South Africa and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Convention (Hague Abduction Convention) since November 1, 1997.
For information concerning travel to South Africa including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart
Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information,
traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for South Africa.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in South Africa, the left-behind parent or legal guardian must submit a Hague application and the original or certified supporting documents to the SACA. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the South African Central Authority, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or the South African Central Authority. Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Additional costs are the responsibility of the applicant parent, and may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered. Back to Top
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, South Africa. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application
A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in South Africa. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Retaining an Attorney:
It is not necessary for a left-behind parent to retain a private attorney for Hague Abduction Convention proceedings. The Family Advocate will present an application on behalf of the left-behind parent to the South African court for the child’s return; the Advocate represents the petition, not the petitioner. A parent has the option of hiring a private attorney instead of using an appointed Family Advocate. The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa posts list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
Mediation through the Office of the Family Advocate is available to families with a divorce case pending in the South African court system.
The U.S. Embassy in South Africa can be contacted at:
U.S. Embassy South Africa
PO Box 9536, Pretoria 0001
The Embassy of South Africa is located in Washington, D.C., at:
Embassy of South Africa
4301 Connecticut Ave, NW
Van Ness Building, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: (202) 244-9417
Website: Embassy of South Africa in Washington, D.C.