Death of a U.S. Citizen

We Are Here to Help

We know that the death of a friend or loved one is a difficult time. We are here to help.

We can:

  • Help with forwarding personal effects.
  • Work with any funeral homes you select to ensure proper shipment documentation.
  • Act as a liaison in arranging the dispositions of remains.

Please note, the family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges and shipping costs for the remains and personal effects.

How to report the death of a U.S. citizen in India

The death of a U.S. citizen in India (resident or visitor) should be reported to the Embassy or Consulate responsible for the Indian state in which the U.S. citizen died so that a U.S. Consular Report of Death Abroad can be issued. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States. We can issue up to 20 copies free of charge. To request this certification, email the embassy or consulate responsible for the Indian state where the U.S. citizen died. You can find contact information for your nearest embassy or consulate here.

Consular Report of Death Abroad

The Consular Report of Death Abroad will be issued when the following documents are provided:

  • Original death certificate from local authorities.
  • Doctor’s report with cause of death listed.
  • Original passport of the deceased. Please be aware that a consular officer is required to cancel the deceased’s passport before the Consular Report of Death Abroad can be released.

Disposition of Remains

  • The Embassy/Consulate can communicate with the next of kin and communicate their wishes about the disposition of remains to the local authorities.
  • Indian regulations require that a deceased person must be cremated, buried, or embalmed within 72 hours of death. Embalmed remains can be held in cold storage until instructions are received from the next of kin about disposition of the remains.
  • The Embassy/Consulate will assist in arranging documentation for remains to be shipped to the United States and will assist with preparations according to the direction of the legal next of kin. All costs are the responsibility of the next of kin.
  • Please bear in mind that mortuary and embalming services are limited in India, and not always up to U.S. standards. The U.S. government does not provide funding to help with shipping remains or other costs associated with funeral arrangements.

Find a list of India-based undertakers for each consular district here under each post’s specific resources:

For a detailed report on the costs and logistics of transporting remains to the U.S. or arranging burial or cremation services in India, please read the disposition of remains report here.

Important information about transportation of remains in the case of confirmed or suspected Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not require an autopsy before the remains of a person who died overseas are returned to the United States. However, depending on the circumstances surrounding the death, some countries may require an autopsy. There likely will need to be an official identification of the body.

Currently, COVID-19 is a quarantinable communicable disease in the United States. This means that 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 by calling the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100 or by emailing Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information. If you are working with a funeral home in India, please contact them for further guidance.

You can seek support from the local embassy or consulate, travel insurance provider, tour operator, faith-based and aid organizations, and the deceased’s employer.