Travel.State.Gov > International Parental Child Abduction > Country Information > Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba (BES) International Parental Child Abduction Information
For information concerning travel to Bonaire, Saba, and Statia, including information about the location of the U.S. Consulate General, 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 the Dutch Caribbean.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction. The report is located here.
Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius (Statia), are administratively integrated in the Netherlands. The Government of the Netherlands is responsible for implementing the Hague Abduction Convention for Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius (Statia). The Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United States are treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) and have been since September 01, 1990.
The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under The Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
The Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention for Bonaire, Saba, and Statia is the Guardianship Council. The Guardianship Council’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:
Guardianship Council (Voogdijraad)
Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland
Kaya Internashonal z/n
Phone: +011 599 717 8976
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Bonaire, Saba, and Statia, the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to the Guardianship Council’s office. The United States Central Authority (USCA) is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Guardianship Council’s office, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with the United States or Bonaire, Saba, or Statia. Attorney fees, if necessary, are the sole responsibility of the person hiring the attorney. Additional costs may include but are not limited to 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 Bonaire, Saba, or Statia. The U.S. Department of State can provide information on whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and 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 Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. 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 criteria specific to these islands and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Retaining a private attorney may not be required in order to file Hague Abduction Convention applications with courts in Bonaire, Saba, and Statia. However, parents may wish to consider hiring a private attorney to follow up on their case, provide information directly to the court, and generally advise courses of action appropriate for their individual circumstances. A privately-hired attorney should contact the Attorney General’s office in Bonaire as soon as possible after The Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed.
The U.S. Consulate in Curaçao posts a list of attorneys here.
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.
The U.S. Department of State is not aware of any government agencies or non-governmental organizations that offer mediation programs in Bonaire, Saba, or Statia.
While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent. Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:
The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.
To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.
For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
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 in the relevant jurisdiction.