United States of America - Central Authority & practical information
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.: +1 202-514-6700
fax: +1 202-514-6584
Contact person: Ms Jeanne Davidson, Director
(language of communication: English)
Outsourcing of Central Authority's activities to ABC Legal
Extract of the Notification sent by the Depositary (i.e. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands) on 16 June 2015. To view the complete Notification, click here.
"(...) Since 2003, the Department of Justice of the United States of America has contracted the service of process function performed by the Central Authority to a private contractor to handle requests for service of process in civil and commercial matters in the United States pursuant to the Hague Service Convention.
The Department of Justice of the United States of America has informed the Department of State that, on February 1, 2015, it renewed its contract for the service of process function with ABC Legal, which does business as Process Forwarding International, located in Seattle, Washington. The use of a private contractor to perform the service of process function does not imply the designation of a new U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention, but rather reflects the contracting of certain activities conducted by the U.S. Central Authority, which remains the U.S. Department of Justice.
Process Forwarding International is the only private process server company authorized to act on behalf of the United States to receive requests for service, proceed to serve the documents, and complete the certificate of service. Process Forwarding International is responsible for executing requests for service of process in the following areas: the United States (the fifty states and the District of Columbia), Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (...)" (emphasis added).
633 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104
|Telephone:||+1 206 521 2979|
|Fax:||+1 206 224 3410|
|Languages spoken by staff:||English|
|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))
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. For requests made under the Hague Service Convention, the Model Form for that Convention must be used.
Informal delivery (Art. 5(2))
Service by a particular method (Art. 5(1)(b))
|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 requests under Article 5(1) must be sent directly to Process Forwarding International and are assessed a flat fee of $95. There is no additional fee for expedited service requests. Payment of the fee 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 on Process Forwarding International's website. 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 Process Forwarding International's 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 that there is no requirement under U.S. federal law that requests for service be sent to Processing 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.
|Time for execution of request:||Process Forwarding International is required to complete service of documents for return to the foreign requestor within 30 business days of receipt. In addition, Process Forwarding International will accept requests for expedited service, service within seven (7) business days of receipt, without charging an additional fee. Expedited service must be specifically requested; if it is not, service will be completed 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 objection to 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|
|Art. 8(2):||No opposition
Consular officers of the United States are prohibited by regulation from serving legal process or appointing other persons to do so (see declarations).
|Art. 10(a):||No opposition|
|Art. 10(b):||No opposition|
|Art. 10(c):||No opposition|
|Art. 15(2):||Declaration of applicability|
|Art. 16(3):||Declaration of applicability|
Derogatory channels (bilateral or multilateral agreements or internal law permitting other transmission channels)
- Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory (Panama City, 13 January 1975).
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.
(This page was last updated on 18 September 2018)