Preparing supporting documents for Dutch visa and permit applications

Preparing supporting documents for Dutch visa and permit applications

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All foreign supporting documents used to apply for a visa or permit to visit or live in the Netherlands must be legalised in your originating country and be in an appropriate language.

When you apply for a permit to visit or stay in the Netherlands, you will be asked to provide supporting documents but these must be properly authenticated – and in the right language.

All foreign documents must be officially 'legalised' or 'authenticated' by a government authority in your originating country, and be in Dutch, English, French or German.

How to legalise your documents

An Apostille stamp

You can get your documents – a birth, marriage or civil partnership certificate, bank statement, etc. – legalised with an ‘Apostille' (pronounced ‘a-poss-teel') certificate or stamp. The Apostille stamp means your documents will be recognised as 'authentic' in member countries abroad.

This is a reciprocal agreement between 105 member states signed up to Convention 12 of the Hague Convention, whereby member states recognise foreign documents ‘apostilled' by other member states. This is carried out by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK, or by the Department of State in the US, for example. There is usually a fee to do this.

Before a document can be legalised it will probably 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 solicitor or notary public. Only then can you submit a document for official legalisation (the Apostille stamp).

Check your own government's website for what is needed in your case. Get this organised a few months before you apply for your permit to ensure everything is ready in time.

For more information about legalisation, you can call the Ministry of General Affairs on +31 77 465 6767, email or visit /

How to translate your documents

All documents must be in Dutch, English, French or German. If not, they must be translated, by a translator sworn in by a court, and submitted along with the original documents. If this doesn't take place in a Dutch court, the translation will also have to be legalised in the country of origin, as above. 

For more information

See the IND website for more information and to find your nearest IND desk.

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.

Immigratie-en Naturalisatiedienst
Postbus 287

The IND's twitter account @IND_NL is also for general queries between Monday to Friday 9am–5pm.


The information given here is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice from the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country.

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Updated from 2013.


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