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
Guatemala 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 December 5, 2001.
For information concerning travel to Guatemala, 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 Guatemala.
In April 2013, the U.S. Department of State cited Guatemala as being not compliant with the Hague Abduction Convention in its annual “Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.” 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 Guatemala. 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 Guatemalan Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Procuraduría General de la Nación, (PGN). The PGN’s role is to perform the duties given to central authorities under the Hague Abduction Convention, including processing Hague Abduction Convention applications for return of and access to children. They can be reached at:
To initiate a Hague case for the return of, or access to, a child in Guatemala, the left-behind parent must complete a Hague application and submit it to the PGN. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the PGN, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are not fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Guatemalan central authorities. After the case is filed and accepted with the PGN, the PGN assigns an attorney to represent the Hague Convention application during the Hague judicial process in Guatemala, at no cost. It is important to note that the attorney does not represent either parent’s interests; rather, the attorney represents the Hague Convention application. 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, Guatemala. 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 Guatemala. Once the case has been filed with the Court at the request of the left-behind parent visitation rights will be re-established. 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.
Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to file Hague Convention applications with courts in Guatemala. The PGN assigns an attorney to represent the Hague Abduction Convention application. While not required, a parent may choose to hire a private attorney to represent his/her interests in the case. If a parent retains a private attorney, the attorney should contact the PGN as soon as possible after the filing of the Hague Abduction Convention application.
The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City maintains a list of attorneys on its website.
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 following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers..
Guatemalan law requires that a mediation meeting take place in every civil and family dispute, including Hague Abduction Convention cases, prior to a court’s hearing of the case. During this meeting, the judge informs the interested parties of the benefits of mediation. If the parties decline to pursue mediation, the case proceeds to litigation. If the parties are interested in mediation, they must secure a private mediator as neither the court nor the GCA provides mediation services.
The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala can be contacted at:
U.S. Embassy Guatemala
Avenida Reforma 7-01
Zona 10, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Telephone: + (502) 2326-4501
Fax: + (502) 2331-3804
Website: U.S. Embassy Guatemala
The Embassy of Guatemala in Washington, D.C. is located at:
Embassy of Guatemala
2220 R Street NW
Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 745-4953