Legalisation and verification of documents

In order to be able to ascertain the legal validity of certain documents, some documents must be legalised and possibly verified; some must bear an apostille. This proof of legal validity must not be older than six months.


Legalisation entails ascertaining whether a document has been issued by a person authorised to do so and that the signature on the document indeed is that of the signatory.

In particular deeds and extracts from the population register, such as the birth certificates and marriage certificates from some countries, must be legalised before acceptance in the Netherlands. Two authorities can issue this certification:

  1. The authorities authorised to do this above the issuing agency. In most cases this will be the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where the document was issued.
  2. The Dutch embassy or consulate in the country where the document was issued.

Whether legalisation is required depends on the country of origin of the document. Some countries have concluded treaties with each other to simplify legalisation. For these countries an apostille suffices. The apostille is issued by a central authority, often the Minister of Justice or Foreign Affairs of the country where the document was issued. In some cases it can also be issued by the local court.

A document that bears an apostille contains two signatures and stamps.

Consult the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which indicates per country whether legalisation or apostille is required. The department of legalisation can be reached on working days between the hours of 8.00 a.m. and 20.00 p.m. by telephone at 1400 (within The Netherlands) or +31 (0)77 465 6767 (from abroad) or by using their contactform.


Verification entails that the Dutch embassy or consulate in the country where the document was issued checks whether the information reported in the document is accurate. This only takes place if there is reason to doubt the reliability of the document. The verification precedes legalisation.

Should a competent Dutch authority (such as the municipality or UWV WERKbedrijf) doubt the accuracy of the document, it can submit a request for verification.


Official documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and diplomas, must be translated by a sworn translator if they are not originally in Dutch, German, English or French. The Dutch diplomatic representative can help the foreign employee find a sworn translator.

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