If vital events in your life took place abroad, you are required to register these in the Personal Records Database (BRP) of your municipality. Such vital details could include a birth, acknowledgment of paternity, adoption, marriage, divorce and death. The documents concerning these life events are also called source documents.
Legalising foreign documents
The vital detail must be ‘legally valid’ in the country where it took place. This means that the document must be drawn up according to local regulations and by an authorised agency. A foreign document is not automatically legally valid in the Netherlands. Documents from certain countries must be legalised or have an Apostille. You might come across legalising your documents when you submit your application for a residence permit at the IND, for example. To legalise a document, the competent authorities sign and stamp it. This makes your foreign document suitable for use in the Netherlands.
How to legalize your foreign document depends on the country the document comes from. Visit the website of the Dutch government to check how to legalize your document:
It can take a lot of time to have documents legalised or issued with an Apostille. Please start in time: a few months before submitting the documents. Keep in mind that the legalisation or Apostille also costs money.
Translating foreign documents
Is your document not written in Dutch, English, German or French? The document must be translated into Dutch by a sworn translator in the Netherlands. Translations made outside of the Netherlands will not be accepted.
Do you have the document translated in a foreign country and therefore not by a translator who has been sworn in by a Dutch Court? The translation should also be legalised or issued with an Apostille. A translation can only be legalised together with the legalised original document.
As of February 16, 2019 you can use certain documents in all EU countries and in some territories directly, without an apostille or legal translation. Visit the website of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to read more about this simpler procedure.