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Death of U.S. Citizens Abroad


U.S. Citizen Deaths From Non-Natural Causes, By Foreign Country
Sec. 204(c) of P.L. 107-228, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, mandates that, to the maximum extent practicable, the Department of State collect and make available on the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site certain information with respect to each United States citizen who dies in a foreign country from a non-natural cause. The information required is: (1) the date of death; (2) the locality where the death occurred; and (3) the cause of death, including, if the death resulted from an act of terrorism, a statement disclosing that fact. The information on the web site must be listed on a country-by-country basis, and must cover deaths occurring since the date of enactment of the legislation on September 30, 2002, or occurring during the preceding three calendar years, whichever period is shorter. The information is updated every six months.

Important Note: The table below should not be considered a statistically complete account of U.S. citizen deaths in foreign countries during the reporting period. The table includes only those deaths reported to the Department of State and for which information available to the Department establishes the death was by a non-natural cause. Most American citizens who die abroad were resident abroad. In some instances, it does not occur to surviving family members to inform the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of the death. The report may not include some deaths of U.S. military or U.S. government officials. To accommodate privacy concerns the table omits identifying information.

The table excludes countries where, during the reporting period, no deaths met the above criteria. Click here
to see the report.

Foreign Death Certificate:
Foreign death certificates are issued by the local registrar of deaths or similar local authority. The certificates are written in the language of the foreign country and prepared in accordance with the laws of the foreign country. Although authenticated copies of the foreign death certificate can be obtained, since the documents are written in the language of the foreign country they are sometimes unacceptable in the United States for insurance and estate purposes. In the United States, a"Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad"issued by the U.S. consular officer is generally used in lieu of a foreign death certificate as proof of death.

Report Of Death Of A U.S. Citizen Abroad:
The consular"Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad is a report that provides the essential facts concerning the death of a U.S. citizen, disposition of remains, and custody of the personal effects of a deceased citizen. This form is generally used in legal proceedings in the United States in lieu of the foreign death certificate. The Report of Death is based on the foreign death certificate, and cannot be completed until the foreign death certificate has been issued. This can sometimes take from four to six weeks or longer after the date of the death, depending on how long it takes local authorities to complete the local form. U.S. Embassies and Consulates work with local authorities to see that this time is as short as possible.

Copies Of The Report Of Death:
The U.S. consular officer will send the family up to 20 certified copies of the Report of Death at the time the initial report is issued. These are provided at no fee. Additional copies can be obtained subsequently by contacting the Department of State, Passport Services, Correspondence Branch, 1111 19th Street, N.W., Suite 510, Washington, D.C. 20522-1705, tel (202) 955-0307. Submit a signed, written request including all pertinent facts along with requester's return address and telephone number. Effective June 1, 2002, there is a $30 fee for a certified copy of Reports of Death, and a $20 fee for each additional copy provided at the same time. See Federal Register, May 16, 2002, Volume 67, Number 95, Rules and Regulations, Page 34831-34838; 22 CFR 22.1, Item 43 (a) and 43(f). Fees are payable to the Department of State. See also the Department of State, Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at under"Passport Services"for further information about obtaining copies of Reports of Death.

Legal Authority:
U.S. insurance companies and other agencies sometimes inquire regarding the authority for issuance of Reports of Death. See 22 U.S. Code 4196; 22 Code of Federal Regulations 72.1.

Additional Information:
For additional information concerning Reports of Death, contact the appropriate geographic division of the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management, Department of State, 2201 C Street N.W., Room 4817 N.S., Washington, D.C. 20520, tel: (202) 647-5225 or (202) 647-5226.

More Information

Return of Remains of Deceased Americans
Estates of Deceased U.S. Citizens
Inter-country Transfer of the Proceeds of an Estate
Affidavit of Surviving Spouse or Next of Kin
National Archives: Deaths of U.S. Citizens in Foreign Countries