The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) has applied between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the United States since September 1, 1997.
For information concerning travel to Hong Kong, 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 Hong Kong.
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, including applications concerning the Hong Kong SAR. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority (FCA).
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 Hong Kong SAR Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Secretary for Justice, International Law Division. The Hong Kong Central Authority reviews all incoming applications, files applications with the court, monitors the case from beginning to end, updates the requesting Central Authority on the progress of the case, and provides other assistance as appropriate, including involving law enforcement or social workers. The Central Authority does not represent a parent in the court proceedings.
The Hong Kong Central Authority can be reached at:
Central Authority of Hong Kong
(The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction)
c/o International Law Division
(Mutual Legal Assistance Unit)
Department of Justice
47/F, High Block
Queensway Government Offices
66 Queensway, Hong Kong
Telephone Number: (852) 2867 2062
Fax Number: (852)2523 7959 or (852) 2877 9585
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Hong Kong, the left-behind parent or the Central Authority of the left-behind parent’s country must submit a Hague application to the Hong Kong Central Authority. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Hong Kong Central Authority, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are not fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Hong Kong central authorities. Attorney fees in Hong Kong can vary depending upon an attorney’s experience and reputation. 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 Hong Kong. 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 Hong Kong. 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 a private attorney is not required to submit Hague Convention applications to the Hong Kong Central Authority. However, parents may wish to hire a private attorney to follow up on the case, to provide direct information to the court, and to advise as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances. A parent may be able to retain a private attorney through legal aid if the parent satisfies the merit and means tests set by the Legal Aid Department. If a parent wishes to apply for legal aid, the Hong Kong Central Authority will provide that parent direct contact information for legal aid. Parents may represent themselves if they choose not to have a private attorney.
The U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, posts list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law at.
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 Hong Kong Central Authority strongly recommends that parents reach an amicable settlement for the voluntary return of the child through mediation. Mediation services are available through the Social Welfare Department or via accrediting bodies such as the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society, Integrated Family Services Centre, and International Social Services (Hong Kong Branch).
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.