SerbiaOfficial Name: Republic of Serbia
Embassies and Consulates
Bulevar kneza Aleksandra Karadordevica 92
Emergency Telephone: +381-11-706-4000
Serbia 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 December 1, 1991.
For information concerning travel to Serbia, 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 Serbia.
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 Serbia. 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
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Serbian Central Authority (SCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is located in the Ministry of Justice. The SCA has an administrative role in processing Hague applications. The Ministry of Justice forwards completed Hague applications to the competent civil court in the jurisdiction where the child resides. The SCA can be reached at:
Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia
International Legal Assistance Department
St. Nemanjina 22-26
Belgrade, Republic of Serbia
Tel.: +381 (11) 3622 356
Fax: +381 (11) 3622 356
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Serbia, the USCA encourages a parent or legal guardian to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the SCA. It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into Serbian. Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the SCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or Serbian central authorities. Attorney fees are the responsibility of the applicant parent. 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, Serbia. 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 Serbia. 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
The SCA requires parents or legal guardians to retain a private attorney in order to file a Hague Abduction Convention application with the court. If the parents or legal guardians do not qualify for legal aid from the state, they would be responsible for all attorney fees.
A parent who hires private counsel should notify both the Serbian and U.S. central authorities.
The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, posts a 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 persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
The Serbian federal government is extremely supportive of mediation programs to resolve international parental 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 SCA and the judge hearing the Hague case work together to identify cases that are potentially suitable for mediated resolutions and make recommendations accordingly. Participation in mediation is voluntary.
Do not attempt to take back your child
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.