Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
00-540 Warsaw, Poland
Telephone: +48 (22) 504-2000
American Citizen Services: +48 (22) 504-2784
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +48 (22) 504-2000
Fax: +(48) (22) 504-2088
Poland 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 November 1, 1992.
For information concerning travel to Poland, 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 Poland.
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 Poland. 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
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Polish Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice, Division of International Law. The Ministry of Justice, Division of International Law discharges the obligations of a central authority under the Hague Abduction Convention by reviewing Hague applications for completeness and then forwarding them to the appropriate court for assistance in locating the child and adjudication of Hague cases.
The Polish Central Authority can be reached at:
Ministry of Justice
Division of International Law
Aleje Ujazdowskie 11
P.O. Box 35
Telephone: +48 (22) 239 0870
Fax: +48 (22) 897 0539
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Poland, a parent or legal guardian should review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing a Hague application, which is available on the Department of State website.
The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Polish Central Authority, 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 Polish prior to court proceedings commencing. Documents that will be entered into evidence during the Hague proceeding (such as previous court orders) require certified translations from a certified sworn translator in Poland. Certified translations are not necessary for documents that will not be submitted as evidence (such as the Hague application), and any competent person or organization may translate these documents.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Polish central authorities. Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent. The Polish courts do not automatically provide free or reduced fee legal representation for applicant parents; however parents can complete an application to apply for financial assistance based on their income. 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, Poland. 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 Poland. 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 Polish system does not require parents to retain a private attorney in order to file a Hague Abduction Convention application with a court. However, parents can hire a private attorney to assist them with their case and advise as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances. A privately hired attorney should contact the Polish Central Authority as soon as possible after the Polish Central Authority receives the Hague Abduction Convention application. The Polish Central Authority can provide referrals to assist parents to find a private attorney or the parents may represent themselves. The Polish Central Authority’s role is not to assign attorneys to cases, but to prepare documents needed to submit the case to the court.
The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, 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 is a possible remedy for both abduction and access cases. The Polish Central Authority does not provide mediation services directly; however the Polish Central Authority does provide referrals to private and non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services. Mediation in Poland 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.