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Practical information - How to re-establish contacts with a child living in a foreign State




The Italian Central Authority for the implementation of the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is the following:

Bureau II of the Head of the Department for Youth and the Community
Via Damiano Chiesa n. 24
00136 Roma
Tel.: (+39) 06 68188.326/331/535
Fax:  (+39) 06 68808085
E-mail: autoritacentrali.dgm@giustizia.it
Certified email: ucd2.dgm@giustiziacert.it(to use only within Italy)
Please take note that we receive by appointment only.




The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on International Child Abduction provide also for cooperation among its Member States to arrange or ensure effective access rights to children living in a State other than the one where the applicant lives.
When the State where the child is habitually residing has ratified or has adhered to the Hague Convention and Italy has accepted such membership, the cooperation among States laid down in the Convention can be implemented.
The updated list of the current state of ratifications and acceptances.
When the 1980 Hague Convention can be applied, international cooperation offers the following options:

  • you may contact the Central Italian Authority directly and ask to commence the relevant procedure, by carefully filling in the forms you will receive by the Secretariat;
  • the Central Authority will then forward your application to the Central Authority in the State where the child is habitually residing. The foreign Central Authority will then contact the person with whom the child lives (usually, the custodial parent), to encourage an amicable settlement and invite the respondent to voluntarily restore contacts between the child and the applicant;
  • if the person with whom the child lives refuses to enable contacts between the child and the applicant, Hague proceedings will be initiated before the competent court of the foreign State of the child’s habitual residence;
  • in some States, court proceedings are instituted by public bodies of the requested State (State Counsel, Public Prosecutor, legal staff within the Central Authority);
  • in other States, it lies on the applicant to commence legal proceedings; a lawyer must be retained for this purpose and paid by the applicant itself.

In such cases, the requested Central Authority usually assists the applicant in the search for a lawyer and provides all the information requested to petition for legal aid, which will be granted if you fulfil the means-test provided by domestic law;

  • court proceedings will take place according to the same procedural laws in force in the requested State;
  • when applying for contacts with a child to be re-established, you must draw up a detailed proposal of visits, consistent with your work engagement and the child’s school attendance;
  • when drawing up the aforementioned proposal, please consider that, initially, Hague decisions on this matter rarely allow the child to spend time in the applicant’s State of residence from the very beginning of their contacts. Especially when the child is very young and/or there has been no contacts for a long time, relations with the applicant shall start again in a context that is more currently familiar to the child;
  • we recommend that you also include in your proposal a calendar for contacts by phone and Skype.


Please note: when a child regularly lives in a European Union Member State and a court decision on visitation rights has already been made (either in Italy or in another EU State), the procedure laid down in Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003 may be applied.
According to Section 42 of Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003, provisions may be immediately enforced in the State of the child’s habitual residence, under certain conditions, without the need for implementing the procedure laid down under Section 21 of the 1980 Hague Convention. However, you are advised to appoint a lawyer for assistance in such cases.


FIRST CONTACT form  (pdf, 129 kb)




I can no longer contact my child, who lives with the other parent in another State. A custody or access decision must already have been made in order for the Central Authorities to implement the procedure to re-establish contacts under 1980 Hague Convention?
Generally speaking, a court decision establishing visitation rights is not requested to implement the relevant procedure laid down in the Hague Convention.


Are grandparents living in Italy entitled to apply to establish contact with a grandchild living in another State?
Applications to establish or safeguard contact with a child will be assessed by the legal authorities in the State in which the child regularly lives according to the current laws in such State. Relatives may apply for contact to be established with a child when this right is laid down in the laws of the State in question. Applications by such persons will be assessed case by case to check the perspectives according to the applicable law for a specific situation.


My child is growing up in another country and no longer speaks my language. What can be done?
Applicant parents often report that their child who is living in another country no longer speaks and understands Italian. It must be remembered that such claims are unrealistic and counterproductive with respect to the Hague procedure: the parent or relative who applies for the for establishing contacts with a child living in another country is strongly recommended to get at least basic knowledge of the language the child speaks, in order to ensure a less frustrating communication to both of them - especially long-distance one. This will also demonstrate the applicant’s actual will to establish a warm relationship with the child and the awareness that the child shall not be burdened with the difficulties of adults’ relations between them. 

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