Legalisation of documents from Bulgaria for use in the Netherlands
You can use certain documents from Bulgaria immediately in the Netherlands. Other documents need to be legalised first by the Bulgarian authorities. This is done with a special stamp called an apostille.
Due to the coronavirus, the possibilities to have foreign documents legalised at an embassy or consulate-general are limited. To see if it is possible to make an appointment, please check the online appointment system (unless otherwise indicated). If no times are available, it is not yet possible. Do you only need to have your documents legalised by the local authorities? Then check with the local authorities if that is possible.
Who can have documents legalised?
Anyone who has one or more documents from Bulgaria can have them legalised for use in any part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands:
- the European part of the Netherlands
- St Eustatius
- St Maarten
Requirements for your document
Your document must be original and complete. If the document refers to other documents or annexes, these must be included.
Translation of your document
If your document is not in English, French, German or Dutch you might need to have it translated. The following rules apply:
- Your document must be translated by a sworn translator.
- It must be translated into English, French, German or Dutch.
- If the sworn translator is registered outside the Netherlands, you must also have the translation legalised.
Multilingual extracts from civil status records do not need to be translated. A multilingual extract is a standard form in 9 languages.
Where to get your documents
The most common documents are extracts from civil status records:
- an official copy of a birth certificate (akt za razhdane)
- an official copy of a death certificate (prepis-izlvlechenie ot akt za smurt)
These documents are available from the civil status records office in the municipality where the birth or death was registered.
- a certificate of unmarried status (udostoverenie za semeino polozhenie)
- an official copy of a marriage certificate (akt za grazhdanski brak)
These documents are available from the civil status records office in the municipality where you live.
Official copy of a divorce certificate
(Reshenie za razvod)
You can get an official copy of a divorce certificate from a regional court.
You are in the Netherlands
You can request extracts from civil status records at the Bulgarian embassy in The Hague.
Ask the Bulgarian authorities where you can get the documents you need.
Which documents do not need to be legalised?
The following documents do not need to be legalised for use in the European part of the Netherlands:
all multilingual extracts of:
- birth certificates
- marriage certificates
- death certificates
Use of documents within the EU
You may have one or more public documents from an EU member state that you want to use in another EU country. In most cases, documents issued by an EU government or EU judicial body do not need to be translated. You may, however, need to attach a multilingual standard form to your document. You can obtain this form from the authority that issued your document. See the overview of all public documents that can be used freely within the EU on the European Justice website.
Which documents require an apostille?
An apostille is a stamp or sticker on your document. The following documents require an apostille:
- official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity (and not drawn up by a civil-law notary);
- diplomas, certificates and other declarations, e.g. disability declarations;
- certified copies issued by an EU country of public documents issued by the authorities in a non-EU country.
This is not a complete list. Contact the authorities to find out if your document needs an apostille.
Where can you have your document legalised?
For an apostille
To get your document legalised with an apostille, contact the Bulgarian authorities. You can find the address on the site of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). This website is in English.
Once your document has been legalised with an apostille, it can be used in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Assistance from the CDC in The Hague
The Consular Service Centre (CDC) cannot help you apply for documents or have documents legalised for you in Bulgaria.
Verification of your document
The stamp or sticker on your document means only that the correct signature is on your document. Legalisation does not prove that the content is correct or that the document is authentic. A municipality in the Netherlands, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) or another authority may decide to check this.