Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad
In the unfortunate case of the death of a U.S. Citizen abroad, the U.S. Consulate General Guadalajara can assist in a number of ways. If required, the Consulate will notify the next of kin of the deceased. The Consulate will also provide assistance in making arrangements for the disposition of the remains and, if desired, the shipment of the remains back to the United States. Costs for preparing and returning the remains from Mexico to the U.S. are the responsibility of the family.
At the request of the next of kin, the U.S. Consulate Guadalajara will prepare a Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad based on the local death certificate. This Report can be used as proof of death in most legal proceedings in the United States.
If the next of kin are present, the process is facilitated for both the Consulate staff and the grieving family. Please be considerate of your family, even if you choose to live away from them, and maintain an updated, easy-to-locate contact list for use in case of emergency or death.
In the event of a death of a U.S. citizen, the U.S. Consulate is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
To File a Consular Report of Death Abroad
In order to issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad, the Consulate will require the following documents:
The Mexican Death Certificate (Acta de Defunción);
Evidence of the deceased's U.S. citizenship, such as a passport, birth certificate, or Certificate of Naturalization;
The deceased's Social Security Number;
The next-of kin's photo I.D., address, and telephone number.
- If the next-of-kin's last name and the deceased's do not match, evidence of kinship is required, such as birth or marriage certificates.
All documents must be original.
As the next-of-kin, you will receive 20 certified copies of the Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad at no cost. If you need more copies, please request them at the beginning of the process. Later requests for additional copies must be processed through the Department of State in Washington for a fee.
To Ship Remains Back to the U.S.
If embalmed remains are to be shipped back to the U.S. for interment, the Mexican funeral home will provide documentation to accompany the casket. The Consulate will translate the documents and provide a transit letter in English, to satisfy U.S. Customs requirements. The document service is free, but the cost of transport may be greater than $5000 USD.
Due to Mexican law, unembalmed remains may not be transported. The U.S. Consulate is unable to assist anyone who wishes to transport unembalmed remains back to the U.S. for interment.
To Return to the U.S. with Cremated Ashes
Transporting cremated ashes back to the U.S. does not require any further documentation from the Consulate. You may carry the ashes with you in your hand luggage, accompanied by the Mexican Death Certificate (Acta de Defuncion) and a Constancia de Cremacion, which will be provided to you by the Mexican funeral home. The cost of cremation will probably be at least $1000 USD.
More information is available on the U.S. State Department's Internet site regarding:
U.S. Consulate Guadalajara
(52-33) 3268-2100 Passport & Citizenship Services
(52-33) 3268-2200 Special Consular Services
(52-33) 3825-1951 Fax
(52-33) 3268-2145 After Hours Duty Officer (Emergencies Only)
Visa Inquiries: email@example.com