(Please note this information is provided for your information and does not make anyone other than YOURSELF legally responsible for actions that resulted in immigration not being accepted. It is provided to help you in your information gathering process upon relocating to the Netherlands.)






Foreign countries often require "official" documents to be "authenticated"

before such documents will be accepted in the foreign jurisdiction. An

"authentication" is a governmental act by which a designated public official

certifies to the genuineness of the signature and seal and the position of the

official who has executed, issued, or certified a copy of a document.


In 1981, the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign

Public Documents entered into force in the United States. Under the

Convention, signatory countries (including the United States) agreed to

mutually recognize each other's "public documents" so long as such documents

are authenticated by an apostille, a form of internationally recognized

notarization. The apostille ensures that public documents issued in one

signatory country will be recognized as valid in another signatory country.


The apostille, which is a French term for "certification", is issued by a

designated government official of the country (or sub-national government

unit) that issued the document to be authenticated. The sole function of the

apostille is to certify the authenticity of the signature on the document in

question; the capacity in which the person signing the document acted; and the

identity of any stamp or seal affixed to the document. The apostille either

must be attached as an annex to the official document or placed on the

document itself by means of a stamp. The form of the apostille is prescribed

in the Convention and is mandatory. (A copy of the form is reproduced on the



For the purposes of the Convention, "public documents" that may be

authenticated by an apostille include documents issued by judicial

authorities, including those emanating from public prosecutors, court clerks,

and process servers; administrative documents; and official certificates

affixed to documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as

official certificates recording the registration of a document, notarial

authentications of signatures, etc. Documents executed by diplomatic or

consular agents, or administrative documents relating to commercial or customs

operations, may not be authenticated by an apostille.


Authorities in the United States that are competent to issue apostilles

include the Authentication Office of the U.S. Department of State; clerks of

U.S. federal courts; and secretaries of state for most U.S. states (for

Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah, the office of the Lieutenant Governor). Diplomatic

and consular officials at U.S. embassies, consulates, or missions may issue

apostilles in certain circumstances when requested by a foreign governmental







(Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961)


1. Country : _____________________________________________


This public document


2. has been signed by _____________________________________


3. acting in the capacity of _________________________________


4. bears the seal/stamp of __________________________________




5. at ___________________________ 6. the __________________


7. by ____________________________________________________


8. No. ___________________________________________________


9. Seal/Stamp:


10. Signature:




For additional information, contact the Authentication Office of the U.S.

Department of State (202/647-5002), the clerk of the nearest U.S. federal

court, or the office of the secretary of state in your state capital.



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