The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty between many nations, including the United States, that helps to secure the quick return of a child who has been internationally abducted. This can help you locate your children and seek their return.
Legal documents (often called custody orders) state who the legal and physical custodial parent is. Sometimes these custody orders are in a decree of divorce. Sometimes, if the parents never married, then there may not be any legal document regarding child custody. The purposes of the Convention are the protection of children from the harm of international abduction by a parent. It encourages the prompt return of the child to their
country of habitual residence, and it organizes and secures effective rights of access to the child. The general idea behind the Convention is that custody and visitation matters should be decided by the proper court in the country in which the child habitually resides.
If a child is missing, first contact your local police department, file a missing person report, and request entry of the report into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Always keep a copy of birth certificates and a recent photo of each child. The State Department can provide detailed information about the country where the child was abducted. This can include information about its legal system, family laws, and attorneys willing to accept American clients.
The State Department can also:
• be a point of contact to parents in need
• monitor court or other legal proceedings
• assist parents in contacting local officials in
A new toll-free number from the U.S. State Department can give you information you need on international parental child abduction.
Agents are available at 1-202-485-6205 to assist you from 7:15 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Call toll-free 1-888- 407-4747 outside office hours; citizens abroad may call 1-202- 501-4444 outside office hours.
Filing under the Hague Convention does not guarantee your child will be returned. To obtain return of your child through a Hague proceeding, you must demonstrate:
Parents can also have their child listed in a federal passport look- out database in case a passport is applied for in the child's name.
For more information, visit travel.state.gov and search for“preventing international parental child abduction.”
Under the Convention, a court may deny the return of an abducted child if one of the following apply: