International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Greece

Greece
Hellenic Republic
Exercise normal precautions in Greece.

Exercise normal precautions in Greece.  

Read the Safety and Security section on the Country Information page

If you decide to travel to Greece:

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Hague Convention Participation

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

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 Athens

91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue
10160 Athens, Greece
Telephone:
+(30)(210) 721-2951
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 729-4444 or +30 210 729-4301
Fax: +(30)(210) 724-5313
athensamericancitizenservices@state.gov Facebook

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki
Plateia Commercial Center
43 Tsimiski Street, 7th floor
546 23 Thessaloniki
Greece
Telephone:
+30-231-024-2905
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 729-4444 or +30 210 729-4301
Fax: +30 231-024-2927


U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki provides weekly notarial service. U.S. Embassy Athens provides all other regular consular services including U.S. passports, notarials, and reports of birth and death abroad. 

Periodically, Embassy Athens’ consular staff provide regular consular services in Thessaloniki. Please check the U.S. Embassy in Athens’ website for information on the next scheduled visit.

General Information

Greece 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, 1993.

For information concerning travel to Greece, 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 Greece.

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 Greece.  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
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website

The Greek Central Authority (GCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice.  The Ministry of Justice has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applicationsThe Ministry of Justice forwards completed Hague applications to the Legal Council of the State, which in turn will assign the case to a legal representative.  Parents or legal guardians and other parties (e.g., the child) have the right to their own legal counsel.  The GCA can be reached at:

The Greek Central Authority
Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights
96 Mesogeion Avenue
11527 Athens
Greece
Telephone: 011 [30] (210) 776-7312
Fax: 011 [30] (210) 776-7499

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Greece, 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 contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the GCA.  It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into Greek.  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 GCA, 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 Greece 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, Greece.  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 Greece.  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, left-behind parents may qualify for a public prosecutor, at no charge, if the left-behind parent meets certain financial requirements.  Left-behind parents who do not meet these financial requirements are responsible for retaining their own attorney in Greece at their own expense.  When working with a public prosecutor, it is important to note that this individual does not represent the left-behind parent or legal guardian who submitted the Hague Abduction Convention application; instead, the legal representative represents Greece and submits the request for return on behalf of the Greek Minister of Justice.  A privately hired attorney should contact the GCA as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the Greek Central Authority.

The U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, 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

Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases. Although the GCA does not provide mediation services directly, there are registered attorneys who act as mediators and offer mediation services in every Greek Bar Association.

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 13, 2018

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Athens
91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue
10160 Athens, Greece
Telephone
+(30)(210) 721-2951
Emergency
+(30)(210) 729-4444
Fax
+(30)(210) 724-5313

Greece Map