What is legalisation?

Certain official documents or extracts from a civil register must be 'legalised' before they will be accepted by the Dutch immigration authorities.

The process of legalisation entails confirming that the document has indeed been issued by an official, authorised body and that the signature it bears is genuine.

The signature is checked and declared genuine by two authorities:

  1. The authority immediately above that responsible for the issuing organisation. In many cases, this will be the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country concerned.
  2. The Dutch embassy or consulate in the country in which the document was issued.

A legalised document will therefore bear at least three signatures.

Do my documents have to be legalised?

Whether a document has to be legalised depends entirely on the country in which it was issued.

Birth certificates, marriage certificates and similar documents issued by a country which is a signatory to a legalisation treaty must generally bear an apostille, whereupon legalisation is not required.

See also

Documents issued by a country which appears on neither of these lists must be legalised.

Further information about legalisation and the department or organisation responsible for legalisation in each country can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.