Any foreign documents you present to the Dutch authorities have to be legalised.
Cross-border traffic is increasing rapidly. More and more people and businesses have contacts abroad through trade, company branches, foreign postings, marriage or adoption. In many cases they are required to furnish documents, but a document which is legally valid in one country will not necessarily be valid in another.
Both the Dutch authorities and the authorities of other countries need to be certain about the status of each other’s documents, and it is often difficult to establish that status. It is impossible to know precisely who the authorised officials are in every country, what powers they have, and what a particular document ought to look like.
If a Dutch document has been legalised, the foreign authorities know that it is valid. By the same token, a foreign document legalised in its country of issue is legally valid in the Netherlands.
Legalisation confirms that a document was issued by someone with the authority to issue it and that the signatures it bears are genuine. Some documents need to be signed by several different authorities in order to be legalised. This is called the legalisation chain.
This page tells you what you need to do to get Dutch or foreign documents legalised.
Dutch documents for use in other countries
2.1 Who is responsible for legalising documents?
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for legalising Dutch documents for use abroad. The applicant must have arranged any prior legalisations that may be necessary. For example, a translation produced by a sworn translator must be legalised by the district court, then by the Ministry of Justice before proceeding finally to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Once the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has legalised your document, you may go the embassy or consulate of the country where the document is to be used, for further legalisation. These offices are usually located in The Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Brussels.
2.2 What documents are involved?
Some Dutch documents, for example certificates from the register of births, deaths and marriages and other documents issued by Dutch municipalities, can be legalised immediately by the Legalisation Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Even so, a lot of documents have to undergo a wide range of procedures. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can provide information regarding the legalisation chain required before a Dutch document can be used abroad.
2.3 Points to remember when submitting a Dutch document for legalisation
Find out whether the country you need the document for is signatory to a legalisation convention. If so, legalisation by Ministry of Foreign Affairs may not be necessary. See section 5, Legalisation Conventions. – Submit the signed, original Dutch document.
- Ensure the document was issued no more than one year previously.
– If you require legalisation of a copy of a Dutch document (a certified true copy), you must send the original as well.
– Where necessary, make sure prior legalisations by other Dutch authorities have been carried out. This is the legalisation chain.
– If you require legalisation of a translation of a Dutch document, you must send the original as well. Ensure you observe the full legalisation chain for translations.
– Any document issued in a foreign language in the Netherlands (apart from English, French or German) must be accompanied by a translation produced by a sworn translator.
2.4 What is the procedure for legalising Dutch documents?
There are two ways to submit a document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for legalisation:
1. In person
Personally submit the document to the Ministry’s Legalisation and Visas Information Centre.
This can also be done by a family member or friend.
The Legalisation Division is open on working days from 9 to 12.30.
Documents handed in before 11.30 can be collected the same day. You will normally have to wait about an hour. Documents handed in later than 11.30 can be collected from 9 a.m. on the next working day.
Legalisation costs 10 euro per document.
2. By post
You can also submit your document by post. Document(s) requiring legalisation, and your written request, should be sent to:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2500 EB THE HAGUE
An order confirmation and reference number will be sent to the postal address provided in your written request, together with a statement of the costs (including the charge for return by registered post) and the bank account details. It is important that you quote the reference number when making payment. Once payment has been received the legalised document(s) will be returned within 14 days, by registered post.
The charge for legalisation is 10 euros per document, exluding return postage. Documents that cannot be legalised will be returned. Charges less than 30 euros will not be refunded. Submitting and returning documents by post takes place at your own risk.
If you have any questions you can contact the Legalisation Division between 09.00 and 12.30, Monday-Friday, on: +31(0)70 348 59 01.
Foreign documents for use in the Netherlands
3.1 Who is responsible for legalising documents?
The Dutch missions in other countries are responsible for legalising foreign documents for use in the Netherlands. But first the documents must have been legalised by the country’s own authorities, usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where the document was issued.
3.2 What documents are involved?
If a Dutch authority asks for a recent legalised foreign document, it will usually be a certificate of birth, marriage or death. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can arrange foreign document requests and legalisation of foreign documents. Liaison services of this kind cannot, however, be provided in all countries.
