Consular, Passport and Visa Division

Service of Summons Abroad

Q: How long does it take for summons to be served on an individual living outside India?

Generally, most countries do not entertain mutual legal assistance requests if the date of appearance/hearing of a case is less than three months away. Moreover, 2-3 weeks are to be allowed for the file to be examined by the concerned Ministry in India. In total, you would need to plan for about 4-5 months for effecting service of summons in a foreign country.

Q: Is there any fee required to be paid for serving summons in a foreign country?

In civil or commercial matters, some countries (ex: Canada, Australia) charge a fee for serving summons. Please contact the relevant Indian Embassy or Consulate to get details in this regard.

Q: How is Service of Process or Documents undertaken in respect of Foreign Countries who are signatories to the Hague Convention?

India is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. Therefore, the formal method for service in India with effect from August 1, 2007 is pursuant to the Hague Convention, taking into account the declaration or special conditions mentioned by India in while signing the Hague Convention. The declarations made by India while signing the Convention include the following:

  • Documents for service must be written in the English language.
  • Documents cannot be served via mail.
  • Documents must be served in India indirectly via proper authority.
  • Documents under the Hague Convention cannot be served directly to the defendants in India by private judicial officer.
  • For more details, please refer to the website of the Ministry of Law and Justice: website that opens in a new window