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Apostilles, including Apostilles for Consular Reports of Birth and Death Abroad and Apostilles on Certificates of Loss of Nationality

Sample of an Apostille

The Apostille is a validation stamp ensuring that a particular document is recognized in certain foreign countries (countries that signed The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents).

Basically, a document is only valid in the country in which it was issued. Validation for recognition in another country used to be a very complicated and time-consuming matter and involved, in hierarchical order, several authorities of the issuing country, and, as a final step, validation by the consulate of the country, in which the document was to be recognized.

In order to facilitate recognition of a document abroad, an international treaty regarding mutual recognition of documents was entered into by many countries, including the U.S. and the Netherlands. This treaty is called the The Hague Convention. According to this treaty a document originating in one Convention country is recognized in all other Convention countries if it bears the so-called Apostille stamp, which is a validation performed by the superior office in the country and state where it was issued. In the United States the Secretary of State and the Deputy Secretary of State of the individual U.S. states provides the Apostille. (Please click here for the contact details of your state.)

The designated Dutch central authorities competent to issue apostilles are the 19 district courts in The Netherlands (Arrondissementsrechtbanken). The Dutch notary's (notaris) signature must be deposited at a district court in order for that court to provide an apostille. It is therefore advisable to inquire at the notaris which district court has his/her signature on file.

Dutch district courts provide apostilles for documents signed by Dutch notaries, officials of the Chamber of Commerce, civil registries, courts and sworn translators. A fee is charged for this service.

These apostilles (certifications) will not require any further legalization by the American Consulate General in order to be recognized in the United States or the Netherlands.

Neither the Consulate nor the Embassy is authorized to provide apostilles or assist in obtaining them.

If you have a document which needs an apostille, you should contact the relevant authority in the state where your document was issued.

Please note that where both countries have signed The Hague Convention, the Apostille procedure has to be followed.

Click here for details on Apostilles on Consular Reports of Birth or Death Abroad.

Validity of an Apostille

  • Questions concerning the validity of the apostille may be directed

    In The Netherlands to:

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Postbus 20061
    2500 EB  THE HAGUE
    Phone (070) 348 6486
    Fax (070) 348 4848 

    In the United States to:

    Department of State
    Washington, DC 20520