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Legalization of documents

The Dutch authorities have to be certain of the state of documents, coming from other countries. Legalization of documents coming from abroad, ensures that these documents will also be accepted by the Dutch government.
These documents have to be legalized by someone who is qualified to do that. Sometimes it is necessary documents are signed by different authorities in order to be legalized. To shorten this proces, there are made up different conventions.

Apostille Convention

The best-known convention of legalization is the convention that is founded on 5 October 1961 for the legalization of foreign documents: the Apostille Convention. The convention causes a reduction of the usual formalities within the international juridical traffic without the lost of legal certainty. Because of this convention the procedure for legalization of documents only needs one single action: the addition of an apostille. When a document bears the mark of an apostille, there is no further legalization required by the embassy or consulate of the country where the documents are necessary.

The apostille

The apostille is placed on a extension of the document, or on the document itself. The size of the apostille is at least 9 centimeters squared with the inscription 'Apostille (Convention de La haye du 5 octobre 1961').

In the Netherlands, registrars of the District Courts deposit the apostille stamp. In other countries it most of the time are the secretaries of the law or Foreign Affairs.

Avoid delays

Unnecessary delays because of a missing legalization- or apostillestamp, can be prevent. You can legalize your documents that are necessary for the application for a residence permit several months before arriving in country of origin.

When a copy of the documents are sent, don't forget to send a copy of a legalization- or apostillestamp as well.