Czech Republic 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 March 1, 1998.
For information concerning travel to Czech Republic, 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 Czech Republic.
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.
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 Czech Republic. 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
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Czech Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Office for International Legal Protection of Children. The Office for International Legal Protection of Children discharges the obligations of a central authority under the Hague Abduction Convention, including reviewing Hague applications for completeness, initiating location efforts for missing children, and approaching taking parties about whether or not abduction situations may be resolved voluntarily. The Czech Central Authority (CCA) can be reached at:
Úrad pro mezinárodni právní ochranu detí
(Office for International Legal Protection of Children)
Silingrovo namestí 3/4
Telephone: +420 (5) 4221 5522
Fax: +420 (5) 4221 2836
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Czech Republic, 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 foreign Central Authority. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the CCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into Czech prior to court proceedings commencing. Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary. Any competent person or organization may translate the documents.
There are not fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or Czech central authorities. Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent or legal guardian. The Czech court does not automatically provide free or reduced fee legal representation for applicant parents or legal guardians; however, parents or legal guardians may apply for financial assistance based on their income and assets. 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, Czech Republic. 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 Czech Republic. 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.
The Czech system does not require parents to retain a private attorney in order to file a Hague Abduction Convention application with a court; however, the CCA recommends that parents have legal representation. Parents may hire a private attorney to assist them with their case and to advise them as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances. A privately hired attorney should contact the CCA and the USCA as soon as possible after the CCA receives the Hague Abduction Convention application. The CCA can provide referrals to assist applicants to find a private attorney or the applicants may represent themselves. The CCA’s role is not to assign attorneys to cases but to facilitate the Hague process until such time as an attorney submits the Hague petition to the Czech court.
The U.S. Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, 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.
Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases. The CCA offers mediation services directly, in English, at no cost to parents. The CCA also provides referrals to private and non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services. Mediation in Czech Republic is voluntary and can occur at any stage of the Hague process.
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:
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.