Those coming to live in the Netherlands from abroad may be asked to show documents from their country of origin, such as a birth or marriage certificate. Because these documents do not always meet the Dutch legal requirements, some of them first require authentication (legalisatie) to prove the document has been issued by an authorised person and that the signature on the document does in fact belong to this person. It is therefore advisable to have certain documents authenticated before you come to the Netherlands.
International legalisation agreements
Whether authentication is necessary depends on the country you come from. Some countries have made agreements with one another, which means that you may be eligible to undergo accelerated proceedings or even forego authentication. Learn more about legalisation conventions and search for the requirements of different countries.
The world’s best-known legalisation convention is the Apostille Convention of 5 October 1961, which simplified the legalisation of documents. Under this convention, a document can be legalised by the issue of a single apostille stamp. A marriage certificate with an apostille stamp, for instance, is valid in all countries that are a party to the Apostille Convention.
Whenever possible, it is good to arrange document authentication before travelling to the Netherlands, as authentication would be carried out by your home government. If the document is written in a language other than English, French or German, you may need to provide a translation by a sworn translator. If the translator is not based in the Netherlands, you may need to get both the original document and the translation legalised, otherwise legalising the document only is sufficient. If you require an authenticated document after moving to the Netherlands, you should contact your country’s embassy or consulate to discover the best way to proceed. More information about legalising documents is available here.
Regulation on Public Documents for EU citizens
As of 16 February 2019, the Regulation on Public Documents reduces red tape for EU citizens moving to other EU countries. For example, public documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc) must be accepted as authentic without the need for an authenticity stamp (apostille).
Likewise, the regulation also abolishes the requirement to provide a translation of a document – rather, if the document is not in one of the official languages of the EU country requesting the document, the citizen can request a multilingual standard form from the issuing country. Learn more about the changes brought about by the Regulation on Public Documents, and which public documents it relates to.