Legalisation of documents from Portugal for use in the Netherlands

You can use certain documents from Portugal immediately in the Netherlands. Other documents need to be legalised first by the Portuguese authorities. This is done with a special stamp called an apostille.

Who can have documents legalised?

Anyone who has one or more documents from Portugal, the Azores or Madeira 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 your 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.

Multilingual extracts from civil status records do not need to be translated. A multilingual extract is a standard form in 9 languages.

Where to get your documents

The most common documents are extracts from civil status records:

  • an official copy of a birth certificate
  • an official copy of a marriage certificate
  • an official copy of a death certificate
  • an official copy of a divorce certificate

If you are currently in Portugal

Ask the Portuguese authorities where you can get these documents. Documents like these are usually available from your municipality.

If you are currently in the Netherlands

The Portuguese embassy in The Hague issues multilingual extracts.

Certificate of unmarried status

Portugal does not issue certificates of unmarried status. Your marital status is given on your identity document. If your marital status has changed since your identity document was issued, this information will not be up to date.

An official copy from the register of births, which says whether or not you are married, can also be used as a certificate of unmarried status. The official copy must not have been issued more than three months ago.

Other documents

Ask the authorities in Portugal where you can get the documents you need.

Which documents do not need to be legalised?

The following documents do not need to be legalised:

  • all official copies and extracts of civil status records. This includes multilingual civil status record extracts
  • documents drawn up by diplomatic or consular agents
  • certificates proving that you are legally allowed to get married (capacity to marry)

The following documents do not need to be legalised for use in the European part of the Netherlands and Aruba:

  • all documents concerning:
  1. legal capacity or legal family relationships
  2. nationality
  3. permanent or temporary place of residence
  • all documents required to get married
  • all documents required to draw up a civil status record

Which documents require an apostille?

An apostille is a stamp or sticker on your document. The following documents require a Portuguese apostille:

  • documents issued by judicial authorities (for example a public prosecutor, a court registrar or a court enforcement agent)
  • administrative documents, like certificates and diplomas
  • documents drawn up by a civil-law notary
  • official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity (and not drawn up by a civil-law notary)

This is not a complete list. Contact the Portuguese authorities if your document is not listed.

As of 16 February 2019 use of certain documents simplified within EU

You may have one or more public documents from a European Union (EU) member state that you want to use in another EU country. You will often require an apostille for these documents. As of 16 February 2019 you will be able to make use of a simplified procedure.

More information will follow shortly. If you would like further information now, see the article about the simpler procedure for use of public documents from an EU country on the European e-justice portal.

Which documents require a different legalisation procedure?

Portuguese documents relating to commercial transactions or customs formalities require a different form of legalisation.

Contact the Portuguese authorities to find out whether this applies to your document.

Where can you have your document legalised?

For an apostille

To get your document legalised with an apostille, contact the authorities in Portugal. For details see the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH).

Once your document has been legalised with an apostille it can be used in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Mediation by the Consular Service Centre (CDC) in The Hague

As of 1 June 2018 the Consular Service Centre (CDC) will no longer mediate for people wanting to request documents from Portugal and/or have documents from that country legalised.

Verification of your document

The stamp or sticker on your document means only that the correct signature is on your document. Legalisation 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.