How to Apply for Vehicle Roadworthiness Test in the Netherlands for Foreign Cars

The RDW test is a compulsory inspection for all foreign vehicles from non-EU/EFTA member states. If you’re importing a vehicle outside of the EU to the Netherlands, below are the steps you need to take to apply for RDW inspection. 

Expats are prohibited from driving foreign vehicles in the Netherlands without a Dutch license plate for more than three months, which is the maximum time tourists are allowed to drive foreign-plated vehicles to travel on the state’s public roads. Likewise, foreign cars won’t be released from customs without the pertinent paperwork. The same also applies to expats coming from EU member states.

If moving to the Netherlands from an EU country, the vehicle no longer has to pass through RDW inspection unless the car’s model is from January 1, 1978, and weighs more than 3,500 kg. Also, vehicles with a high risk of road accidents shall undergo intensive inspection by the RDW. Meanwhile, all foreign vehicles from a non-EU state are required to undergo the inspection. If the vehicle did not pass the RDW test, then it shall not cross the lands of the Netherlands.

What is RDW Inspection? 

The RDW is the authority that oversees the inspection of vehicle roadworthiness. The RDW inspection is a compulsory requirement for all foreign vehicles from non-EU/EFTA states and accident risk automobiles. Consequently, it is the Dutch equivalent of vehicle roadworthiness test (APK test) to ensure that vehicle is not a road hazard. It is the equivalent of MOT in the UK.

How to Apply for RDW Inspection? 

You need to schedule an inspection with the RDW. Remember that it is a requirement for obtaining a Dutch license number for foreign vehicles outside of the EU. Therefore, it is important to take this test.

Before scheduling an inspection to any RDW center in the Netherlands, make sure to complete all the documents needed for the evaluation. The documents you need to prepare are the following:

  • Proof of identity such as a passport or driver’s license
  • Proof of Residence
  • Foreign Registration Certificate
  • Non-EU certificate of conformity if the European type is unavailable
  • Customs clearance
  • Certificate of purchase or any proof of ownership
  • APK-testing for roadworthiness for vehicles more than three years old

Some foreign vehicles already have a foreign APK-testing. If your vehicle does, the certificate remains valid until the expiry date is over. All you have to do present the original APK testing certificate. If the car’s APK testing has the experience, you need to perform both at the RDW. The agency performs both tests simultaneously for vehicles imported for personal use.

After completing all the requirements, you’re ready to schedule an inspection with the RDW. You can go to their official website to book a schedule and look for the nearest test centers.

During the inspection process, the RDW check’s the vehicle’s license register and odometer reading. To verify your car’s identity, you can do a VIN check through a Chassischeck, an online chassis number checker.

The evaluation will determine whether the vehicle is stolen or legally registered under your name. Likewise, it presents basic information about your cars such as their key features, performance rating, and potential for accidents.

If the vehicle passed the inspection by the RDW, then your car is proven to be roadworthy under the country’s vehicle and traffic safety laws.