Legalization Explained


The Apostille is an authentication stamp that is used to validate official US documents for use in Belgium. This Apostille stamp is issued by the Secretary of State where there document was issued. Most Secretary of State offices provide a form for you to fill out on their websites or in their offices. You can then usually take this form to the office in person or send it in with a self addressed envelope and payment (usually around $10 per document). This process is slightly different for every state, but my request took about 2 weeks total.


A notarized document is one that has been certified by a Notary Public. The main function is to certify that the person signing a document has been property identified. The Notary Public essentially acts as a witness to the signature. You often can find a Notary Public at your local bank, post office, or library. Make sure you ask if there is a fee becuase some do not charge. Also everyone signing the document must be present for the signing with a valid photo ID.


If you present documents in a language other than French or Dutch, you may need to provide a certfied translation, which is a translation that has been certified as having been done by a sworn translator, who is a translator who is registered with a court in Belgium. This can be rather costly, but we had no problems with our English documents at the Brussels central commune. Read more about how to translate documents.


  1. #1 by abhishek on April 16, 2013 - 3:54 pm

    hi can i am over 18+ years,can i apply for the visa in belgium for staying because my all family members are in belgium ?

    • #2 by Belgium Cohabitant on April 16, 2013 - 11:47 pm

      The Cohabitation Visa is typically meant for couples, but you may be able to apply for a visa based on family reunification with a family member who has legal permission to live in Belgium.

  2. #3 by jude on March 19, 2013 - 2:25 pm

    hi.I want to apply for cohabitation in Brussels with my gf who have Nederlands Nationality.My lawayer only told me to get a certificate of bachelorhood from my embassy and it has to be legalise and my international passport and my advocaat never told me to get my birth certificate because I don’t have one.hope the commune will accept only the certificate of bachelorhood and my international passport as the only means of my identifiaction.plz I need your advice on this.thanks.

    • #4 by Belgium Cohabitant on March 20, 2013 - 6:37 am

      I guess the only thing that you can do is to try to apply without your birth certificate and see what happens. The requirements are slightly different for every country, so if your lawyer said that that’s all you need then you should be Ok.

  3. #5 by balachander on October 4, 2012 - 7:01 am

    can a birth certificate of 2007 be apostilled now in 2012 and will the same be accepted for a VISA

    • #6 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 4, 2012 - 5:47 pm

      I believe that the birth certificate can be from any year, but the apostille must be from the last 6 months.

Note:only comments about the COHABITATION VISA (not marriage) will be approved!
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