Change in China's Passport Regulations
Jeremy D. Morley
We have long raised concerns that China does not recognize foreign child custody orders, is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (except for Hong Kong and Macau), is not a party to any bilateral treaties concerning international parental child abduction, and bars children with Chinese passports, including dual national children, from leaving China without the consent of both parents. https://www.international-divorce.com/d-china.htm
A parent's concerns about potential international child abduction to China must always be taken extremely seriously.
Such concerns are now magnified by reason of a recent and most significant change in the policy of Chinese consulates concerning the issuance of Chinese passports to the children of Chinese nationals.
Previously, both parents of a child were required to be present at a Chinese consulate in order for the consulate to issue a passport for their child. This served to ensure that one parent of a child could not unilaterally and covertly obtain a Chinese passport for the child without the knowledge or consent of the other parent.
However, the Chinese Consulate in Chicago has now stated that, for the purpose of convenience, it will now issue a child's passport to only one parent if that one parent brings the child to the Consulate.
In addition, the Consulate has liberalized the requirements for the renewal of a child's Chinese passport. Previously, both parents had to appear at the Consulate to obtain a renewal of a child's passport and they had to bring the same papers as were required for the initial passport application. Now, a renewal requires only one parent and significantly less paperwork.
It is important for family lawyers to recognize that United States courts have no power to control the issuance of passports and travel documents by other sovereign countries.
The easier that it is for a parent to obtain a foreign passport for a child, the greater the level of concern of possible international child abduction, especially because the United States has no exit controls.