Legalisation of Dutch documents by apostille

The Netherlands is a member of the Apostille Convention. Countries that are members of the Apostille Convention legalise documents using a stamp or sticker called an ‘apostille’. In the Netherlands you can get an apostille from a district court. Documents with an apostille can be used in all of the countries that are members of the Convention.

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;
  • public documents issued by a non-EU country;
  • 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.

Exceptions

The following documents cannot be legalised by apostille:

  • documents drawn up by diplomatic or consular agents (for example, declarations of unmarried status drawn up by a foreign embassy in the Netherlands)
  • documents relating to commercial transactions or customs formalities

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.

Where to get an apostille

In the Netherlands you can get an apostille from a district court. Check this list of district courts in the Netherlands to find the nearest one (this site is in Dutch).

In what countries can documents with an apostille be used?

Documents with an apostille can be used in all the countries that are members of the Apostille Convention.

You can find a list of the countries that are members of the Apostille Convention on the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH).