Questions and answers about the legalisation of documents

 

  1. How can Belgian documents be legalised for use abroad?
  2. How can foreign documents be legalised for use in Belgium?
  3. How can foreign documents be legalised for use abroad?
  4. Does the document to be legalised have to be drawn up in French, Dutch or German?
  5. What if it cannot be legalised?
  6. Can I have my legalised foreign certificate transferred to Belgium?

 

1. How can Belgian documents be legalised for use abroad?

Legalisation, apostille or exemption?

Whether you need a legalisation or apostille depends on the country where you wish to use the document, and the type of document concerned. in certain cases, the document will not require legalisation or an apostille.

A country may have signed up to a legalisation treaty that encompasses agreements about how countries accept one another's official documents.

If a country has signed up to the "Apostille Convention", only 1 legalisation is required in the form of an apostille stamp.

To which countries does the legalisation, apostille or exemption from legalisation and apostille apply?

You can find out for yourself using the Search criteria.


Where can you go to obtain legalisation or an apostille?

To the Legalisation Division of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs.

For some documents, other bodies at a local, regional or federal level must first complete a legalisation process.

Has your document been legalised by the Legalisation Division of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs? The embassy or consulate in the country where you wish to use the document, carries out the final legalisation. Addresses of foreign embassies and (honorary) consulates in Belgium.

If the country where you wish to use the document has signed up to the Apostille Convention, the Legalisation Division of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs will apply the apostille stamp. Once the apostille stamp has been applied, you can use your document in the destination country.


Present the original document at the desk of the Legalisation Division.

Address: Karmelietenstraat / Rue des Petits Carmes 27, 1000 Brussels
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 12.00.


Do you have to bring the document yourself? Do you have to provide proof of ID?

Anyone can bring your document.
Proof of ID is not required.


Is the legalisation process carried out immediately?

Yes, as long as the applicant does not provide more than 10 documents. If you wish to hand over more than 10 documents to the desk for legalisation:

  • you must leave the documents at the desk;
  • you will be able to collect them at a later date;
  • you pay when you collect the documents.


You can also send the original documents to the Legalisation Division by post.

Address for correspondence:
Federale Overheidsdienst Buitenlandse Zaken
Dienst C3.5 - Legalisaties
Karmelietenstraat / Rue des Petits Carmes 15
1000 Brussels


In order to ensure the process runs smoothly, please complete  this form (DOC, 65.5 KB) and send it with the original document(s).

Waiting time: at least 10 working days.
We will send your legalised documents back by registered post.


What does legalisation or an apostille cost?

20 euros per document.


How do I pay for the legalisation or apostille?

When you leave your documents with or hand them over to the Legalisation Division:
NO CASH

  • with Bancontact/Maestro
  • with Visa/Mastercard
  • with proof of payment via B-Post

If you send the documents by post to the Legalisation Division:
WITH A BANK TRANSFER to

FOD Buitenlandse Zaken – Legalisatie C3.5
Number: 100-0086141-39
IBAN: BE13100008614139
BIC: NBBEBEBB203
Code Swift : NBBE BE BB 203

Please state: C3.5 - Legalisation + person concerned + destination country

National bank of Belgium, Bd. De Berlaimont 14, 1000 Brussels


Will the Legalisation Division translate the documents?

No. Documents that need translating must be given to a sworn translator. The signature of the sworn translator will be legalised by the Chairman of the Court of First Instance to which the translator is affiliated. Then, the signature of the Chairman of the court will be legalised by the Federal Public Service Justice: Waterloolaan 115, 1000 Brussels; e-mail: legal@just.fgov.be (legalisation of documents by FPS Justice). Only then can you offer the original document to our Legalisation Division in order to obtain an apostille or to have it legalised.

 
Does the Legalisation Division legalise qualifications that have been issued in Belgium?

Yes, if they have been legalised previously by one of the communities to which the educational establishment is affiliated:

Flemish Community:

Hendrik Consciencegebouw 1 B 01
Koning Albert II-laan 15
1210 Brussels
tel.: 0491/99.68.42

The Flemish Community will legalise the qualifications of all Flemish educational establishments.

Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (French Community):

the municipalities legalise qualifications from primary and secondary education within the free, municipal and provincial educational network.

the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles legalises qualifications from universities, high-schools and state secondary schools.

