it will be exposed to the elements during shipping. Further, it may need to be moved by ship workers during transit, which does open up the possibility of damage occurring.
The Netherlands is home to the largest port in all of Europe, the Port of Rotterdam. Overall, this is the third busiest port in the entire world, only bested by Singapore and Shanghai. If you’re shipping a used U.S. vehicle to the Netherlands, this will be its most likely destination. However, there are other options available for arrival ports in the Netherlands, particularly if you’ll be shipping your vehicle via the RORO method.
For more information about the Port of Rotterdam, please consult the port’s official website here.
Clearing Your Used Vehicle Shipped to the Netherlands Through U.S. Customs
You’ll be happy to learn that the process for clearing a vehicle through U.S. customs is actually incredibly straightforward. The first step is to make sure you have the required documentation. This will be the vehicle’s Original Certificate of Title plus one of the following:
- A certified copy of the Original Certificate of Title
- Two (2) complete copies of the Original Certificate of Title
These documents along with the vehicle must be presented to U.S. customs at least 72 hours in advance of your ship date. In order to find out where U.S. customs is based in your vehicle’s port of departure, simply contact the Port Director.
Once customs has the vehicle and the documents in hand, they’ll be checking a few different things. First, they’ll verify that the documents correspond to the vehicle by cross-referencing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and the engine number. Second, they’ll inspect the vehicle to ensure that there is no contraband illegally stowed away.
Provided everything checks out, customs will then clear your vehicle, and it will be loaded onto the ship. Should you have any further questions about clearing your vehicle through U.S. customs, simply consult their website here.
Getting Your Used or Salvage Car Through Customs in the Netherlands
Once your vehicle arrives in the Netherlands, several important documents will have to be to be submitted to Danish customs before your vehicle can be cleared. These documents include:
- The Original Bill of Landing
- The Vehicle’s U.S. Registration
- The Original Certificate of Title
- Proof of Residency in the European Union
- Proof of Insurance
After these documents have been checked and verified, and after your vehicle has been inspected, the required duties and taxes must be paid. (These duties and taxes are outlined below.) Following payment of these duties and taxes and the issuance of a receipt, your vehicle will be cleared and can be driven on Danish roads.
For more information about Dutch customs, you can consult the Douane Nederlands (Danish Customs) official website right here.
Import Duties and Taxes for U.S. Vehicles Imported into the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a member of the European Union. As such, the import duties imposed upon used vehicles from outside of the E.U. are in force. These import duties are as follows:
- For ordinary passenger vehicles, the current import duty is 10%.
- For larger vehicles like trucks and busses, the current import duty is 22%.
- New, used and refurbished auto parts are subjected to an import duty that varies from 3% to 4.5% depending upon the product.
With respect to used vehicles, there is an important exemption to the above import duties. Any used vehicle that is 30 years or older is exempt from import duties. However, the vehicle will be liable for a Value Added Tax (VAT).
For vehicles that are younger than 30 years old, the current VAT in the Netherlands is 21%. If the vehicle is 30 years or older, then the VAT is 6%. In addition to the VAT, the Netherlands does assess a luxury tax on imported vehicles. This luxury tax varies depending upon the emissions of the car. Also, there is a vehicle ownership tax that’s assessed by the province wherein the car will be registered. Each province has its own ownership tax rate, so you will have to consult local authorities to find out what rate your imported U.S. used vehicle will be subject to.
How to Register an Imported Used Car in the Netherlands
Vehicle registration in the Netherlands is overseen by the Road Traffic and Transportation Authority (RDW). Before attempting to register your vehicle, you will need to schedule an appointment with the RDW to have your vehicle inspected. This will be to assess the roadworthiness of your vehicle, as well as to establish the luxury tax (which the Dutch refer to as the “BPM”) that your vehicle will be liable for. Typically, the waiting time for an appointment is roughly six weeks, and the inspections take roughly one hour when they’re conducted.
Once the inspection is completed, you will be notified of your BPM amount. This can be paid directly to the Central Bureau of Motor Vehicle Taxation, or you can pay it to customs. The choice is yours.
After the BPM has been paid, you can register your car with the RDW. When doing so, you’ll need to present the following documentation.
- Receipt for payment of the BPM
- Receipts for all customs tariffs and taxes
- Proof of third-party insurance
- The Original Certificate of Title for the vehicle
- The Original U.S. Registration for the vehicle
- Proof of residence in the Netherlands
- Completed registration forms
- Certificate of Conformity (Conformiteitsverklaring)
(The final item, the Certificate of Conformity, is a document that certifies that the imported vehicle meets all of the environmental and safety regulations of the European Union.)
With the documentation checked and squared away, your imported used U.S. vehicle will receive Dutch license plates. After a few weeks, you should also expect to receive a “road tax” bill in the mail. This tax will need to be paid in either annually or in installments every three months.
(Note: You have a period of three months during which you can drive your U.S. registered vehicle in the Netherlands. This should give you enough time to finish the above. If you do not, though, then your vehicle may be subject to exportation if it is caught without Dutch plates.)
For more information about the vehicle registration process in the Netherlands, you can consult the RDW’s official website here.
The Used Car Market in the Netherlands
Like other countries in the European Union, there is currently a movement toward fuel-efficient and less-polluting motor vehicles in the Netherlands. As a result, used hybrid and electric vehicles have become particularly popular with the Dutch. With regular passenger vehicles, though, there is a vibrant culture of car customization in the Netherlands. This presents some opportunities for those importing salvage vehicles from the United States, as Dutch gear-heads might be interested in trying their hand a rebuilding and customizing such vehicles.
Broadly speaking, though, green vehicles are seeing the fastest growing demand in the country, especially as more stringent European Union environmental standards take hold. However, there’s an interesting market developing as Danish roads become more crowded. To avoid traffic, some Dutch auto buyers are actually turning toward motorcycles to get around. For a would-be exporter of motor vehicles from the United States, home to the most famous motorcycle brand in the world, this presents an intriguing possibility.
The Most Popular Used Vehicles in the Netherlands
When it comes to popular makes in the Netherlands, Volkswagen is on top, placing several of its models in the top 10 in terms of popularity within the country. In particular, the Volkswagen Golf and the Volkswagen Polo are the two most popular cars in the country, which should come as no surprise given their popularity elsewhere in Europe. In second and third place in terms of overall popularity, you’ll find Renault and Peugeot, both of which have placed several cars in the top 10. The Renault Clio, which had previously been the country’s most popular vehicle, is now in third place behind the two aforementioned Volkswagen models.
The popularity of the above makes and models reflect the demand for fuel-efficient, smaller vehicles in the Netherlands. This is something that’s apparent in the popularity of one American make and model, the Ford Fiesta, which also lands a place in the top 10 in terms of car popularity in the Netherlands. No doubt, this presents an opportunity for someone looking to import used U.S. vehicles into the Netherlands. Outside of American makes, Toyota and Nissan also enjoy a comfortable level of popularity, and both have popular models with the Dutch that can easily be found in online car auctions in the United States.