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While Abroad

Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad

When a U.S. citizen dies abroad and the death is reported to the U.S. embassy or consulate, Consular Officers:

  • Confirm the death, identity, and U.S. citizenship of the deceased.
  • Attempt to locate and notify the next-of-kin.
  • Coordinate with the legal representative regarding 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 possible use in settling estate matters in the United States. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

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 the U.S. embassy or consulate upon its receipt of the foreign death certificate or finding of death by a local competent authority.
  • 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 take as long as four-to-six weeks, depending on the country).
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What is a Foreign Death Certificate?

A Foreign Death Certificate Is:       

  • Issued by the local (foreign) authority, often by the civil registry of that country.
  • 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.
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How Do I Obtain Copies of the Report of Death

A Consular Officer will send the deceased’s legal representative 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
            44132 Mercure Cir.
            PO Box 1213
            Sterling, VA 20166-1213
            Tel. (202) 485-8300

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;
    • The requester's return address and telephone number;
    • The Requester's signature; and
    • Appropriate fees, payable to the "Department of State" by check or money order
  • There is a $50 fee for each certified copy of a Report of Death.
  • Overnight Delivery: To cut down on the processing time, you may send your request to the above address using overnight delivery.  To have your records returned to you using overnight delivery, include an additional $15.45 to cover overnight delivery or include a pre-paid envelope for the delivery service provider of your choice.
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How do I check the status of the Report of Death request?

To check the status of your Report of Death request, call (202) 485-8300.


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