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 to practice in the relevant
Portugal 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 July 1, 1998.
For information concerning travel to Portugal, 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 Portugal.
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 Portugal. 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
Office of Children’s Issues
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Portuguese Central Authority (PCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Directorate-General of Social Reintegration. The PCA has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications. The PCA forwards completed Hague applications to the State Attorney in the appropriate Family and Minors Court in Portugal. The State Attorney brings the case on behalf of Portugal.
The PCA can be reached at:
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Portugal, the USCA encourages parents 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 foreign Central Authority. All documents written in English must be translated into Portuguese. Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the PCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or Portuguese central authorities. Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.Back to Top
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, Portugal. 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 Portugal. 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.
Parents or legal guardians are not required to retain a private attorney in order to file a Hague Abduction Convention application with a court in Portugal. After the PCA submits the Hague petition, the court will appoint a State Attorney to present the case. The State Attorney will not have direct contact with the applicant parent or legal guardian.
Parents or legal guardians have the option to hire a private attorney to represent them. However, all attorney fees will be the applicant’s responsibility. A privately hired attorney should contact the PCA as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the PCA. Parents or legal guardians are required to hire a private attorney to represent them if they wish to appeal the initial finding of the court.
The U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal, 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 PCA does not provide mediation services directly; however, the PCA provides referrals to private and non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services. Mediation is voluntary.
The U.S. Embassy in Portugal can be contacted at:
The Embassy of Portugal is located in Washington, D.C. at: