Legalisation of documents from China for use in the Netherlands

If you want to use a document from China in the Netherlands, you must first have it legalised by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs or one of its provincial Foreign Affairs Offices. You must then ask them to get your document legalised again by the Dutch embassy in Beijing or one of the Dutch consulates.

If you want to use documents from Hong Kong in the Netherlands or documents from Macau in the Netherlands, a different procedure applies.

Who can have documents legalised?

Anyone who has one or more documents from China can have them legalised for use in any part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands:

  • the European part of the Netherlands
  • Aruba
  • Bonaire
  • Curaçao
  • Saba
  • St Eustatius
  • St Maarten

Requirements for your document

Your document must be original and complete. If the document refers to other documents or annexes, these must be included.

Translation of a document

If your document is not in English, French, German or Dutch you might need to have it translated. The following rules apply:

  • Your document must be translated by a sworn translator.
  • It must be translated into English, French, German or Dutch.
  • If the sworn translator is registered outside the Netherlands, you must also have the translation legalised.

Special documents

Hukou

Most Chinese citizens have a hukou. A hukou is a document with information about a person's household. A hukou can also be a collective hukou, issued by a university or orphanage for example.

You do not need a certified true copy of a complete and up-to-date hukou if you are:

  • applying for naturalisation
  • applying for family migration and the joining family member lived outside China for at least 1 year before arriving in the Netherlands. Evidence of residence in the third country might be required
  • registering your details in the Personal Records Database and you lived outside China for at least 1 year before arriving in the Netherlands. Evidence of residence in the third country might be required

Documents drawn up by a notary

You can go to a notarial office (gong zheng chu) to have any of the following documents drawn up. The document will be in Chinese and an English translation will be attached to it. For the Dutch authorities, the Chinese document is the most important part.

A notarised certificate

This is a certificate drawn up by a notary about an event such as a birth. The document contains all the important information concerning the event. The notary issues this kind of certificate on the basis of an official Chinese document.

A certified true copy

This is a photocopy made by a notary of an original Chinese document. The notary adds a certificate stating that the photocopy is the same as the original.

Which documents can be legalised?

You can have various documents legalised, such as diplomas and certificates. The most common documents are extracts from civil status records.

Official copy of a birth certificate

You were born before 1 March 1996

You need:

  1. A notarised certificate stating your:
    • family name, given name(s), date and place of birth and the names of your mother and father
  2. A certified true copy of one of the following documents:
    • your parents' hukou with the details of your birth
    • a hospital certificate stating that the certificate can be used for recording the birth in the hukou register
    • a certificate from the Public Security Bureau with full details of your birth
  3. A certified true copy of your up-to-date and complete hukou. This is not required if you are recorded as a resident child in your parents' complete and up-to-date hukou (see point 2). It is also not required in the circumstances set out in the ‘Special documents’ section under ‘Hukou’

You were born on or after 1 March 1996

You need:

1. a certified true copy of your medical birth certificate

2. your original medical birth certificate, if you are applying in person

Late registration of birth

What you need depends on your date of birth. See the section for people born before 1 March 1996 or the section for people born after 1 March 1996. In some cases, more documents will be required. Ask the Dutch authorities which documents you need.

Legal guardianship certificate

You need:

  1. one of the following documents:
    • a certified true copy of the court order
    • a certified true copy of your divorce booklet, stating the guardianship agreements
  2. a certified true copy of the guardian's complete and up-to-date hukou. This is not required if one of the circumstances set out in the ‘Special documents’ section under ‘Hukou’ applies to the guardian.
  3. a certified true copy of the child's medical birth certificate
  4. the child's original medical birth certificate, if you are applying in person

Certificate of unmarried status

Men aged 22 and older and women aged 20 and older need:

  • a certified true copy of a certificate from the Civil Affairs Bureau

Men aged 21 and younger and women aged 19 and younger need:

  • a notarial declaration of marital status
  • a certified true copy of their up-to-date and complete hukou. This is not required in the circumstances set out in the ‘Special documents’ section under ‘Hukou’.

Official copy of a marriage certificate

You need:

  1. a certified true copy of your red marriage booklet
  2. certified true copy of your up-to-date and complete hukou in which the marriage is confirmed by the Public Security Bureau. This is not required in the circumstances set out in the ‘Special documents’ section under ‘Hukou’.
  3. your original red marriage booklet, if you are applying in person

Official copy of a divorce certificate

You need:

  1. one of the following documents:
    • a certified true copy of the decree of divorce issued by the court
    • a certified true copy of your divorce booklet
  2. a certified true copy of your up-to-date and complete hukou in which the divorce is confirmed by the Public Security Bureau. This is not required in the circumstances set out in the ‘Special documents’ section under ‘Hukou’.

Official copy of a death certificate

You need one of the following documents:

  • a certified true copy of the death certificate from the Public Security Bureau
  • In case of death in hospital: a certified true copy of the death certificate issued by the hospital

Where can you have your document legalised?

First have your document legalised by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs or one of the provincial Foreign Affairs Offices.
The ministry or the provincial Foreign Affairs Office can also have your document legalised for you by the Dutch embassy in Beijing or one of the Dutch consulates (double legalisation). This is quicker and easier than arranging legalisation yourself.

  • The Dutch embassy in Beijing legalises signatures from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.
  • The Dutch consulate-general in Guangzhou legalises signatures from the Foreign Affairs Offices in the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan and the autonomous region of Guangxi.
  • The Dutch consulate-general in Shanghai legalises signatures from the Foreign Affairs Offices in the municipality of Shanghai and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

Documents issued by the Chinese consulate in Willemstad (Curaçao)

Documents issued by the Chinese consulate in Willemstad must be legalised by the Foreign Relations Department (DBB) in Willemstad. After legalisation, you can use your document in the Netherlands.

Assistance from the Consular Service Centre in The Hague

The Consular Service Centre (CDC) cannot help you apply for documents or have documents legalised for you in China.

Verification of your document in the Netherlands

The stamp or sticker on your document means only that the correct signature is on your document. It does not prove that the content is correct or that the document is authentic. A municipality in the Netherlands, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) or another authority may decide to check this.