A Regional Guide to Depositions in Asia (updated 2021)

We receive a lot of questions on what can and cannot be done when trying to depose witnesses located in Asia. So, we decided to put together this regional guide on depositions in Asia as a quick overview on regulations, visa requirements and more. Of course we are always here to help you find unique solutions to getting the testimony you need.   Contact us at any time to find out more.

Are there any restrictions on holding a U.S. depo in …

Yes
China does not permit the taking of depositions or witness statements in China for use in foreign courts.  However, Optima Juris does have a workaround.  Read more here.
Yes
In Hong Kong, consular officers may take voluntary depositions of U.S. citizen witnesses without prior permission from Hong Kong authorities. Consular officers are prohibited from taking voluntary depositions of non-U.S. citizen witnesses. As an alternative, if prior permission is granted by Hong Kong’s Competent Authority, voluntary depositions may be conducted by commissioners in Hong Kong regardless of the nationality of the witness.
Yes
Taking voluntary depositions of U.S. citizens in India can be conducted without prior permission. However, voluntary depositions of Indian or third country nationals will require prior permission from the Indian Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention.
No
Taking U.S. depositions in Indonesia is permissible and in general, you can depose willing witnesses in Indonesia without any special formalities or involvement of foreign courts.
Yes
Taking U.S. depositions in Japan is permissible. However, depos must take place at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or the U.S. Consulate in Osaka.
No
Taking U.S. depositions in Malaysia is permissible and in general, you can depose willing witnesses in Malaysia without any special formalities or involvement of foreign courts.
No
Taking U.S. depositions in the Philippines is permissible and in general, you can depose willing witnesses in the Philippines without any special formalities or involvement of foreign courts.
Yes
Depositions may be taken pursuant to letters of request submitted directly to the Singapore Central Authority for the Convention.
Yes
Voluntary depositions of U.S. citizen witnesses may be conducted in South Korea. Voluntary depositions of Korean and third country nationals must be undertaken pursuant to a request to the Korean Central Authority.
No
Taking U.S. depositions in Taiwan is permissible and in general, you can depose willing witnesses in Taiwan without any special formalities or involvement of foreign courts.
No
Taking U.S. depositions in Thailand is permissible and in general, you can depose willing witnesses in Thailand without any special formalities or involvement of foreign courts.
Yes
Vietnamese authorities do not permit foreign persons, such as American attorneys, to take depositions for use in a court in the United States. However, Optima Juris does have a workaround.  Read more here

Remote Depositions

The restrictions mentioned above also apply to taking a remote deposition of a witness located in that country. If a remote deposition is permitted, it can be a great option to save on cost and traveling restrictions.

At Optima Juris we have two convenient options for conducting your remote deposition:

  • Court Reporter with the Witness – One of our local court reporters will travel to the location of the witness and capture a verbatim record of the proceeding while the attorneys attend remotely.
  • Court Reporter NOT with the Witness – The witness, court reporter, and attorneys are all in separate locations. Our certified and trained court reporters will capture a verbatim record of the proceeding using our state-of-the-art technology from a remote location.

Current Travel Restrictions

Many countries have strict restrictions on travelers coming into their country due to COVID-19. Find out more about the latest travel restrictions here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html

Countries That Require Visas for U.S. Citizens

  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia – A business visa is required for travelers with business, professional or commercial purposes.
  • Japan – A Japanese Special Deposition visa is required
  • Thailand – A business visa is required for travelers with business, professional or commercial purposes.
  • Vietnam

You must obtain a visa from the appropriate foreign consular representative before proceeding abroad. Allow sufficient time for processing your visa application especially if you are applying by mail. Most foreign consular representatives are located in principal cities and in many instances a traveler may be required to obtain visas from the consular office in the area of his/her residence. Embassies & Consulates in the U.S.

Tips & Advice

Make sure to get the right immunization shots.
Yes, while it should be safe to eat that pork bun in Shanghai, check with your physician to see which shots are required and/or recommended. The biggest threats for Americans are Hepatitis A and B and are usually contracted through contaminated food.

Carry some cash.
While credit cards are slowly being accepted throughout Asia, cash is still king when you are absolutely in a bind. While we aren’t saying to be a walking ATM, do have several hundred dollars on you just in case.

Get your paper work straight.
Make sure everyone in your party has a passport and a visa if applicable. Keep in mind if you’re entering China twice, you may need a double entry visa depending on whether or not you’re in the country longer than 24 hrs. Check the embassy rules as they are constantly updated. Also, see what items are included in your travel package (insurance, tipping, forms, etc).

Be a smart traveler.
Before heading overseas:Organize comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy. Register your travel and contact details, so someone can contact you in an emergency.

Tipping Rules

Tipping is not needed in Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, and China. In many other countries you will see an added 10% service charge. Many times rounding up to nearest denomination is appreciated, but high-end international restaurants and hotels will be more acceptable of generous tips.

Useful Links

U.S. Department of State
Embassies & Consulates in the U.S.
U.S. Embassies Around the World
Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens
Detailed List on Voltage Requirements

We are always here to help! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule a deposition in Asia.

Ian Hardy

Ian Hardy is an internationally-recognized Global Deposition Expert and President of Optima Juris, the world’s first and only agency specialized in deposition services for U.S. legal matters abroad. With over 20 years of experience organizing depositions throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Oceania, Ian is a leading expert in global deposition consulting and services.