International Parental Child Abduction


Country Information


Federative Republic of Brazil
Exercise increased caution in Brazil due to crime.

Exercise increased caution in Brazil due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • Any areas within 150 km of Brazil’s land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay due to crime.
  • “Favela” neighborhoods due to crime.
  • Brasilia’s “satellite cities” of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa during non-daylight hours due to crime.
  • Recife’s Pina Beach from Dona Benvinda de Farias Street to the Brasilia Teimosa neighborhood after dark due to crime.

Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, and carjacking, is common in urban areas, day and night. Gang activity and organized crime is widespread. 

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Brazil:

  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially when traveling to tourist locations and in crowded public venues.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Avoid using an ATM in low-light or remote locations. Never let someone “shoulder surf” or assist you.
  • Use caution at or going to major transportation centers or on public transportation, especially at night.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Brazil.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

International Borders

U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to areas within 150 km of the international land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay without advance approval from security officials due to crime. Travel to the Foz do Iguaçu National Park and Pantanal National Park is permitted.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.


Do not travel to favela areas where local and military police do not operate, even on a guided tour. Neither the tour companies nor the police can guarantee your safety when entering favelas. Exercise caution in areas surrounding favelas, as occasionally, inter-gang fighting and confrontations with police move beyond the confines of the favelas. Except under limited circumstances and with advance approval, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to all favelas in Sao Paulo, all favelas/vilas in Porto Alegre, all unpacified favelas in Recife, the Aglomerado da Serra favela in Belo Horizonte, and all favelas in Rio de Janeiro.

Read the Safety and Security Section on the country information page for further information regarding favelas.

Visit our website for Travel High-Risk Areas.

Brasilia’s Satellite Cities

Without advance approval from security officials, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to Brasilia’s “satellite cities” of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. (non-daylight hours) due to crime.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Recife’s Pina Beach

U.S. government personnel are prohibited from walking after dark on Pina Beach, located in the northern part of Boa Viagem due to crime. This restriction covers the sandy areas of Pina Beach starting at Dona Benvinda de Farias Street and ending at Brasilia Teimosa neighborhood.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.


Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Brasilia
SES 801- Avenida das Nacoes, Lote 03
70403-900 - Brasilia, DF Brazil
Telephone: 011-55-61-3312-7000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-55-61-3312-7400
Fax: (61) 3312-7651

Consular Agency in Brasilia’s Consular District
Manaus Consular Agency
Edificio Atrium, Suite 306
Rua Franco de Sá, 310
69.079-210 Manaus, AM Brazil
Telephone: 011-55-92-3611-3333

U.S. Consulate Porto Alegre
Avenida Assis Brasil, 1889
Passo d' Areia
91010-004 - Porto Alegre, RS Brazil
Telephone: 011-55-51-3345-6000

U.S. Consulate General Recife
Rua Goncalves Maia, 163, Boa Vista
50070-125 - Recife, PE Brazil
Telephone: 011-55-81-3416-3050 or 011-55-81-3416-3080
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-55-81-3416-3060 or 011-55-81-9916-9470
Fax: 011-55-81-3231-1906

Consular Agency in Recife’s Consular District
U.S. Consular Agency Fortaleza
Avenida Santos Dumont 2828, Aldeota, Suite 708
60150-161- Fortaleza, CE Brazil
Telephone: 011-55-85-3021-5200
Fax: 011-55-85-3021-3888

U.S. Consulate General Rio de Janeiro
Avenida Presidente Wilson, 147, Castelo
20030-020, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil
Telephone: 011-55-213823-2000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-55-21-3823-2029
Fax: 011-55-21-3823-2093

Consular Agency in Rio de Janeiro’s Consular District
U.S. Consular Agency Salvador da Bahia
Avenida Tancredo Neves, 1632, Caminho das Arvores
Salvador Trade Center-Torre Sul, Room 1401
41820-020 - Salvador, Bahia Brazil
Telephone: 011-55-71-3113-2090/2091/2092
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro: (21) 3823-2029
Fax: 011-55-71-3113-2092

U.S. Consulate General Sao Paulo
Rua Henri Dunant, 500 Chacara Santo Antonio
04709-110 - Sao Paulo, SP Brazil
Telephone: 011-55-11-3250-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-55-11-3250-5373
Fax: 011-55-11-3250-5159

General Information

Brazil 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, 2003.

For information concerning travel to Brazil, including information about the location of the U.S. Consulate General, 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 Brazil.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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 Citizen 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 Brazil.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State 
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
SA-17, 9th Floor 
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444

The Brazilian Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Secretaria de Estado dos Direitos Humanos (SEDH).  SEDH's role is to perform the duties given to central authorities under the Hague Abduction Convention, including processing Hague Abduction Convention applications for return of and access to children.

 They can be reached at:

Secretaria de Estado dos Direitos Humanos
Setor Comercial Sul - B, Quadra 9, Lote C
Edificio Parque Cidade Corporate
Torre "A", 10º andar
70308-200, BRASILIA-DF
Telephone/Fax:  +55-61-2025-3481 and +55-61-2025-3975

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Brazil, the left-behind parent may submit a Hague application to the BCA.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the BCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.  Petitioning parents may also initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to a child in Brazil by retaining a private Brazilian attorney and directly filing a Hague case before a federal court.  However, if a Hague case is directly filed before a federal court, the BCA will not monitor the progress of the case and will have no authority to assist in any manner.

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Brazil.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the sole responsibility of the person hiring the attorney.  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 Brazil.  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 Brazil.  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

Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to file Hague Abduction Convention applications with courts in Brazil. However, parents should consider hiring a private attorney to follow up on cases, directly provide information to courts, and generally advise courses of action appropriate for their individual circumstances. A privately-hired attorney should contact the BCA as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed. If a parent does not hire a private attorney, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will act as the legal representative of the state of Brazil on behalf of Hague applications, because Brazilian law considers Hague abduction cases to be public cases. Therefore, it is important to note that the OAG does not represent the interests of either party. The OAG will file cases with a federal court. 

The Brazilian Bar Association and the Brazil's Defensoria Publica Da Uniao (Public Defender's Office) offer free legal assistance for any type of legal proceeding to those who demonstrate financial need. For additional information, please contact the Brazilian Bar Association, Sao Paulo Section, Legal Assistance Committee at:

The U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil 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 following persons or firms.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.


In Hague Abduction Convention cases, the BCA always promotes mediation between parents before sending the case to the courts.  Voluntary agreements are also strongly encouraged by the courts. Upon receiving a case, judges schedule a formal conciliation hearing to determine if parties can reach an a agreement which would then be formalized by the court. If a voluntary agreement is not reached, the court will then conduct further hearings and rule on the merits of the application. There are no NGOs or non-profit organizations that mediate between parents in abduction cases in Brazil.



Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

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. 


Last Updated: June 26, 2018

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Brasilia
SES 801 - Avenida das Nacoes
Lote 3
70403-900 - Brasília, DF Brazil

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