Death of a U.S. Citizen

Reporting the Death of an American

The death of a U.S. citizen should be reported immediately to the Embassy. The Embassy will notify the next of kin, if necessary, and carry out their instructions regarding the disposition of remains. Additionally, unless the legal next of kin is in the Philippines, the Embassy may act on behalf of the executor as the provisional custodian of the estate.

During working hours contact the American Citizen Services Unit (Tel: +63 (02) 301-2000 X 2246.) After working hours, the Embassy duty officer should be contacted as soon as possible at +63 (02) 301-2000.

The toll-free telephone number for the office of Overseas Citizen’s Services (OCS) in the Department of State is +1 (888) 407-4747. Outside the US or Canada dial +1 (317) 472-2328. The hotline is available during the hours 8:45 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday. At all other times, please call the Department of State at +1 (202) 647-4000.

The Embassy is required to report the death of American civilians to their next of kin and to the Department of State. Consequently, we need to know the deceased person’s name, date and place of birth, passport number, date and place of death, cause of death, and the location of the remains. We also need the full name and address of the next of kin so that we can determine their instructions regarding arrangements for the deceased.

Once the death certificate is issued by Philippine authorities, the Embassy will prepare a Consular Report of Death of An American Citizen Abroad. This document will assist the next of kin with legal matters that may arise as a result of the death.

If the next of kin or another individual who is responsible for making the funeral arrangements is in the Philippines, a suitable funeral home should be contacted (click this link for list – PDF 44 KB). Philippine health laws require prompt disposition of the remains. The remains are handled in accordance with the laws of and facilities available in the Philippines and, in some cases, the services fall short of those expected in the U.S. If the remains are being returned to the U.S. for burial, it is recommended that your local funeral director be contacted prior to any arrangements.

If the remains are shipped to the U.S. they must first be embalmed or cremated, unless waived for approved religious reasons. The Embassy can assist in the arranging of this, though all costs must be paid by the next of kin. There are several funeral homes in the Philippines that have provided adequate embalming services in the past.

Estimated Costs of Mortuary Services in the Manila Area

The cost for preparation and burial in Manila – $2,500.00
The cost for cremation and disposition of ashes in Manila approximately $2,500.00
Preparation and air shipment of remains; Manila to U.S. – $8,000.00
Cremation and air shipment of ashes; Manila to U.S. – $3,000.00

These estimated costs may vary depending on the specific circumstances and location of the deceased. The varying exchange rate of the U.S. Dollar and the Philippine Peso will also affect these costs.

The Embassy prepares a Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad for each U.S. citizen who dies in the Philippines and whose death is reported to the Embassy. This certificate 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, Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, or in any situation in which he/she will need proof of death.

The Embassy completes the report upon submission of the following:

  • the original U.S. passport of the deceased and/or certificate of naturalization (if applicable)
  • original or original certified copy of the local death certificate
  • completed Form DS-2060
  • copy of passport or other photo identification of the next-of-kin, and
  • original or original certified copies of documents establishing relationship of the next-of-kin to the deceased (i.e. will, marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.)
  • Please include an email address that we can use to reach you.  Although not required, it helps us contact you more easily in case we have further questions, and may speed up the issuance process.
To request a copy of a Consular Report of Death of An American Citizen Abroad (CRODA), please contact the U.S. Department of State’s Passport Vital Records Section.

The Embassy will also issue a consular mortuary certificate and other documents needed if the remains are to be shipped to the United States.

To assist the Embassy in preparing the mortuary certificate, the next-of-kin or representative from the funeral parlor 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
  • 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 (affidavit)
  • Exhumation of remains certificate/permit (for those who died in the Philippines more than 5 years ago)
  • Quarantine permit
  • Mortuary Certificate from the Philippine Embassy/Consulate (if remains/ashes were from the U.S.)

There is a fee of $60 for the Consular Mortuary Certificate for the shipment of remains of non-U.S. citizens, please prepare the items above.

Family members of the deceased U.S. citizen and funeral home representatives may obtain the Consular Mortuary Certificate from Window 1, American Citizen Services anytime between 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, except Philippine and U.S. holidays.

Costs for funeral arrangements for a deceased American citizen are expensive and the estimated costs will fluctuate with inflation and exchange rates. If costs are to be borne by relatives or friends in the United States, the US Embassy can assist with necessary arrangements once funds are received from relatives or friends. Funds can be transferred to the Department of State for use in these situations via an Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) Trust.  For more information on providing funds via OCS Trust, please visit the Department of State’s web page on Sending Money to U.S. Citizens Abroad. Family members may also choose to make payment arrangements directly with the funeral home.

Please note that the Department charges a $30.00 processing fee for OCS Trusts.  Western Union will also charge a fee for the money transfer. Any unused funds from an OCS Trust will be returned after all bills have been paid. If funds are being provided from the United States, the Embassy must have confirmation from the State Department that the necessary funds have been deposited before instructing the funeral home to make the necessary arrangements. Therefore, it is imperative that the necessary funds and instructions are provided as soon as possible after a death occurs. Next of kin may contact the Embassy directly to convey instructions for the disposition of the remains.