Legalising Documents

You may have to provide IND or the Dutch municipal authorities with documents such as marriage or birth certificates. Please note that any foreign documents that you present to the Dutch government have to be legalised.

Legalisation is a procedure that serves to confirm a few things. Firstly, that the document was issued by someone with the authority to issue it. Secondly, it confirms that the signatures on the document are genuine. If a foreign document has been legalised, the Dutch authorities know that it is legally valid in the Netherlands. A properly legalised document contains a minimum of three signatures and stamps, issued by the following authorities:

  1. The person or authority that issued the document (e.g. a municipal registrar).
  2. One or several higher authorities in the country of issue. The highest authority required to sign and stamp is usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  3. The Dutch embassy or consulate in the country of issue.

If you do not know how to get your document legalised, we advise to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country of issue. We recommend to start early. It may take several month to collect all the necessary stamps and signatures. If the country in which the document was issued has signed the Apostille Convention, the procedure is easier. In that case, your document does not require legalisation by the Dutch embassy or consulate. Affixing an apostille, issued by the designated authority in the country of issue, will suffice. Contact the designated authority for further information on how to obtain an apostille.


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