What are the US Rules and Authorities Governing Service of Process upon a Foreign Defendant?

International Multilateral Treaties and Conventions governing service of US process abroad:

  • Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (“Hague Service Convention”)
  • Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory of January 30, 1975 and Additional Protocol of May 8, 1979 (“Inter-American Convention”)
  • Vienna Convention of 24 April 1963 on Consular Relations and Optional Protocols (“Vienna Consular Convention”)

International Multilateral Treaties and Conventions governing legalization of US documents to be served abroad:

  • Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (“Hague Apostille Convention”)
  • Vienna Convention of 24 April 1963 on Consular Relations and Optional Protocols (“Vienna Consular Convention”)

US Federal Law governing service of US process abroad:

  • Rule 4(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (waiver of service abroad)
  • Rule 4(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (service abroad upon Individuals)
  • Rule 4(g) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (service abroad upon Infants and Incompetent Persons)
  • Rule 4(h) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (service abroad upon Corporations and Associations)
  • Rule 4(j) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (service abroad upon Foreign, State or Local Governments)
  • Rule 4(l) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Proof of Service abroad)
  • Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Time Limits for service abroad pursuant to FRCP 4(f) or (j))
  • 28 U.S.C. 1608: Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, as amended 2002 (Service abroad upon Foreign States, Agencies or Instrumentalities)
  • 28 U.S.C. 1783 and 1784: Service abroad of US subpoenas upon US nationals or residents
  • 22 Code of Federal Regulations 92.85: US Consular regulations prohibiting service of process
  • 22 Code of Federal Regulations 91 et seq: US Consular regulations governing notarization and authentication of sworn affidavits (including affidavits of service)

US State Law governing service of US process abroad (partial list):

  • California: Rule 413.10 of the California Code of Civil Procedure
  • Connecticut: Chapter 896, Sec. 52-57a and 52-59d of the Connecticut General Statutes
  • Delaware: Rule 4(f) of the Civil Rules Governing the Delaware Court of Common Pleas
  • Florida: Rule 48.194 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Georgia: Sec. 9-10-94 and 9-11-4 of the Code of Georgia
  • Illinois: Chapter 735, Rule 5/2-208 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes
  • Massachusetts: Rule 4(e) of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Michigan: Rule 2.105 of the Michigan Court Rules
  • New York: Rule 313 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules
  • New Jersey: Rule 4:4 of the New Jersey Civil Practice Rules
  • Ohio: Rule 4.5 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Pennsylvania: Rule 404 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Texas: Rule 108(a) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Virginia: Rule 8.01-302 and 320 of the Code of Virginia, Civil Remedies and Procedure

Need to serve process abroad? Contact Legal Language Services toll-free in the United States at 1-800-755-5775 for a free consultation with one of our staff attorneys or paralegals.

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