Initiation of proceedings for return or for the protection of rights of access

The return of a child who has been wrongfully removed to or retained in a Contracting State of the Hague Convention or the European Convention may be requested from the Central Authority by completing the form below. The same applies to the protection of cross-border rights of access. To clarify which international Convention applies and which form to fill out, please contact the Central Authority.

The services provided by the Central Authorities are free of charge. Court proceedings under the European Convention 1980 are free of charge for applicants. Judicial proceedings for return or for the protection of access rights under the Hague Convention 1980 are only free of charge for applicants if neither of the two concerned Contracting States has made a reservation to the exemption of costs or if the applicants are granted legal aid.

In order to find out, which Contracting States have made a reservation to the Hague Convention 1980 concerning the costs, you may check our list of contracting states and the country notes. The costs include court fees, legal representation, protective measures, interpreter and mediation/conciliation procedure. Since the services provided by the Contracting States without such a reservation vary significantly (in particular with regard to the legal representation of applicants in the return proceedings), please contact the Central Authority for more detailed information.

Depending on the complexity of each individual case and the applicable legal system, the proceedings may last several months or longer. You will find further information in our brochure. 

Important: Please read carefully the guidelines on completing the application form and contact the Central Authority for any question.

Application forms based on the Hague Convention 1980

Application forms based on the European Convention 1980

Last modification 29.08.2023

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Federal Office of Justice
Central authority for the handling of international child abductions
Bundesrain 20
CH-3003 Bern
T +41 58 463 88 64
F +41 58 462 78 64

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