April 15, 2013
When a U.S. citizen dies abroad, Consular Officers
- Confirm the death, identity, and U.S. citizenship of the deceased.
- Notify the next-of-kin.
- Provide information about the disposition of the remains and the personal effects of the deceased.
- Provide guidance on forwarding funds to cover costs.
- Serve as provisional conservator of the estate if there is no legal representative in the country.
- Prepare documents for the disposition of the remains in accordance with instructions from the next-of-kin or legal representative.
- Oversee the performance of the disposition of the remains and the distribution of the effects of the deceased.
- Send signed copies of the Consular Report of Death of an U.S. Citizen Abroad to the next-of-kin or legal representative for
use in settling estate matters in the United States.
What is a Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad?
A Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad is:
- Issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate;
- An administrative document that provides essential facts about the death, disposition of remains, and custody of the personal
estate of the deceased U.S. citizen;
- Generally used in legal proceedings in the United States as proof of death;
- Based on the foreign death certificate, and cannot be completed until the foreign death certificate is issued (This can be
up to four-to-six weeks, depending on the country).
What is a Foreign Death Certificate?
A Foreign Death Certificate is:
- Issued by the local authority, often the registrar of deaths.
- Written in the local language and prepared according to local laws.
- In some instances, not accepted in the United States for insurance and estate purposes.
Obtaining Copies of the Report of Death
- A Consular Officer will send the family up to 20 certified copies at the time of death at no fee.
- Additional copies can be obtained by contacting:
Department of State,
Passport Vital Records Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 510
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel. (202) 955-0307
- You must submit a notarized written request to the above address, with the following information:
- Full name of the deceased;
- Date and place of death;
- A copy of requester's valid identification;
- Your return address and telephone number;
- Signature of requester; and
- Appropriate fees, payable to the "Department of State" by check or money order
- There is a $50 fee for each additional certified copy of a Report of Death.
- Overnight Delivery Send your request to the above address using overnight delivery for quicker service. To have your records returned to you
using overnight delivery, include an additional $12.85 with your request or a pre-paid envelope for the delivery service provider
of your choice.