How can foreign documents be legalised for use in Belgium?
Legalisation, apostille or exemption?
Whether you need a legalisation or apostille depends on the country where the document was issued and on the type of document. In some cases, neither a legalisation nor an apostille is required.
A country can be party to a legalisation treaty that contains agreements on how countries accept each other's official documents.
If a country is party to the “Apostille Convention”, only one legalisation is required in the form of an apostille stamp.
For which countries does the legalisation, apostille or exemption from legalisation and apostille apply? You can find this information via the 'Search criteria'.
Where can you apply for a legalisation or an apostille?
Foreign documents must be legalised in their country of origin. If you have already obtained legalisation from the country that issued the document, 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 bearing a control number of at least 12 figures, is immediately valid and can be used right away in Belgium.
If the country that issued the document is party 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 right away in Belgium.
A list of all competent authorities per country (in English) authorised to 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 document in the country that issued it.
Do notarial deeds, drawn up by a Belgian consular post abroad, have to be legalised by the Legalisation Service of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs in order to be used in Belgium?