U.S. Department of Justice
Office of International Judicial Assistance
Benjamin Franklin Station
P.O. Box 14360
Washington, D.C. 20004
United States of America
tel.: +1 (202) 514 7455
fax: +1 (202) 514 6584
Contact person: Ms Jeanne Davidson, Director
(language of communication: English)
Outsourcing of Central Authority's activities to Process Forwarding International.
Extract of letter dated 3 December 2009 sent by the United States to
the Depositary (i.e. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the
Netherlands). To view the complete letter click here.
"(...) Since 2003, the Department of Justice of the United States of
America has delegated the service of process function performed by the
Central Authority to a private contractor to handle foreign requests for
service of process in civil and commercial matters in the United States
pursuant to the Hague Service Convention and the Inter-American
Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol (Inter-American
Convention), as well as from countries not party to either multilateral
convention on service of process.
The Department of Justice of the United States of America has informed
the Department of State that, on January 30, 2009, it awarded a new
contract for the service of process function to Process Forwarding International located in Seattle, .Washington. The new contract will run for six years and will expire on January 29, 2015.
The use of a private contractor to perform the service of process
function does not imply the formal designation of a new Central
Authority for either the Hague Service Convention or the Inter-American
Convention, but rather reflects the delegation of certain activities
conducted by the Central Authority, which remains the U.S. Department of
Justice (...)" (emphasis added).
To view the letter dated 21 August 2003 sent by the United States to the Depositary, click here.
$95 Flat-Rate for service of process under the Hague Service Convention within the USA and its Territories. Click here for more information.
||Process Forwarding International
633 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104
||+1 206 521 2979
||+1 206 224 3410
Director of Operations
Phone: +1 206-521-2861
Fax: +1 206-224-3410
Phone: +1 206-521-2946
Fax: +1 206-224-3410
|Languages spoken by staff:
(The following information was provided by the relevant State
authorities or was obtained from the replies to the Service
|The persons and entities within the United States
competent to forward service requests pursuant to Article 3 include any
court official, any attorney, or any other person or entity authorized
by the rules of the court.
|Methods of service
Formal Service (Art. 5(1)(a))
The United States Central Authority has outsourced to a private
contractor, Process Forwarding International, the responsibility for
making all formal service pursuant to Article 5(1). Under this contract,
Process Forwarding International will execute all service requests
using personal service. In the event personal service is impossible to
effect, Process Forwarding International will serve such other method or
methods as may be permitted under the law of the jurisdiction,
including mail service, if authorized.
Requests for service must be transmitted in duplicate with an
appropriate translation (one set will be served and the other will be
returned by Process Forwarding International with a certificate of
service). The full name and street address for the person or entity to
be served must be included.
Informal delivery (Art. 5(2))
Informal service is authorized within the United States in a variety
ways: through members of diplomatic or consular missions in the United
States, through the mails or by private persons if that would be
effective under applicable law, provided no compulsion is used. The
requesting authority would make arrangements for service using one of
these informal means.
Service by a particular method (Art. 5(1)(b))
We are presently unaware of “special requests” that would require service by a means other than those discussed above.
|All formal requests for the service of
documents made pursuant to Article 5(1), and submitted to Process
Forwarding International, must be translated into English, along with a
translation of the underlying documents, although papers solely in
French will be served as well.
Please note that there is no similar requirement that service made
through informal means such as mail, consular channels or privately
retained process services be translated. Some courts may rule, however,
and typically only if challenged by the defendant, that service of
documents not translated into English and made through these informal
mechanisms may not provide the recipient with sufficient notice of the
nature of the proceeding and an opportunity to respond, and, therefore,
not be enforceable as a matter of due process.
|Costs relating to execution of the request for service
All formal service under Article 5(1) must be sent directly to Process Forwarding International and are assessed a flat fee.
The cost of personal service or service by mail will remain $95.00
USD through the expiration of the contract on 29 January 2015.
Payment of fees may be made by Visa, Mastercard, most international
credit cards, bank transfers, international money orders and
government-issued checks payable to Process Forwarding International.
Personal checks are not accepted. All service requests must comply with
the payment schedule and method of payment described. All service
requests unaccompanied by proper payment in the manner indicated will be
returned without processing. The website
for Process Forwarding International provides specific guidance on
methods of payment. It will also be possible to check on the status of a
service request on the website.
The private contractor, however, does not serve papers upon the
United States or its departments, agencies or instrumentalities. Such
service requests will be directed to the U.S. Department of Justice for
handling. No fee is imposed in such cases.
The United States notes, however, that there is no requirement under
U.S. federal law that request for judicial assistance be referred to the
Department of State or the Department of Justice's contractor for
execution through Process Forwarding International. The United States
has no objection to the informal delivery of such documents by members
of diplomatic or consular missions in the United States, through the
mails or by private persons if that would be effective under applicable
law, provided no compulsion is used. The costs or fees associated with
the use of privately contracted authorized persons to effect service,
would be individually negotiated, and unknown to the United States
|Time for execution of request:
||Process Forwarding International has undertaken to
complete service of documents for return to the foreign requesting
authority within 30 business days of receipt.
|Judicial officers, officials or other competent persons
|The United States does not have a system of transmission between huissiers. That said, we would have no objection to huissiers
contacting Process Forwarding International directly. Attorneys in the
United States are authorized to perform legal functions in the State to
which they are admitted to the bar.
|Any person interested in a judicial proceeding and judicial officers, officials or other competent persons
|We have no difficulties with interested parties
initiating service through mail service or through any person or
official authorized by the rules of the United States courts.
|Oppositions and declarations
|Click here to read all the declarations and reservations made by the United States under this Convention
Consular officers of the United States are prohibited by regulation
from serving legal process or appointing other persons to do so (see declarations).
||Declaration of applicability
||Declaration of applicability
Derogatory channels (bilateral or multilateral agreements or internal law permitting other transmission channels)
(Arts. 11, 19, 24 and 25)
Information may not be complete or fully updated – please contact the relevant authorities to verify this information.
- Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory (Panama City, 13 January 1975).
- Additional Protocol to the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory (Montevideo, 8 May 1979)
Although some bilateral consular conventions provide for service of
process by consular officers, U.S. consular officers are generally
prohibited from doing so unless authorized by the Department of State.
See, Title 22, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 92.85.
U.S. Department of State - Judicial Assistance / Service of Process Abroad
Process Forwarding International - Hague Service Convention
(This page was last updated on 18 July 2014)