3.3 What is the procedure for requesting or legalising foreign documents?
Write a letter to the Legalisation Division at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking for a document to be requested or legalised in a given country. The document must concern a Dutch national. Enclose the following with your letter:
- a copy of your Dutch passport;
– a copy of the original document if requesting a recent, legalised document;
– your parents’ names in full, if requesting a duplicate of your birth certificate and the original is no longer in your possession. In some countries it is not always possible to request a duplicate without submitting a copy of the original;
– the original of any document to be legalised. The document should not normally be more than one year old.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs charges a fee for requesting and legalising foreign documents on your behalf, varying from 36.25 euro to 131 euro per document.
Requesting and legalising documents can take several months. When requesting a document, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is dependent on local circumstances and cannot therefore guarantee that the document requested will be supplied. We regret that your fee cannot be refunded if the document requested is not available, since costs will nevertheless have been incurred.
For further information please telephone the Legalisation Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (see below).
3.4 Including foreign documents in the register of birth, deaths and marriages in The Hague
Certificates of births, deaths and marriages issued by the authorities of another country and duly legalised may be included in the register of births, deaths and marriages in The Hague. The person referred to in the document must be (or have been) a Dutch national or an A-status refugee. Including a foreign certificate in the register is not compulsory, but it does offer the advantage that the registry of births, deaths and marriages can subsequently issue you with duplicates and extracts from the register on request. This means you no longer need to request the document abroad and have it legalised.
For further information contact the municipal Foreign Documents Office (Bureau Bijzondere Akten) in The Hague (telephone +31 70 – 353 30 00).
Consular documents issued in other countries
Consular certificates are issued for Dutch nationals by a Dutch embassy or consulate abroad. Examples are certificates of birth, marriage or death. Only a few embassies and consulates are authorised to issue documents of this kind, and birth certificates are therefore not always available from a Dutch embassy or consulate. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can arrange a request for a duplicate or extract of a consular certificate on behalf of Dutch nationals if the birth, marriage or death in question has been registered with one of the authorised Dutch embassies or consulates.
Examples include declarations of unmarried status or of place of residence, or proof of nationality. They are issued to Dutch nationals who live or have lived abroad and who require such documents for a Dutch authority.
If you wish to get married abroad, the foreign authorities often request a declaration of intention to marry issued by the Dutch embassy or consulate in the country where you wish to get married. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can request consular declarations on behalf of Dutch nationals.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs charges a fee of € 103.00 per document for requesting consular documents on your behalf. Requesting a consular document may take several weeks.
Since consular documents are issued by Dutch embassies or consulates, they are Dutch documents and need not be legalised for use in the Netherlands. Consular documents cannot be included in the registry of births, deaths and marriages in The Hague.
For further information on consular documents please contact the Legalisation Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Some countries have entered into agreements streamlining the legalisation chain. This means that certain documents from one of the contracting states may be used in another contracting state with only a single legalisation or even none at all.
The best-known legalisation convention is the Convention abolishing the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents, also known as the Apostille Convention (5 October 1961). This convention does not completely abolish legalisation but shortens the chain so that only a single action is required, the addition of an apostille. A document bearing an apostille does not require any further legalisation by the embassy or consulate of the country in which it is to be used. Apostilles are issued in the Netherlands by district courts.
For further information on legalisation conventions please telephone the Legalisation Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (see addresses below).
Addresses and telephone numbers
The Legalisation Division is open for telephone enquiries from Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 12.30.
Telephone +31 70 348 59 01
Fax +31 70 348 66 75
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
DPV/DF – Legalisaties
2500 EB The Hague
Address for visitors:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2594 AC The Hague
The Ministry is located near Central Station and the Babylon shopping centre. The Legalisation Division is on the first floor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is open to visitors from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Dutch documents presented before 11.30 are available for collection the same day. The office is not open to the public in the afternoon.
The office wil be closed on:
24 March 2008
30 April 2008
1,2, 5 and 12 May 2008
25 and 26 December
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