Validation of required documentation

In general: documents that have been issued outside Belgium must be certified, authenticated with an Apostille, or legalised and they must be translated if they are not composed in English, Dutch, French or German.

Summary table

Documents issued outside Belgium must be...When?How?
CertifiedOnly for specific countries that concluded a convention with Belgium to simplify the authentication with an Apostille or legalisation.A good quality colour copy needs to be certified by a public notary. In case certification by a public notary is not allowed, it needs to be done by the municipality.
Authenticated with an ApostilleFor countries participating in the "The Hague Apostille Convention".By the empowered local foreign authority (see further).
LegalisedFor all other countries.Firstly by the empowered local foreign authority, and afterwards by the Belgian Embassy or Consulate (see further).

    1. Belgium has signed a convention with a number of (European) countries concerning the abolishing of the legalisation of documents in the member states of the European Communities:
      • Denmark (without the Faroe Islands and Greenland)
      • Estonia
      • France
      • Germany
      • Ireland
      • Italy
      • Latvia
      A good quality colour copy of the required documents certified by a public notary is sufficient for the countries listed above. If certification by a public notary is not allowed, it needs to be done by the municipality.

    2. Moreover, Belgium has signed bilateral agreements with a number of other (European) countries concerning the abolishing of the legalisation of documents of the civil status (like identity documents, proof of residence,...):
      • Luxemburg
      • The Netherlands
      • The United Kingdom
      • Switzerland

      A good quality colour copy of the identity document, proof of residence,... certified by a public notary is sufficient for the countries listed above.

      Please contact the registry helpdesk for the legalisation/certification of company statutes; there is nonetheless no uniform approach for these, the approach can vary from country to country!
    Certification: non-exhaustive list of countries

    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • France
    • Germany
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Latvia
    • Luxemburg*
    • Switzerland*
    • The Netherlands*
    • The United Kingdom*

    * Also see section 2 above

  • In case you submit a copy of a document issued in a country that signed the “The Hague Convention” (with exception of the countries mentioned in the section above), this document needs to be authenticated with an Apostille.

    The Apostille needs to be attached to the document by the empowered local authority of the country that issued the document. Please consult the website of the “The Hague Convention” to find the respective local authority per country: http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=41

    More information on the authentication with an Apostille can be found at: http://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/services/legalisation_of_documents/faq/

    Apostille: non-exhaustive list of countries
    • Israel
    • Spain
    • Ukraine
    • United States of America
  • In case you submit a copy of a document issued in a country that did not sign the “The Hague Convention”, this copy needs to be legalised in the country of; this legalisation than confirms the origin of the document. This is the certification by an official authority of the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the signer handled and, if applicable, the identity of the seal or the stamp on the document.

    This legalisation must be done at last by the Belgian Embassy or the Belgian Consulate in that country.

    This foreign document, legalised by a Belgian Embassy or a Belgian Consulate by a sticker provided with a check digit of at least 16 digits, is valid and can hence be used in Belgium.

    Legalisation: non-exhaustive list of countries
    • Egypt
    • People’s Republic of China
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Signapore
Only original criminal records will be accepted (no copies)!
In case you submit a document composed in another language than Dutch, French, German or English, it needs to be accompanied by a certified translation in one of the previously cited languages.

Some usefull links

Further information (FYI)

  • Consult the website of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs for more information on the legalisation of Belgian documents: http://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/services/legalisation_of_documents/faq/.

  • In Belgium the certified translation needs to be done by a sworn translator. The signature of the sworn translator needs to be legalised afterwards by the President of the Court of First Instance the translator is associated with.

    The signature of the President of the court should than be legalised by the Federal Public Service of Justice. Only afterwards the translation and the original document can be handed over to the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs in order to be authenticated with an Apostille or to be legalised.