If you want to use your document from the United States in the Netherlands, you must first have it legalised by the US authorities. This is done with a special stamp called an apostille.
Who can have documents legalised?
Anyone who has one or more documents from:
- the United States
- the Northern Mariana Islands
- the US Virgin Islands
- Puerto Rico
- American Samoa
After your document is legalised you can use it 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.
Which documents can be legalised?
You can have various documents legalised, such as diplomas and certificates. The most common documents are:
- an official copy of a birth certificate
- an official copy of a marriage certificate
- an official copy of a divorce certificate
- an official copy of a death certificate
You can apply for these documents at Vital Statistics.
Certificate of unmarried status
You can prove your unmarried status with an affidavit. An affidavit is a written declaration that you make under oath in the presence of a notary. The notary confirms your signature.
If you are registered with a municipality in the Netherlands, you can obtain the certificate from the municipality.
Where can you have your documents legalised?
You can get an apostille from the US authorities. For details see the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). After your document is legalised with an apostille, it can be used in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Documents issued by the US consulate in Willemstad (Curaçao)
Documents issued by the US consulate in Willemstad must be legalised by the Foreign Relations Department (DBB) in Willemstad. After legalisation, you can use your document in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Documents issued by the American Consulate General in Amsterdam
Documents issued by the Consulate General can be legalised by the Consular Service Centre (CDC) in The Hague.
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 the United States.
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.