Legalization and apostille

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Legalization of a certified translation

A certified translation is a translation which is accompanied by a signed declaration by a sworn translator. In many cases, this is enough... but not always.
 
Sometimes an official body in another country will require the sworn translator’s signature to be authenticated, either by means of an ‘apostille’ (a simplified legalization procedure) or by following the standard legalization procedure.

In either case, this requires the translation to be presented to a District Court.
 

By legalizing the sworn translator’s signature, the District Court confirms that the translator is authorized to produce certified translations for official purposes. The organization for which the certified translation is intended will be able to tell you whether legalization is required.
 
So a certified translation is not automatically a legalized translation. A legalized translation is a certified translation that has been authenticated by a District Court and, in the case of a standard legalization procedure, by additional authorities.

Legalization is therefore an extra step...

... a step we are happy to take on your behalf.


Suppose you need a certified translation of a notarial deed or some other official document, such as your company's articles of association, a certificate of succession, a divorce decree or an extract from the Commercial Register. It may also be necessary to have the certified translation legalized, which means taking it in person to a court. That takes time.
 
You can make life a lot easier for yourself! We will be happy to provide a certified translation which meets all requirements, and also arrange for its legalization or an apostille if needed. You won’t have to spend your valuable time queuing at the court building.

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Do you need an apostille or a standard legalization?


A translation can be legalized either by means of an apostille or by following the standard legalization procedure. Let us explain the difference.

Apostille


An apostille, also called apostille certificate or apostille stamp, is actually a simplified form of legalization. The court issues a statement to the effect that the person signing the document has done so in his or her official capacity, for example as a translator or notary. An apostille makes a certified translation suitable for use in another country.
 
An apostille issued in the Netherlands is recognized by all signatories to the 'Apostille Convention' (Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents). Many countries have joined the Convention since.
 
In principle, no further formalities are required in these ‘apostille countries’: the apostille is sufficient to certify the validity of the document. Apostilles can be issued in several languages other than Dutch, including English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
 
A current list ('status table') of all countries that accept apostille certification is available here (on the website of HCCH, the Hague Conference on Private International Law):

Apostille countries
 

Legalization


Countries that are not party to the Apostille Convention – and therefore do not recognize the apostille as sufficient legalization – require further legalization. Here, the legalization procedure is as follows:
 

  1. first, the District Court will authenticate the signature of the sworn translator (and of the notary, if required) by means of a ‘standard’ legalization;
  2. the signature of the court official must then be legalized by the Consular Service Centre (CDC) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague;
  3. and finally, the signature of the official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must be legalized by the consulate or embassy of the country in which the certified translation will be used.

More information (in English) about this procedure can be found on the Dutch government website www.netherlandsworldwide.nl.

This legalization procedure can be quite time-consuming. We will be happy to help you by taking care of the first step, legalization by the District Court.
 

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