The IND reads foreign certificates and establishes their authenticity. This is why these certificates often first have to be legalised or issued with an Apostille. When this is done, you can use them in the Netherlands. It often concerns official documents. For example, a birth certificate, an unmarried status declaration, marriage certificate or diploma.
Legalisation or an Apostille means that the document is verified to see whether it is issued by the (authorised) person or institution. Whether the document is correctly signed is also checked.
It can take a lot of time to have documents legalised or issued with an Apostille. Please start in time. A few months before you submit the application to the IND for example. The legalisation or Apostille also costs money. It is best not to submit the application until all documents are legalised/ issued with an Apostille and translated.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes which conditions a document has to meet for it to be used in the Netherlands. You can find both general information on legalising foreign documents as well as information about legalisation per country on the website of the dutch governement.
In some cases, a document can also be legalised in the Netherlands at the Consular Service Center (CDC) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It may be that the Dutch representation abroad has its doubts whether the content of the document is authentic. If that is the case, the Dutch representation fills in a questionnaire. This is done when the document is legalised. This can be done for the following foreign public certificates:
Documents from Apostille countries are not accompanied by a questionnaire.
An unmarried status declaration is accepted by the IND only if it is not older than 6 months.
For most other documents the validity and date of the legalisation are not relevant to the IND. These are documents of which the details are so final that the date of issue is less relevant. For example:
The IND accepts these documents even if these have been legalised some years ago. Provided the legalisation was done by a Dutch authority at the time.
It is of no use to have already legalised documents legalised again. Does a Dutch authority request a recent and legalised document? You then have to request the document again and have that document legalised.
You can register a foreign marriage with the municipality of The Hague's the Foreign Documents Department (Afdeling Landelijke Taken). This is also possible if you are not living in the Netherlands.
This registration converts a foreign marriage certificate into a Dutch certificate. The original certificate is kept. You can request a copy of this at any given moment. You can also use this when you submit an application to the IND. You then do not have to submit a legalised certificate from abroad again.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs decides which conditions a document has to meet for it to be used in the Netherlands. You can find both general information on legalising foreign documents as well as information about legalisation per country.
After the document has been legalised or issued with an Apostille, you may have to have it translated. A document does not have to be translated when it is drawn up in the Dutch, English, German or French language.
The translation always follows the legalisation or Apostille. The legalisation or Apostille stickers namely also have to be translated.
The translation has to be done by a translator who is certified by a Dutch court and is listed in the Register of certified translators and interpretors (Rbtv). See www.bureaubtv.nl for an overview of certified interpreters and translators.
If it is not possible to have the translation done in the Netherlands, you can also have the document translated by a certified translator abroad. You must then get both the original document and the translation legalised or issued with an Apostille.
Foreign certificates are for example birth certificates or a marriage certificates. But other official documents may also be asked for.