International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Exercise increased caution in Saudi Arabia due to terrorism and the threat of missile attacks on civilian targets.

Exercise increased caution in Saudi Arabia due to terrorism and the threat of missile attacks on civilian targets.  

Do not travel to:

  • Within 50 miles of the border with Yemen due to terrorism and armed conflict.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Saudi Arabia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Terrorists have targeted both Saudi and Western government interests, mosques and other religious sites (both Sunni and Shia), and places frequented by U.S. citizens and other Westerners.

Rebel groups operating in Yemen have fired long-range missiles into Saudi Arabia, specifically targeting populated areas and civilian infrastructure; they have publicly stated their intent to continue doing so. Missile attacks have targeted major cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah, Riyadh’s international airport, Saudi Aramco facilities, and vessels in Red Sea shipping lanes. Rebel groups are also in possession of unmanned aerial systems (drones) which they have used to target civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. 

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the following locations as U.S. government personnel and their families are restricted from travel to:

  • Within 50 miles of the Saudi-Yemen border, including the cities of Jizan and Najran;
  • Qatif in the Eastern province and its suburbs, including Awamiyah; and
  • Hofuf and its suburbs in the al Hasa governorate.

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

  • If you decide to travel to Saudi Arabia:
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Obtain comprehensive medical insurance that includes medical evacuation.
  • 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 Reports for Saudi Arabia.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Yemen Border

Violence in Yemen has spilled over into Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions. Rebel forces in Yemen fire artillery at Saudi border towns and launch cross-border attacks against Saudi military personnel. Civilians who are near the border with Yemen are at risk.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens within 50 miles of the Saudi-Yemen border as U.S. government personnel and their families are restricted from travel to this area.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas

... [READ MORE]

Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No

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

The normal work week in Saudi Arabia is Sunday through Thursday.

U.S. Embassy Riyadh
Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As Sahmi Street
Roundabout no. 9, Diplomatic Quarter
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telephone:
 (966) (11) 488-3800
Emergency Telephone:  (966) (11) 488-3800
Fax:  (966) (11) 488-7670
RiyadhACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Jeddah
Falasteen Street intersecting with Al-Andalus Street,
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Telephone:  
(966) (12) 667-0080
Emergency Telephone:  (966) (12) 667-0080
Fax:  (966) (12) 669-3098
JeddahACS@state.gov


U.S. Consulate General Dhahran
Between KFUPM and King Abdulaziz Airbase,
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Telephone:  
(966) (13) 330-3200
Emergency Telephone:  (966) (13) 330-3200
Fax:  (966) (13) 330-6816
DhahranACS@state.gov

 

 

General Information

For information concerning travel to Saudi Arabia, 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 Saudi Arabia.

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

Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Saudi Arabia and the United States concerning international parental child abduction. 

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Saudi Arabia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
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: 202-485-6221
Website
Email: MiddleEastIPCA@state.gov

Parental child abduction may be considered a crime in Saudi Arabia depending on the circumstances surrounding the child's removal. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney in Saudi Arabia to determine if their particular case qualifies as a crime under Saudi Arabian law.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Saudi Arabia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.   Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Saudi Arabia for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Saudi Arabia are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 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 following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

The Child Protection Section, a department of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Social Affairs, plays a role based on Sharia law in mediating family dispute cases involving children.  Parents may contact the Child Protection Section by telephone at +966-1-477-8888 (ext 1559) or by email at mosa@mosa.gov.sa.

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: May 8, 2018

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Riyadh
Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As Sahmi Street
Roundabout no. 9, Diplomatic Quarter
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telephone
+(966) (11) 488-3800
Emergency
+(966) (11) 488-3800
Fax
(966) (11) 488-7670

Saudi Arabia Map