Import from a classic: do it or have it done?

Auto Motor Klassiek » Articles » Import from a classic: do it or have it done?

The Internet has made the world much smaller. If it turns out that your dream classic is (much) cheaper in another country than here? Then importing is a good option.

Do not buy and import blindly on some pictures

In countries such as the USA and Brazil, restoration standards are sometimes horribly different than here.

Import within the EU

A classic car or engine importing from one of the EU states is no problem. It only requires an export document, a sales receipt and the name and address of the selling party. But any local garage owner can arrange the administrative tune at the touch of a button. Even if he is only 'hired' for this. The costs of an EU import are clear: transport and RDW fees. There are a number of car transport companies that are happy to deliver your purchase as a return freight for your home.

Search outside of Europe

It is best to go hunting on the spot. Buying through a reputable trader is another option, as is putting out a search through a Dutch classic trader with contacts in the country in question.

You have to take a number of things into account. You will of course have to deal with the exchange rate. You will also have to deal with the costs of transport and shipping and you pay 6% VAT on the purchase price and transport when you enter the Netherlands and you may be confronted with import duties. Sometimes a visa is necessary. For example, you need a apply for a visa for America. Just like Canada.

You do not pay import duties when the classic meets the following requirements.

  • The classic is at least 30 years old
  • The classic is in original condition without major changes to the chassis, engine, steering, braking system etc.
  • The model may no longer be in production

Import from the former Eastern block

Importing from the 'civilized' ex Eastern bloc countries is no administrative problem. But as your dream car continues towards 'Russia', the costs increase insanely because of the prevailing corruption. Also be careful because some of the classics offered 'there' were previously stolen 'here' and listed here as such.

Brazil and the rest of South America

When importing a classic from Brazil or other South American countries you can run into bureaucratic, legal and logistical obstacles. South American culture is rather confusing for private individuals and requires a thorough knowledge of the language

The easiest market: the USA

So we mainly look at imports from the USA.

What is needed?

  • The original 'Title' (the original registration number of the car)
  • The Bill of Sale (the purchase invoice of the car)
  • The Shipper's Export Declaration (SED) (document with the details of the selling party and purchasing party).

The transport

Classics from overseas areas usually come here in containers or via roll on / roll or transport. PLEASE NOTE: With RoRo transport it often happens that things disappear from or disappear from classics. The shipper can assist with the preparation of an SED (compulsory in America to export a vehicle). The actual shipment can start as soon as those documents have been presented to customs.

Upon arrival in the Netherlands, customs asks:

  • A 'Direct Representation (authorization for representation at Customs)
  • Bill of Sale (the purchase invoice of the car)
  • Copy of the original Title Certificate (a copy of the original registration certificate of the car)
  • Oldtimer declaration (filled in by the owner).
  • All's well that ends well

If the RDW inspection is completed satisfactorily and the BPM declaration has been sent, you will receive the Dutch registration number within a few working days. All you have to do is have license plates made and insure the car!

With the current flight ticket prices a vacation to the USA can pay off


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