Abductions to the U.S.


The Office of Children’s Issues also handles incoming Hague child abduction cases – that is, abductions of children to the United States from countries that are partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  In addition, our office can assist with abductions from non-partner countries, although our services in such cases are more limited.  If you are a parent whose child has been taken to the United States in violation of your parental rights, the Office of Children's Issues offers services that you might find valuable during this difficult time.

Services for Incoming Hague Abduction Cases

The services that the Office of Children’s Issues provides for incoming abduction cases include:

  • Accepting applications for return or access from Foreign Central Authorities;
  • Assisting left-behind parents in locating their children within the United States;
  • Attempting to achieve voluntary returns or access where possible;
  • Assisting left-behind parents with securing attorneys, including attorneys willing to work on a pro bono or reduced-fee basis for qualified parents; and
  • Assisting with the safe return of children to their habitual residence abroad.

For more information, please contact our office at AskCI@state.gov.

Services for Incoming Non-Hague Cases

If you are a parent whose child has been taken to the United States from a country that is not yet a partner country under  the  Hague Abduction Convention, the Hague Abduction Convention is not available to you as a potential remedy.  Nevertheless, our office may be able to provide some assistance.  Services include:

  • Accepting requests for assistance from foreign embassies in the United States or directly from a parent;
  • Assisting appropriate law enforcement agencies, including INTRPOL DC, with location efforts within the United States;
  • Referring families to mediation services upon request;
  • Providing information on our website about resources for securing legal counsel in the United States.

In addition, we refer parents to other potential resources, including:

  • Embassy in the United States : Often the embassy of the country from which the child has been taken can provide a list of attorneys or attempt to visit a child in the United States. 

  • Law EnforcementINTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 187 member countries.  If your child was taken from an INTERPOL member country, consult with law enforcement authorities in the country from which the child was taken to ask for their assistance to seek an INTERPOL Missing Child (Yellow) Notice.  On the basis of this notice and entry of the child into NCIC, law enforcement in the United States can assist in locating the child. Law enforcement authorities in the country from which the child was taken can also help you determine if the parent that took your child to the United States has violated your country’s laws.

  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC):  NCMEC is a non-profit non-government organization in the United States that may be able to offer you assistance.  Visit NCMEC’s website or call 1-800-THE-LOST.

  • Attorneys:  Upon request, our office can provide lists of full fee attorneys in the area where your child is living.  In addition, if you obtain a custody order in your country, you may be able to seek enforcement of that order in a court in the United States, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.