International Parental Child Abduction

English

Country Information

France

France
French Republic
Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism.

Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in France. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

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

If you decide to travel to France:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and large crowded public venues.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to any ongoing police action.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • 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 Report for France.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
... [READ MORE]

Hague Convention Participation

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

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Paris

2 Avenue Gabriel
75008 Paris
France
Telephone:
+(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22, enter zero “0” after the automated greeting
Fax: +(33)(1) 42-66-97-83; +(33)(1) 42-61-61-40 (Special Consular Services)

Only the consular sections in Paris and Marseille are authorized to issue passports. The other offices provide limited services to U.S. citizens.

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Marseille
Place Varian Fry
13286 Marseille Cedex 6
France
Telephone:
+(33)(1) 43-12-47-54
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Fax: +(33)(4) 91-55-56-95

U.S. Consulate General Strasbourg
15, Avenue d'Alsace
67082 Strasbourg Cedex
France
Telephone:
+(33)(1) 43-12-48-80
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Fax: (33)(3) 88-24-06-95

When calling from within France, drop the country code and add a zero. For example: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22 becomes 01-43-12-22-22.

Please note that the emergency after-hours telephone number for all U.S. posts in France is: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22. Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance after business hours.

General Information

France 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 July 1, 1988.

For information concerning travel to France, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements for U.S. citizens, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for France.

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 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 France.  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:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221

Website: travel.state.gov

The French Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés.  The Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés forwards completed Hague applications to the appropriate Public Prosecutor attached to the civil court of general jurisdiction in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides.  The Prosecutor brings the case on behalf of France.  Parents or legal guardians and other parties (e.g., the child) have the right to their own counsel.  The French Central Authority can be reached at:

Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés
Direction des Affaires Civiles et du Sceau
13, Place Vendôme
75042 PARIS Cedex 01
France
Telephone: +33 (1) 4477 6105 / 6380
Fax: +33 (1) 4477 6122
E-mail : entraide-civile-internationale@justice.gouv.fr
Website

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in France, a parent or legal guardian is encouraged to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at 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.  It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into French.  Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.  Any competent person or organization may translate the documents.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés, 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 the French Central Authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, 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.

Return

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, France.  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.

Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in France.  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

In a Hague Abduction Convention case, the French Central Authority will assign a Public Prosecutor to present the case to the court, and it is not mandatory for a petitioner to retain a private attorney. The Public Prosecutor, however, does not represent the left-behind parent who submitted the Hague Abduction Convention application; the Prosecutor represents the French Republic and submits the request for return on behalf of the French Central Authority. The parent or legal guardian who has submitted the application may hire a private attorney in France to join the Prosecutor in presenting the Hague Abduction Convention case. A privately hired attorney should contact the French Central Authority as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the French Central Authority. The privately hired attorney should continue to keep both the U.S. and the French Central Authority apprised of any further actions taken in the case.

The U.S. Embassy in Paris, France, 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

The French Central Authority promotes mediation in abduction cases and will attempt to initiate mediation in most Hague Abduction Convention cases.

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: August 14, 2017

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Paris
2 Avenue Gabriel
75008 Paris
France
Telephone
+(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Emergency
+(33)(1) 43-12-22-22, enter zero "0" after the automated greeting
Fax
+(33)(1) 42-66-97-83: +(33)(1)42-61-61-40 (Special Consular Services)

France Map