I am in the process of moving to the Netherlands (I am an EU citizen, my wife is South African) from South Africa. We will then apply for a residence permit for my wife once we arrive in the Netherlands and we need to provide documentation, such as a marriage and birth certificate.

I emailed Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the process, who replied "South African documents such as birth certificates or marriage certificates do indeed need an apostille. You will need to apostille original documents or extracts. Apostilled photocopies are not accepted. Please note that some authorities in the Netherlands may request recent extracts of documents."

I was told that the Dutch government may require "recent extracts" of documents. I can't find any further information on how recent the extracts needs to be.

The IND website states that documents like these from South Africa needs an apostille, but not how recent the extract should be.

Can anyone shed light on this requirement?

  • Who told you about the "recent extracts" requirement?
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 9:37
  • Question has been updated to include the additional information
    – Will777
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 11:22
  • Was that the South African MFA or the Dutch?
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 11:46
  • Dutch MFA, query emailed via the Dutch embassy in South Africa
    – Will777
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 12:18
  • Did you ask them to clarify "recent"?
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 12:21

1 Answer 1


According to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, or IND), a divorce decree must not be older than six months, but other documents will be accepted regardless of their age.

There is a page in English concerning this. The translation from the Dutch original is somewhat poor, so I have edited it a bit for clarity. Changes are in italics; this is a partial excerpt:

Document validity and legalisation

A divorce decree is accepted by the IND only if it is not older than 6 months.

For most other documents the validity and date of the legalisation are not relevant to the IND. These are documents of which the details are so final that the date of issue is less relevant. For example:

  • Birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • death certificate
  • divorce certificate

The IND accepts these documents even if these have been legalised some years ago, provided the legalisation was done by a Dutch authority at the time.

It is of no use to have already-legalized documents legalised again. If a Dutch authority requests a recent and legalised document, you must request the document again and have that document legalised.

  • I received more feedback from the MFA - but it hasn't clarified the issue. I am told that "It is a bit dependant on the organisation or institution that is going to use your document how old those documents should be", and "For passport renewals it is usually 1 year. This applies to both marriage certificates and birth certificates"
    – Will777
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 3:50
  • Phoog, you state "provided the legalisation was done by a Dutch authority at the time" - does that mean a foreign birth certificate may be legalised in the Netherlands (with legalisation I take it you mean apostille)
    – Will777
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 3:51

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