When a U.S. citizen dies overseas and the death is reported to the U.S. embassy or consulate, we:
- Confirm the death, identity, and U.S. citizenship of the deceased individual.
- Attempt to locate and notify the next of kin.
- Coordinate with the legal representative regarding the deceased individual's remains and personal effects.
- Provide guidance on forwarding funds to cover costs.
- Serve as provisional conservator of the estate if the legal representative is not present in the country until the legal representative arrives.
- Prepare documents for the disposition of remains that follow instructions from the deceased individual's next of kin or legal representative.
- Assist with matters concerning the disposition of the remains and the release of the personal effects of the deceased individual to the legal representative.
- Send electronic or paper copies of the Consular Report of Death of an U.S. Citizen Abroad to the deceased individual's next of kin or legal representative for possible use in settling estate matters in the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions
A Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad is an electronic or paper administrative report:
- Issued in English by the U.S. embassy or consulate and based on the foreign death certificate or finding of death by a local competent authority.
- Providing essential facts about the death, disposition of remains, and custody of the personal estate of the deceased U.S. citizen.
- Generally used in official proceedings in the United States as proof of death.
- Completed when the foreign death certificate or finding of death is issued. This process can take as long as four to six months, depending on the country.
- A PDF copy of the Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad 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.
- Contains a digital signature of the Consular Officer and a digital seal of the U.S. embassy or consulate. This allows the Consular Officer to send the document to the next of kin and other legal entities by email, which is much faster than by regular post. The recipient can then print out as many copies as they need, at time of receipt or at any time in the future.
Electronic Report: Retain the original PDF copy and you can print out as many copies as you need, at time of receipt or at any time in the future.
Paper Report: Upon request we can send the deceased individual’s legal representative up to 20 copies at the time of death, at no fee.
You can request additional copies through our Record Services Division.
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.
Yes. U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem can request either “Jerusalem” or “Jerusalem, Israel” when applying for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBAs) and Consular Reports of Death Abroad (CRDAs).
Please note you do not need to reapply for a new CRDA because your document will remain valid. If you choose to renew or reapply for a consular document with the new place of birth designation, you must pay all applicable fees.
U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem who do not specify their place of birth on applications for consular services as “Israel” will continue to be issued documents that indicate their place of birth as “Jerusalem.”
Last Updated: June 14, 2023