Documents that are official and legally valid abroad are not automatically official and legally valid in the Netherlands. The authorities in the country that has issued the document often needs to stamp and sign the document first. This is called legalization.

Procedures for the legalization of foreign documents

The Dutch government may ask you to provide an official and legally valid foreign document, for example a birth certificate, marriage certificate or death certificate. Generally, you will need to ask the authorities of the country in which the foreign document was issued to legalize the document. In almost all cases, this is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of that country. After that, you will have to ask the Dutch embassy or the Du`tch consulate in that same country to legalize the document.

If the document is in a language other than English, French or German, then you will have to provide a translation by a certified translator. Both the translation and the original document will have to be legalized.

Is there a legalization convention?

Other rules may apply to legalization if a country is party to a legalization convention. Legalization conventions facilitate the legalization process. You should therefore always check the rules that apply to the country in which the document was issued. You will find information on the legalization of documents per country on the websites of Dutch representations abroad.

For example, if a is country party to the Apostille Convention, then only one legalization is needed for documents issued in that country. The Ministry of Justice or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of that country will usually do this.