Travel.State.Gov > International Parental Child Abduction > Country Information > Uruguay International Parental Child Abduction Information
Uruguay and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Convention (Hague Abduction Convention) since September 1, 2004.
For information concerning travel to Uruguay, 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 Uruguay.
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.
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 Citizen 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 Uruguay. 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
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Uruguayan Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC). MEC’s role is to carry out Uruguay’s obligations under the Convention and process Hague Abduction Convention applications that it receives. They can be reached at:
Ministry of Education and Culture
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Uruguay, the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to the Uruguayan Central Authority. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Uruguayan Central Authority, 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 Uruguayan 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.
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 Uruguay. 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 Uruguay. 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.
Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to submit Hague Convention applications to a court in Uruguay. However, parents should consider hiring a private attorney to follow up on the case, to provide direct information to the court, and to generally advise as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances. A privately-hired attorney should contact the Uruguayan Central Authority as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed. For parents who do not have the financial resources to hire a private attorney, Uruguay has public defenders who may be available to assist. Information on pro bono legal assistance through a public defender can be found on the website of the Public Defender’s Office in Family Matters. Parents may wish to contact the Legal Aid Clinic of the University of the Republic, which also provides pro bono legal assistance. Information on the University’s Legal Aid Clinic can be found here.
The U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay posts 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 following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
Mediation in Uruguay is only available through Uruguay’s Courts of Justice. There are no non-governmental mediation services available. The Courts of Justice may be contacted here or through e-mail.
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.