Learn about the process of getting your documents certified before applying for permanent residence in the Netherlands.
When applying for residency in the Netherlands, you must provide supporting documents to prove your identity. Generally speaking, these require certification by your government before the Dutch immigration authorities accept them.
In this guide, we explain how you can get an identification document certified ahead of your move to the Netherlands. A important word of advice: start the process right away to avoid delays.
Documents required for a Dutch visa: the basics
When you apply for a visa for the Netherlands, you must provide supporting documents. These require authentication in your home country. They must be in a language approved by the Dutch authorities: Dutch, English, French, or German.
Find out more about residence permits in the Netherlands in our full guide to Dutch visas.
How to get an apostille stamp
You can get your documents – a birth, marriage or civil partnership certificate, bank statement, etc. – legalized with an Apostille certificate or stamp. This stamp means your documents are authentic in a whole host of countries.
That’s because there is a reciprocal agreement between member states signed up to Convention 12 of The Hague Convention. Member states recognize foreign documents apostilled by other member states. Generally, certification services can only be provided by your home country’s government.
You usually must pay a fee for document certification. Costs vary significantly from country to country.
How to legalize your documents
Unfortunately, the process isn’t always as simple as getting in touch with the relevant government department. Before a document can be legalized by the government, it will usually need to signed by an official from the issuing body (e.g., a medical report should be signed by a doctor from your country’s professional medical association) and/or certified by a lawyer or notary public. Only then can you submit a document for official legalization (the Apostille stamp).
This sounds cumbersome, but the situation was much more complex before the agreement; it still is for countries not part of The Hague Convention. Documents required certification from several agencies, authorities, schools, etc. in both your home country and the country of destination. The process is much more streamlined now.
How to find an apostille in your country
To find out how to legalize a document, check your government’s website. While some countries provide fast service, you should try to start this process a few months before you apply.
Below, we explain how the certification process works, and where to go to get more information in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.
Finding an apostille in the United Kingdom
In the UK, you’ll need to apply to the government’s Legalization Office to confirm a signature or stamp is from a certified UK public official.
The service costs a fee of £30 (€34) per document, plus courier costs of £5.50 (€6.25) per 1.5kg. To have the document delivered to a European country, the courier cost increases to £14.50 (€16.50) per 1.5kg,.
The UK government says it takes two working days to process documents on its standard service (4-5 days in October due to high demand). It also offers a £75 (€85) same-day business service.
You can find out more by using the UK’s document legalization service.
Finding an apostille in the United States
In the USA, apostilles and authentication certificates are available from the US Department of State’s Office of Authentications.
Authentication services are possible by mail, appointment (for urgent cases) or pick up and drop off at the Office of Authentications. The postal service takes around 12 business days once the Office of Authentications has received your documents.
In the US the prices are much lower than in the UK, with a fee of $8 (€7) for each document.
You can find out more on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
Finding an apostille in Australia
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade deals with authentications in Australia, though staff in Australian Passport Offices are also authorized to provide these services.
Certification services are available by mail or in person, and if you choose the latter option you’ll need to make an appointment at the Passport Office.
The government doesn’t provide specific details of how long the process takes, though it does say that you should expect delays during peak holiday periods and the end of the school year.
Apostille and authentication services in Australia cost AUS$81 (€50).
You can find out more on the Australian government’s smart traveller website.
General apostille information
For more information about legalization of documents in the Netherlands, you can call the Ministry of General Affairs on +31 77 465 6767, email [email protected] or visit www.rijksoverheid.nl / www.government.nl.
How to translate your documents
All documents must be in Dutch, English, French, or German.
If they’re not in one of these languages, they must be translated by a translator sworn in by a Dutch court, and submitted along with the original documents. If this process doesn’t take place in a Dutch court, the translation will also have to be legalized in the country of origin.
You can find a list of interpreters and translators who have been sworn in by Dutch courts on the WBTV website
For more information on apostille stamps
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND)
For general and specific queries, you can contact the IND by phone Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm on 088 0430 430 from within the Netherlands or +31 88 0430 430 from abroad.
The IND’s twitter account @IND_NL is also for general queries between Monday to Friday 9am–5pm.
PayingIt helps knowledge migrants/highly-skilled workers get here. They work with you to get visas, residence permits, and work permits. They can’t create the documents for you or do the legwork. However, they can make everything else much clearer and less stressful, by taking on all the administrative tasks necessary to get you here and started in your job. In about six weeks from the moment the employment agreement is signed, they will have your invitation letter. That is what you use to get your entry visa to be able to travel to the Netherlands.
If you have a signed employment contract, here’s what they need from you:
- Photocopy of your passport;
- Signed antecedents certificate (statement regarding any criminal history);
- Copy of education certificates/diplomas. They must be in English;
- Job description;
- List of required job skills.