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Death of a U.S. Citizen
June 23, 2021


The U.S. embassy or consulate American Citizens Services  (ACS) unit can assist family and friends in the event of the death of a U.S. citizen in Mexico.

Our Role

  • Confirm the death, identity, and U.S. citizenship of the deceased.
  • Attempt to locate and notify the next-of-kin.
  • Coordinate with local funeral home contracted by next-of-kin or legal representative.  See our Local Resources page to search for a funeral home in Mexico.
  • Coordinate with the legal representative regarding the disposition of the remains and the personal effects of the deceased.
  • Issue a Consular Mortuary Certificate in accordance with instructions from next-of-kin or legal representative to ensure orderly shipment of remains and facilitate U.S. Customs clearance. The certificate is in English and confirms essential information concerning the cause of death.
  • Issue a Consular Report of Death of an U.S. Citizen Abroad to the next-of-kin or legal representative for use in settling estate matters in the United States (see below).

The Department of State has no funds to assist in the return of remains or ashes of U.S. citizens who die abroad. The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges, shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable), and carry out funeral arrangements with assistance from the contracted funeral home.

Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad

Upon issuance of a Mexican death certificate, the U.S. Embassy or consulate may prepare a Consular Report of the Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad. Copies of that report are provided to the next-of-kin or legal representative and may be used in U.S. courts to settle estate matters. To prepare this document, consular staff will need original evidence of U.S. citizenship and identity of the decedent and the original Mexican death certificate.

Additional copies can be obtained by contacting the Department of State Passport Vital Records Section.  For more information go to: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/records-and-authentications/requesting-a-vital-record-as-a-u-s–citizen.html

Return of Remains of Deceased U.S. Citizens

The U.S. embassy or consulate assists families in making arrangements with local authorities for preparation and disposition of the remains.

U.S. and foreign law require documentation before remains can be sent from one country to another:

  • Consular mortuary certificate
  • Affidavit of local funeral director
  • Transit permit.
  • Mexican authorities will often request identification documents for both the next-of-kin and the decedent, such as passports, birth certificates, or marriage certificates.

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.  Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.

Additional Resources