Travel.State.Gov > Legal Resources > Judicial Assistance Country Information > Germany Judicial Assistance Information
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
Telephone: +(49) (30) 8305-1200
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(49) (30) 8305-0
Fax: +(49) (30) 8305-1215
U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt
Giessener Str. 30
60435 Frankfurt am Main
Federal Republic of Germany
Telephone: +(49) (69) 7535-2100 (routine calls, 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, except on U.S. and German holidays, and the last Thursday of each month.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(49) (69) 7535-0
Fax: +(49) (69) 7535-2252
Passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, and Citizenship: FrankfurtPassports@state.gov
All other questions: GermanyACS@state.gov
Germany is a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. Complete information on the operation of the Convention, including an interactive online request form are available on the Hague Conference website. Requests should be completed in duplicate and submitted with two sets of the documents to be served, and translations, directly to Germany’s Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention. The person in the United States executing the request form should be either an attorney or clerk of court. The applicant should include the titles attorney at law or clerk of court on the identity and address of applicant and signature/stamp fields. In its Declarations and Reservations on the Hague Service Convention, Germany formally objected to service under Article 10, and does not permit service via postal channels. Any other methods of service, including attempts at service by mail, are considered illegal in Germany and an affront to its judicial sovereignty. For additional information see the Hague Conference Service Convention web page and the Hague Conference Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Hague Service Convention. See also Germany’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Service Convention.
Service on a Foreign State: See also our Service Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) feature and FSIA Checklist for questions about service on a foreign state, agency or instrumentality.
Service of Documents from Germany in the United States:See information about service in the United States on the U.S. Central Authority for the Service Convention page of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Service Convention site.
Prosecution Requests: U.S. federal or state prosecutors should also contact the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, Department of Justice for guidance.
Defense Requests in Criminal Matters: Criminal defendants or their defense counsel seeking judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters may do so via the letters rogatory process.
Germany is a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters. Germany designated multiple German Central Authorities for the Hague Evidence Convention designated to receive letters of request for the taking of evidence. Letters of Request shall be addressed to the Central Authority of the “Land” in Germany in which the respective request is to be executed. See the Hague Evidence Convention Model Letters of Request for guidance on preparation of the letter of request. Requests for the compulsion of evidence under the Hague Evidence Convention are transmitted directly from the requesting court or person in the United States to the German Central Authority and do not require transmittal via diplomatic channels. Letters of Request and accompanying documents should be prepared in duplicate and translated into German. See Germany’s Declarations and Reservations regarding the Hague Evidence Convention. See also Germany’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Evidence Convention.
Requests from Germany to Obtain Evidence in the United States: The U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention is the Office of International Judicial Assistance, Civil Division, Department of Justice, 1100 L Street N.W., Room 8102, Washington, D.C. 20530.
Voluntary depositions may be conducted in Germany before a U.S. consular officer only at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt. Bilateral agreements between Germany and the United States require that the German Ministry of Justice pre-approve all requests for depositions. Depositions taken without the prior approval of the German Ministry of Justice and/or without the involvement of the United States Mission to Germany are unauthorized and may lead to criminal penalties against the participants. In addition, the German Ministry of Justice requires that all depositions take place on U.S. Consulate grounds and that the oaths be administered by a U.S. Consul. See specific guidance prepared by the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt regarding German requirements for the taking of depositions. When permission is granted by the German Ministry of Justice, voluntary depositions may be taken at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt either on notice or pursuant to a commission. Details on the procedures may be found on the U.S. Mission to Germany’s website.
Germany is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. Germany’s competent authority for the Hague Apostille Convention will authenticate Germany public documents with Apostilles. For information about authenticating U.S. public documents for use in Germany, see the list of U.S. Competent Authorities. To obtain an Apostille for a U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, contact the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Office.