For qualifications that are issued by institutions for primary and secondary education set up by Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles:

Service général de l'Enseignement Organisé par la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
City Center 1 Boulevard du Jardin Botanique, 20-20 (1st floor)
1000 Bruxelles
Tel.: 02 690 81 51
Fax: 02 690 80 35
E-mail: legalisation.oblig@cfwb.be

For qualifications that are issued by institutions for additional education set up by Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles:

Direction générale de l'enseignement non-obligatoire et de la Recherche scientifique
Rue Adolphe Lavallée, 1
1080 Bruxelles
Tel.: 02 690 87 19
Fax: 02 690 87 32
E-mail: legalisation@eps.cfwb.be

For qualifications that are issued by institutions for higher education set up or subsidised by Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles:

Direction générale de l'enseignement non-obligatoire et de la Recherche scientifique
Rue Adolphe Lavallée, 1
1080 Bruxelles
Tel.: 02 690 88 29
Fax: 02 690 88 40
E-mail: legalisation.sup@cfwb

Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft (German-speaking Community)

Gospertstrasse 1-5
4700 Eupen
tel.: 087/596364


Does the Legalisation Division legalise copies of passports or ID cards?

No.

With respect to a Belgian travel or identity document, the government that issued it can draw up a certificate that repeats the primary details from the relevant document. This certificate can be legalised if necessary.

If this concerns a foreign travel or identity document, please go to the embassy for the relevant country. The certified statement of this document can then be legalised by the Legalisation Division of the FPS Foreign Affairs.


2. How can foreign documents be legalised for use in Belgium?

Legalisation, apostille or exemption?

Whether you need legalisation or an apostille depends on the country that issued the document, and the type of document concerned. in certain cases, the document will not require legalisation or an apostille.

A country may have signed up to a legalisation treaty that encompasses agreements about how countries accept one another's official documents.

If a country has signed up to the "Apostille Convention", only 1 legalisation is required in the form of an apostille stamp.

To which countries does the legalisation, apostille or exemption from legalisation and apostille apply? You can find out for yourself via the Search criteria.


Where can you go to apply for legalisation or an apostille?

Foreign documents must be legalised in their country of origin. If you have already obtained legalisation from the document's country of origin, you must also have the document legalised by Belgium's competent consular post for that country.

A foreign document that has been legalised by a Belgian consular post by means of a sticker and a control number of at least 16 figures, is immediately valid and can be used right away in Belgium.

If the country from which the document originates has signed up to the Apostille Convention, the competent foreign authority will apply the apostille stamp. Once the apostille stamp has been applied, you can use your document in Belgium.

A summary of all competent authorities per country (in English) that can provide an apostille stamp can be found here.

 
No check on content!

The legalisation process does not guarantee that your foreign document will be accepted in Belgium. The body that has requested your document can still investigate whether its details are accurate. This body could, for example, ask you to provide additional documents or verify your legalised documents in their country of origin.


Do notarial deeds, drawn up by a Belgian consular post abroad, have to be legalised by the FPS Foreign Affairs' Legalisation Division in order to be used in Belgium?

No.


3. How can foreign documents be legalised for use abroad?

You must consult the competent authorities in the country where the document is to be used.


4. Does the document to be legalised have to be written in French, Dutch or German?

No.

The document must be signed by a registrar and drawn up in one of the following languages: French, Dutch, German, English, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese.

If the document is drawn up in another language, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation.

NB: the documents that are drawn up in another language that are destined for use in Belgium must be translated into one of our country's languages.

The original document and the translation thereof will be legalised separately.


5. What if it cannot be legalised?

Documents from some countries cannot be legalised in the country from which they originate (countries that are afflicted by war or chaos or where there is no central government).

An exceptional rule may apply to these when it comes to legalisation.

For more information, please consult the Legalisation Division of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs.


6. Can I have my legalised foreign certificate transferred to Belgium?

If you are Belgian, you can have a foreign registration document (birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate) transferred to Belgium after legalisation.

These certificates can be transferred to the Belgian civil status register held by your current municipality or the first municipality in which you lived when you first returned.

If you do not have a residence or accommodation in Belgium, you can have the certificate transferred to the civil status register in your last place of residence in Belgium or the place of residence of your blood relatives (line of ascent, e.g. parents/grandparents), or to the register in the municipality where you were born or, in the last instance, in the city of Brussels.

You can always request copies of or excerpts from the certificates from the registrar in the municipality to which the certificate was transferred. You do not need to request the certificate from the foreign country and have it legalised again.