Travel.State.Gov > International Parental Child Abduction > Country Information > Portugal International Parental Child Abduction Information
Av. das Forças Armadas, Sete-Rios
Telephone: +(351) (21) 770-2122
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(351) (21)-770-2122 or +(351) (21) 727-3300
Fax: +(351) (21) 727-2354
U.S. Consulate Ponta Delgada
Av. Príncipe do Mónaco No, 6-2 F
9500-237 Ponta Delgada, Açores
Telephone: +(351) (296) 308-330
EmergencyAfter-Hours Telephone: +(351) (21) 727-3300
Fax: +(351) (296) 287-216
Portugal 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, 1998.
For information concerning travel to Portugal, 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 Portugal.
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 Portugal. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Portuguese Central Authority (PCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Directorate-General of Social Reintegration. The PCA has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications. The PCA forwards completed Hague applications to the State Attorney in the appropriate Family and Minors Court in Portugal. The State Attorney brings the case on behalf of Portugal. The Portuguese Central Authority can be reached at:
Direção-Geral de Reinserção e Serviços Prisionais
Autoridade Central Portuguesa
Travessa da Cruz do Torel, n.º 1
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Portugal, the U.S. Central Authority encourages parents 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. All documents written in English must be translated into Portuguese. 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 Portuguese Central Authority, 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 Portuguese 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.
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, Portugal. 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 Portugal. 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 a private attorney is not required in order to submit a Hague Convention application to a court in Portugal. The PCA assigns State Attorneys to present a Hague case before the appropriate court. However, the State Attorney does not represent the left-behind parent who submitted the application; instead, the State Attorney represents Portugal and submits the request for return on behalf of the Portuguese Central Authority. The State Attorney will have no direct contact with the left-behind parent. Parents have the option to hire a private attorney to represent them. However, all attorney fees will be the applicant parent’s responsibility. A privately hired attorney should contact the Portuguese Central Authority as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the Portuguese Central Authority.
The U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal posts a 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 is a possible remedy for both abduction and access cases. The PCA does not provide mediation services directly; however, the PCA provides referrals to private and non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services. Mediation is voluntary.
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.