SwedenOfficial Name: Kingdom of Sweden
Embassies and Consulates
Dag Hammarskjölds Väg 31,
SE-115 89 Stockholm, Sweden
Telephone: (46) (8) 783-5300
Emergency Telephone: (46) (8) 783-5300
Fax: (46) (8) 783-5480
Sweden 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 June 1, 1989.
For information concerning travel to Sweden, 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 Sweden.
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 Sweden. 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
Office of Children’s Issues
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Swedish Central Authority (SCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The SCA performs an administrative role in processing Hague applications. The SCA receives and reviews the Hague application package to make sure it is complete. It confirms receipt of the application by a faxed letter to the U.S. Central Authority and, if necessary, requests any additional information or documentation. If the left-behind parent or legal guardian asks the SCA for a negotiated voluntary return, the SCA will contact the taking parent to inform him/her of the application, describe the procedure under the Convention, and ask if he/she wants to reach a voluntary agreement to avoid litigation.
If the location of the taking parent and child is unknown, the SCA will search for the child by any appropriate means, depending on individual case circumstances. In this respect, the SCA may contact other Swedish authorities, such as tax authorities, the Swedish Migration Authority, law enforcement agencies, social welfare agencies and/or schools where the taking parent and child might be located.
The SCA can be reached at:
Department for Consular Affairs and Civil Law
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Sweden, the applicant should submit the Hague application package by courier to: Office of Children's Issues, SA-29, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20520-2818. The Office of Children's Issues will forward the case to the SCA, which will appoint an attorney to file legal proceedings at the Stockholm District Court, which is the initial court to hold proceedings for Hague cases in Sweden. A professional judge and three lay judges adjudicate Hague cases at this level.
The Stockholm District Court then sets a date for hearing and orders the parties to present any written evidence to the court within a very limited period of time. The court will also request the presence of the taken-parent at the hearing. 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 United States or Swedish central authorities. Additional costs, which are the responsibility of the applicant, 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, Sweden. 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 Sweden. 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
If the parents do not agree to a voluntary return, the left-behind parent will need to retain a Swedish attorney. The SCA can suggest attorneys that would be willing to represent the applicant. Once an attorney has been retained, the SCA will forward the application to the applicant's attorney or directly to the Stockholm City Court. The Swedish government provides Legal Aid for individuals involved in Swedish custody proceedings and in Hague cases, depending on the level of income, regardless of nationality.
The U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden 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 District Court handles issues concerning custody of children, residence of children, and a parent’s right of access to a child. Before the court reviews these issues, parents may use mediation with an expert from the municipal social welfare committee, with the aim of reaching an agreement by consensus. Municipalities are legally liable to offer family counseling in Sweden. Contact with the Family Advice Service is voluntary, and families will have to take the initiative by contacting them. Anyone who wishes can contact the Family Advice Service anonymously.
There are also several law firms in Sweden that focus on mediation in custody disputes.
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.