Death of a U.S. Citizen

Death is a time of crisis for family and friends no matter where it takes place.  When the death of a loved one occurs overseas, the experience can be even more traumatic.

In the unfortunate event that a U.S. citizen dies in the Philippines, we can help you make arrangements for return of remains to the United States or for burial or cremation in the Philippines.  There are, however, no U.S. government funds available to cover any of the expenses involved.  The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges and shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable).

Please report the death of a U.S. citizen in the Philippines to us as soon as possible.  Consular staff will notify the next of kin, if necessary, and carry out their instructions regarding disposition of remains.  Depending on the circumstances, it might take until the next business day for us to provide additional information.

To report a death of a U.S. citizen in the Philippines, send us an email at ACSInfoManila@state.gov that includes the information listed below, and include “Death of a U.S. Citizen” in the subject line.

  • Full name of the deceased U.S. citizen.
  • Date and place of birth.
  • U.S. passport number, if known.
  • Last known residence, if known.
  • Date, place, and circumstances of death.
  • Name, address, email address, and telephone of the next of kin and/or any relatives, if known.
  • Whether you and/or family members/legal representatives have been in contact with the Philippine authorities regarding the death.

The U.S. Embassy will issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad based on the Philippine death certificate.  This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.

While the best way to reach us is via email, you may reach us by telephone, if necessary:

  • U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services (in the United States):
    From the U.S. & Canada +1-888-407-4747
    From Overseas +1-202-501-4444

If your loved one was a veteran of the U.S. military or received benefits from the U.S. federal government, you may wish to contact the Veterans Affairs Manila Regional Office and/or the Federal Benefits Unit.

We maintain a list of funeral homes in the Philippines that have indicated they are willing and able to work with families of U.S. citizens to return remains to the United States.  The next of kin or legal representative should contact a funeral home as soon as possible following the death of a U.S. citizen in the Philippines, as health laws require prompt disposition of remains.  The remains are handled in accordance with the laws of and facilities available in the Philippines and, in some cases, the services may fall short of those expected in the United States.  The next of kin or legal representative should consider hiring a local funeral home in the United States if the remains will be returned for burial.  The remains must first be embalmed or cremated, unless this requirement is waived for religious reasons, before return to the United States.  The Embassy can assist in arranging return of remains, but we cannot cover any costs.

Estimated Costs of Mortuary Services in the Manila Area

The cost for preparation and burial in Manila – approximately U.S.$2,500
The cost for cremation and disposition of ashes in Manila – approximately U.S.$2,500
Preparation and air shipment of remains; Manila to U.S. – U.S.$8,000.00
Cremation and air shipment of ashes; Manila to U.S. – U.S.$3,000.00

Costs will vary depending on the specific circumstances and location of the deceased and final destination in the United States, as well as the U.S. Dollar/Philippine Peso exchange rate.

Ongoing flight restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may delay return of remains and increase costs.

We will prepare a Consular Report of Death Abroad (CRODA) for each U.S. citizen whose death in the Philippines is reported to the Embassy.  The CRODA is based on the Philippine death certificate and is valid for use in the United States.  The next of kin will find this report useful in dealing with insurance companies, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or in any situation in which they need proof of the death.

The Embassy completes the CRODA upon submission of the following:

  1. Original or certified copy of the registered death certificate from the local civil registry in the Philippines.
  2. Deceased’s original U.S. passport or other proof of U.S. citizenship, if available.
  3. Valid identification card or passport of the applicant/next-of-kin, along with proof of relationship with the deceased.

You may scan copies of the requested documents and email them to ACSInfoManila@state.gov.   If you are outside the Philippines and need assistance obtaining the local death certificate, please contact us at ACSInfoManila@state.gov.

We will send you certified copies of the CRODA as soon as it is completed.  If you need additional copies of a CRODA after it has been issued by the Embassy, please contact the U.S. Department of State’s Passport Vital Records Section.

CDC requirements for importing human remains depend upon if the body has been embalmed, cremated, or if the person died from a quarantinable communicable disease.

At this time, COVID-19 is a quarantinable communicable disease in the United States and the remains must meet the standards for importation found in 42 Code of Federal Regulations Part 71.55 and may be cleared, released, and authorized for entry into the United States only under the following conditions:

  • The remains are cremated; OR
  • The remains are properly embalmed and placed in a hermetically sealed casket; OR
  • The remains are accompanied by a permit issued by the CDC Director. The CDC permit (if applicable) must accompany the human remains at all times during shipment.
    • Permits for the importation of the remains of a person known or suspected to have died from a quarantinable communicable disease may be obtained through the CDC Division of Global Migration and Quarantine by calling the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100 or emailing dgmqpolicyoffice@cdc.gov.

Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.

In the case of a death of a U.S. citizen, the Embassy will issue a Consular Mortuary Certificate and other required documents at no cost if the remains are to be shipped to the United States.  We provide this service by appointment only.  To assist the Embassy in preparing the mortuary certificate, the next of kin or funeral home representative should submit original or certified copies of the following documents:

  • Two certified copies of the local death certificate.
  • Proof of citizenship, such as U.S. passport or certificate of naturalization of the deceased.
  • Original transit permit from city hall.
  • Confirmed airline booking.
  • Airway bill number.
  • Consignee information.
  • Embalmer’s certificate (for remains).
  • Certificate of cremation (for ashes).
  • Passport or other valid IDs of the signatory to the mortuary certificate (typically the funeral home representative).
  • Exhumation of remains certificate/permit (for those who died in the Philippines more than five years ago).
  • Quarantine permit.
  • Mortuary Certificate from the Philippine Embassy/Consulate (if remains/ashes were from the United States).

To obtain a Consular Mortuary Certificate for the shipment of remains in the death of a non-U.S. citizen to the United States, there is a fee of U.S. $60, payable by credit card, U.S. Dollars, or Philippine Pesos at the time of application.

To make an appointment for a Consular Mortuary Certificate, please email us at ACSInfoManila@state.gov.

Family members, friends, or the deceased’s legal representative may make payment arrangements directly with the selected funeral home in the Philippines.  Or, the U.S. Embassy can assist with necessary arrangements once funds are received from relatives, friends, or other representatives of the deceased.  You may transfer funds to the Embassy via the Department of State’s Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) Trust process.  For more information on the OCS Trust process, see the Department of State’s webpage on Sending Money to U.S. Citizens Abroad.  The Embassy must have confirmation from the Department of State that the necessary funds have been deposited before we are able to provide your instructions regarding arrangements to the funeral home.  Keep in mind that costs for funeral arrangements and transportation of remains will fluctuate based on inflation and exchange rates.