Travel.State.Gov > Legal Resources > Judicial Assistance Country Information > Hong Kong 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.
Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters, is in force in the Hong Kong SAR. 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 directly to Hong Kong Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention. No translation of documents in English is required. Hong Kong did not make any reservations with respect to service by international registered mail or service by agent. However, Hong Kong advises that service by the Convention is the preferred method. For additional information see the Hague Conference Service Convention web page and theHague Conference Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Hague Service Convention. See also Hong Kong’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 Hong Kong 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: The U.S. Department of State expects criminal defendants, or their defense counsel, who wish to request judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters to make such requests via the letters rogatory process.
The Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters is force for the Hong Kong SAR. 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 Hong Kong Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention. Letters of Request and accompanying documents should be prepared in duplicate and do not require translation from English. See Hong Kong’s Declarations and Reservations regarding the Hague Evidence Convention. See also Hong Kong’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Evidence Convention.
Requests from Hong Kong 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.
In Hong Kong, consular officers may take voluntary depositions of U.S. citizen witnesses without prior permission from Hong Kong authorities, provided no compulsion is used. If the services of a U.S. consular officer are required to administer an oath to the witness, interpreter and stenographer, such arrangements must be made in advance with the U.S. Consulate General directly. Consistent with Hong Kong’s declarations and reservations regarding the Hague Evidence Convention, consular officers are prohibited from taking voluntary depositions of non-U.S. citizen witnesses. As an alternative, if prior permission is granted by Hong Kong’s Competent Authority, voluntary depositions may be conducted by commissioners in Hong Kong regardless of the nationality of the witness, provided no compulsion is used.
The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents is in force in the Hong Kong SAR. Hong Kong’s competent authority for the Hague Apostille Convention will authenticate Hong Kong public documents with Apostilles. For information about authenticating U.S. public documents for use in Argentina, 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.