Legalisation of Dutch legal documents for use abroad

To use a Dutch legal document abroad, you must first have it legalised. This is done with a stamp or sticker. After legalisation, you can use the document abroad.

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 legal document that you want to use abroad, for example:

  • a court order
  • a document drawn up by a lawyer
  • a power of attorney
  • a document drawn up by a notary or sworn translator

your document will need to be legalised by at least 2 Dutch authorities. Which authorities assess 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 legal document do you have?

The steps that need to be taken to legalise a document depend on the type of document.

Court order

Take the order (in family law or civil proceedings) to the central information desk of the court that issued it. Ask for a signed official copy, stamped with ‘true copy of original’ (‘kopie conform origineel’).  Make sure that the name of the court staff member is also on the copy.

Then take the order to the Consular Service Centre (CDC) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The CDC will legalise the document.

Document drawn up by a lawyer

To have a document drawn up by a lawyer legalised, do the following:

  • First have your document legalised by a notary.
  • Then have your document legalised by the district court.

>> Go to Step 2

Power of attorney

To have a power of attorney legalised, do the following:

  • First have your signature legalised by a notary.
  • Then have your power of attorney legalised by the district court.

In some cases, your municipality may be authorised to legalise powers of attorney. After this, take your document to the Consular Service Centre (CDC) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

>> Go to Step 2

Document drawn up by a notary or sworn translator

You will need to have a document drawn up by a notary or sworn translator legalised by a district court. When having a translation legalised, you must also provide the original Dutch-language document (or a photocopy of it).

>> Go to Step 2

Your own signature on a document

There are various ways to have your signature legalised.

Legalisation by the municipality

The municipality that issued your Dutch passport can legalise your signature. The municipal officer authorised to carry out legalisations will place their name and signature on your document as proof.

Legalisation by a notary

You can also have your signature legalised by a Dutch notary.

>> 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.

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).

The country is a member of the Apostille Convention

>> 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.