Everything you need to know about apostille


When moving to another country there are a lot of things to think about. Besides deciding on housing, possibly education and financial matters, there are also official documents to take into consideration. It is best to start working in advance with these documents due to the legalisation process. Before a Dutch authority can register a document, it must first receive an official stamp from the country that issued the document: the apostille.

Register certificates

Relevant documents for registration at The Hague International Centre are birth, marriage and/or divorce certificates, however, how and if these documents have to be legalised differ per country. In some cases, the document only needs to be checked and stamped by the issuing country, in other cases there is the additional requirement that a Dutch authority in the issuing country, so the Dutch embassy, consulate-general or honorary consul also has to stamp the document to legalise it.

  • Countries who are part of the Apostille Convention only need an apostille from the issuing country.
  • Legalisation within the European Union has changed since February 16, 2019. The required documents for registration are exempted from needing an apostille.  
  • For these and other cases there is a useful tool when researching if you are in need of an apostille and where you can go to get it is the website of the Dutch Central Government where you can find essential information by country.

Sworn translation

The last matter that needs to be taken into account is the language of the document. If your documents are not in Dutch, English, German or French, you need a translation from a translator sworn-in by a Dutch District Court. If the translation stems from aside of the Netherlands, it needs to be officially stamped as well.

For every European Member State, there are multilingual standard forms available that the issuing governmental authority can fill in. This form, together with the original document (both without an apostille) need to be taken to the registration.