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Non-EU Document Legalization

You are required to bring certain documents with you to the Netherlands, including all relevant birth, marriage, divorce, adoption, or death certificates, in order to register with the municipality of the city in which you will reside in the Netherlands.

You should bring the original documents or official copies of these certificates that have been issued by the governmental authority in your county responsible for this task.

Documents from most countries will require legalization (see explanation below) for use in the Netherlands.

If the certificates are not written in Dutch, English, French or German, they must first be translated into one of these languages by a certified translator. After translation, you must submit the certificate and the translation for legalization, if required.

What is legalization? Check out this video.

A document issued in your home country that needs to be used in another country must be “authenticated” or “legalized” before it is valid and recognized in that other country (e.g. the Netherlands). The proof of legalization is one or more stamps or stickers on the certificate.

How should you arrange legalization?

There are two sorts of legalization: full legalization and Apostilles. The type of legalization varies from country to country.

  • For full legalization, you first need to bring your certificate to a governmental authority of your home country, and then you may need to take it to the Dutch consulate or embassy.
  • To obtain an Apostille, you need to bring your certificate to a governmental authority of your home country.  An Apostille is issued by a designated central authority. In the Netherlands this is the registrar at the district court. In other countries, it is often the Ministry of Justice or Foreign Affairs. There is an overview of all the designated authorities in the various countries on the website of the Hague Conference on International Private Law.

Please see Netherlands Worldwide for information on legalization on documents from outside of the EU/EEA/Switzerland.