International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Exercise Increased Caution due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China (COVID-19). Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Exercise Increased Caution due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China (COVID-19). Read the entire Travel Advisory.

A novel (new) coronavirus officially known as COVID-19 is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness that began in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The Hong Kong government has reported cases of the novel coronavirus in its special administrative region, has upgraded its response level to emergency, its highest response level, and is taking other steps to manage the novel coronavirus outbreak. On February 8, the Hong Kong government began enforcing a compulsory 14-day quarantine for anyone, regardless of nationality, arriving in Hong Kong who has visited mainland China within a 14-day period. This quarantine does not apply to individuals transiting Hong Kong International Airport and certain exempted groups such as flight crews. However, health screening measures are in place at all of Hong Kong’s borders and the Hong Kong authorities will quarantine individual travelers, including passengers transiting the Hong Kong International Airport, if the Hong Kong authorities determine the traveler to be a health risk. Please refer to the Hong Kong government’s press release for further details.

On January 30, the Hong Kong government closed certain transportation links and border checkpoints connecting Hong Kong with mainland China until further notice, and on February 3 suspended ferry services from Macau.

On February 10, 2020 the Department of State allowed for the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. Government employees and their family members due to the novel coronavirus and the effect to Mission personnel as schools and some public facilities have been closed until further notice.

On February 19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 1 Warning: Practice Usual Precautions in Hong Kong for COVID-19.

The Department of State has raised the Travel Advisory for mainland China to Level 4: Do Not Travel due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. The CDC has issued a Level 3 Warning for China: Avoid all nonessential travel.

At this time, CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to Hong Kong. If you travel to Hong Kong, take the following steps:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
    • It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

If you spent time in Hong Kong during the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing:

  • Seek medical advice. Call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel to Hong Kong, an area with community spread of coronavirus, and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

Please monitor the Hong Kong government’s website for further updates on the coronavirus infection.

See https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/novel-coronavirus-2019.html for additional guidance.

Continue to exercise increased caution in Hong Kong due to civil unrest.

Country Summary: Since June 2019, large scale and smaller political demonstrations have taken place in various areas of Hong Kong, including MTR stations, shopping malls, universities, and at Hong Kong International airport. While many demonstrations have been peaceful, some have resulted in violent confrontations between protesters and police – or between protesters and people who oppose the demonstrations – leading to serious injuries. Police have used a variety of crowd control measures, including tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and water cannons. Some protesters have lit fires, built barricades, and thrown Molotov cocktails (petrol bombs). Police have identified and seized weapons and explosive materials linked to ongoing protest activity. Any protests that take place without a permit are considered illegal.

Protests, which can take place with little or no notice at any time of the week, are likely to continue and are often accompanied by vandalism and/or violence.

U.S. citizens, as well as U.S. Consulate General employees, have been subject to a People’s Republic of China propaganda campaign falsely accusing the United States of fomenting unrest in Hong Kong.

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

If you decide to travel to Hong Kong:

  • Monitor local media, local transportations sites and apps like MTR Mobile or CitybusNWFB, and the Hong Kong International Airport website for updates.
  • Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Avoid taking photographs of protesters or police without permission.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Review your flight status with your airline or at the Hong Kong International Airport website.
  • Follow U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong on Facebook and Twitter.
  • 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 Hong Kong.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued with updates on novel coronavirus.

... [READ MORE]

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. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau

26 Garden Road, Central,
Hong Kong

Telephone: +(852) 2841-2211, +(852) 2841-2225, +(852) 2841-2323
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(852) 2523-9011
Fax: +(852) 2845-4845
Email: 

General Information

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.

 

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, 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).

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax:  202-736-9132
Website  

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
Email: childabduct@doj.gov.hk

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.

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 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.

Visitation/Access

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 an Attorney

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.

Mediation

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).

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 1, 2015

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau
26 Garden Road, Central,
Hong Kong
Telephone
+(852) 2841-2211, +(852) 2841-2225, +(852) 2841-2323
Emergency
+(852) 2523-9011
Fax
+(852) 2845-4845

Hong Kong Map