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Your outstanding customer service and flexibility with our constantly changing itinerary ensured smooth transport of our family vehicle. Thanks for the help!

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There are various factors influencing the overall cost of importing a car from the USA to the Netherlands. To make sure you allocate the sufficient amount of money and not forget about import requirements other than financial, check out the guidelines below.

Cost of car shipping

Your car will have to be transported overseas, which means you will have to choose the best means of transport. Car shipping is a typical choice among importers internationally, so that’s the first one to get to know more about.

The cost of a particular shipping service will depend on the shipping method you choose. For example, RoRo shipping tends to be less expensive than shared container shipping and especially exclusive container shipping.

Additional transport costs

Besides the basic cost of the shipping service, you have to take into account that your car may need to be transported to the departure port before the shipping and from the arrival port in the Netherlands.

Ideally, you will choose the port nearest to you and you will also drive the car to the port yourself. However, in case your car is not in driving condition and you cannot take it to the port yourself, you will have to find a truck carrier to transport it for you. The cost of this service may be lower if you hire one company to handle both the shipping and transport to/from the port.

Import duties and taxes in the Netherlands

The particulars of your consignment, such as the port from which you are shipping the car, influence the amount of import duty and tax you will have to pay upon your arrival in the Netherlands. Ask your shipping company about the average amount to pay and what you can do to lower it.

As for the majority of countries in Europe, you will have to provide a Title of Ownership with no lien on it to be able to import your car to the Netherlands. The front of the title also has to have your name listed as the registered owner, provided you bought the vehicle new. In case it was sold, then both the Buyer and the Seller have to sign the back of the title.

All EU residents, including tourists, have to pay 30% of the value of the car as import duty taxes. The value of the car is assessed according to the Kelly Blue Book. However, the tax only serves as a holding deposit which is returned to the car owner when they reach their destination country (regardless of whether it’s in the EU or elsewhere).

American citizens traveling to Europe and shipping their cars to the Netherlands, tax duties are refunded when the car is shipped back to the United States. Taxes for American citizens are 10% of the value of the car in addition to the 10% VAT.

A duty-free import opportunity for US citizens arises if they are moving from the US to the Netherlands with the intention of changing their place of residence. If this is the case, then a US citizen moving to the Netherlands can import their car without paying import duties and VAT.

Important info to Ship a Car Overseas:
  • No car can leave USA if it has a lien on it. What does this mean? Your car must be paid in full. The only people who can ship a car overseas and still carry a lien on the car are US Military and Government employees/contractors. For those people a letter of authorization from the lender will need to be issued to pass US Customs. Otherwise the car may be considered stolen.
  • A clear Title of Ownership with no Liens on the Title.
  • If you bought a car new, then your name must be listed on the front of the Title as the registered owner.
  • If the vehicle has been sold, then both the Seller and Buyer have to sign the back of the Title in the spaces as detailed on the back of the Title.
  • For safety reasons, the vehicle cannot have more than a ¼ tank of gas.
Import Duty for Destination Country:
  • Import duty is NOT collected by Ship Overseas. It must be paid at the arrival port by whoever is picking up the car. We wrote a blog post about vehicle import duty here. It talks about how to find out import duty for your country.
Travel & Living Abroad:
  • Most countries will allow a traveler to temporarily import their car for up to 6 months. After the 6 months is up, import duty will be charged. For many travelers going to Europe and taking their car, a deposit is paid up front. When the car goes back to it's destination country, the deposit is refunded. If a person has lived in USA for 1 or more years, most countries will allow that person to bring their car back duty free! The car must not have any liens on it. Please check with your Customs Department first.
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