In order to use a Dutch business document or trade document abroad, you need to have it legalised. This is done with a stamp or sticker. After legalisation, you can use the document abroad.
Please note that there is a difference between business documents and trade documents. The legalisation procedure for each is different.
What is legalisation?
Legalisation makes documents suitable for use in another country. It shows that a document has been issued by a competent authority.
How it works
If you have a Dutch business document or trade document that you want to use abroad, it will usually need to be legalised by several Dutch authorities. Which authorities legalise your document depends on:
- the type of document
- the agreements between the Netherlands and the country where you want to use the document.
Step 1 - What type of document do you have?
You must first have your business document legalised by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel; KvK) where the business is registered.
Please note: Extracts from the KvK bearing a name and signature do not need to be legalised by the KvK. You can go straight to step 2.
Examples of business documents:
- an agreement for the use of a lease car abroad. Please note: if you are using a vehicle belonging to a private individual to travel abroad, the owner (person A) can draw up a document stating that they have given permission for you (person B) to use it. The document should be drawn up both in Dutch and in the language spoken in the country where the vehicle will be used. If your document is not drawn up in these two languages, it will need to be translated by a sworn translator. If the sworn translator is not registered in the Netherlands, you must also have the translation legalised. Once this has been done, person A's signature will need to be legalised in the municipality in which they live. Then proceed to step 2.
- employment contracts
- KvK extracts
Go to step 2.
Trade documents must also be legalised by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel; KvK) where the business is registered.
Examples of trade documents:
- commercial declarations, such as articles of association or analytical reports
- export documents and certificates of origin.
Trade documents do not fall under the Apostille Convention. The legalisation procedure for trade documents is as follows:
- Legalisation by the KvK
- Legalisation by the Consular Service Centre (CDC) (see step 2B)
- Legalisation by the foreign country's embassy or consulate in the Netherlands (see step 3)
Step 2 – What are the agreements with the Foreign Country?
In some cases, your document may require an apostille. This depends on whether the country where you want to use your document is a member of the Apostille Convention.
The country is a member of the Apostille Convention
Take your document to the district court to get an apostille. Check this list of courts in the Netherlands (this site is in Dutch) to find the nearest one.
Ask the foreign country's embassy or consulate whether you need to provide a translation of the document and whether the translation also needs to be legalised.
>> Your document has now been legalised and can be used abroad.
The country is not a member of the Apostille Convention
You must have your document legalised by the Consular Service Centre (CDC) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague.
>> Go to Step 3
Step 3 – Legalisation by the foreign country’s embassy or consulate
Have your document legalised by the country you want to use it in. The foreign country’s embassy or consulate in the Netherlands can tell you how this works.