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 document issued by the Dutch government that you want to use abroad, for example:
- a civil status document
- a photocopy of your Dutch passport
- a certificate of residence issued by the Tax and Customs Administration
your document will need to be legalised by at least 2 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?
Civil status documents
Examples of civil status documents include:
- birth certificates
- marriage certificates
- death certificates
- certificates of unmarried status
You should have these documents legalised by the municipality that issued them. The municipal officer authorised to carry out legalisations will place their name and signature on your document as proof.
>> Go to Step 2
You can have a photocopy of your passport legalised by the municipality that issued the passport.
You can also have the photocopy legalised first by a Dutch notary and then by a district court.
>> Go to Step 2
Certificates of residence issued by the Tax and Customs Administration
You must first have a certificate of residence legalised by the Ministry of Finance, Directorate General of the Tax and Customs Administration, in The Hague (information in Dutch). The Tax and Customs Administration can tell you how this works.
>> Go to Step 2
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
- Ask the foreign country's embassy or consulate if it also needs to legalise your document.
- If so, have your document legalised by the country's embassy or consulate. The foreign country's embassy or consulate can tell you how this works.
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.