Slovakia 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 February 1, 2001.
For information concerning travel to Slovakia, 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 Slovakia.
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 Slovakia. 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
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Slovak Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Centre for International Legal Protection of Children and Youth (CIPC). CIPC discharges the obligations of a central authority under the Hague Abduction Convention, including reviewing Hague applications for completeness, initiating location efforts for missing children, and approaching taking parties about whether or not abduction situations may be resolved voluntarily.
The Slovak Central Authority (SCA) can be reached at:
Centrum pre medzinárodnoprávnu ochranu detí a mládeže
(Centre for International Legal Protection of Children and Youth)
P.O. Box 57
814 99 Bratislava
Tel.: +421 (2) 2046 3208
Fax: +421 (2) 5975 3258
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Slovakia, the USCA encourages a parent or legal guardian 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 SCA. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the SCA, 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 Slovak prior to court proceedings. Please note that certified translations are necessary.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or Slovak central authorities. 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, Slovakia. 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 Slovakia. 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 Slovak system does not require parents or legal guardians to retain a private attorney in order to file a Hague Abduction Convention application with a court. Parents or legal guardians may hire a private attorney to assist them with their case and to advise them as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances. A privately hired attorney should contact the SCA and the USCA as soon as possible after the SCA receives the Hague application. The SCA can provide referrals to assist applicants to find a private attorney. The courts in Slovakia offer free legal aid to those who apply and qualify based on income and other financial factors. Please note, however, that legal aid attorneys may be limited in the number of services offered. The SCA’s role is not to assign attorneys to cases but to facilitate the Hague process until such time as an attorney submits the Hague petition to the Slovak court.
The U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia, 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 available for both abduction and access cases. The SCA provides mediation services directly to parents and legal guardians at no charge, and court mediators are also available. According to Slovak law, charges for non-commercial civil, family, and community matters are set at 20 Euro per hour. Mediation in Slovakia 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.