AustriaOfficial Name: Republic of Austria
Embassies and Consulates
1090 Vienna, Austria
Telephone: 43- 1-31339-7535
Emergency Telephone: (+43 1) 313 39
Fax: 43-1-512 58 35
Austria and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since October 1, 1988.
For information concerning travel to Austria, 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 Austria.
Hague Abduction Convention
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Austria. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Austrian Central Authority (ACA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Bundesministerium fur Justiz, located in the Federal Ministry of Justice. The ACA has an administrative role in processing Hague applications. The Federal Ministry of Justice forwards completed Hague petitions to the appropriate Austrian court. A single judge in the local court (Bezirksgericht) holds a hearing and makes the initial Hague decision. The appeal of the first instance may be made to a panel of judges in the Regional court (Landesgericht). The second and final appeal maybe made to a panel of judges in the Supreme Court.
The Austria Central Authority can be reached at:
Austria Central Authority
Bundesministerium fur Justiz
Abteilung I 10
Telephone: +43 (1) 52152 2147 / Fax: +43 (1) 525152 2829
Website: Austrian Central Authority.
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Austria, the USCA encourages a parent or legal guardian to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at a the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the ACA. Austria took no reservations to the Convention under Article 24, translations of the documents are not required. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to ACA, 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 Austria central authorities. The Austrian courts will appoint an attorney to represent the applicant, and the Austrian government covers the legal expenses when filing a Hague petition in Austria. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
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, Austria. 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 Austria. 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 Austria-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Retaining an Attorney
The U.S. Embassy in Vienna, Austria, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law. A parent or guardian who hires private counsel should notify both the Austrian and the U.S. central authorities.
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 persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
The Austrian federal government is extremely supportive of mediation programs to resolve international parental child abduction cases. While courts cannot order cases into mediation, judges can and do strongly encourage mediated resolutions and can stay hearings to permit parties the time to mediate.
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Justice offers a list of officially recognized mediation organizations (in German). Fees are normally based on hourly rates, but a sliding scale or negotiated rate is sometimes available. The process involves two mediators: one with training in a psycho-social field (such as a social worker or therapist) and the other with legal training (such as an attorney or a judge). All recognized mediators have completed specialized training in addition to their professional qualifications.
We strongly discourage taking matters into your own hands. The measures could be illegal and may delay your child’s return. Attempts to re-abduct your child from the United States may:
- Endanger your child and others;
- Prejudice any future judicial efforts you might wish to make in the United States; and
- Could even result in your arrest and imprisonment.
Finally, there is no guarantee that the chain of abductions would end with the one committed by you. A parent who has re-abducted a child may have to go to extraordinary lengths to conceal his or her whereabouts, living in permanent fear that the child may be re-abducted yet again.
If you are contemplating such desperate measures, we advise you to consider the emotional trauma inflicted on a child who is a victim of an abduction and a re-abduction. We discourage re-abduction not only because it is illegal, but also because of possible psychological harm to the child.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.