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Death of a U.S. Citizen

If a U.S. citizen passes away while in India, the American Citizen Services Unit can act as a liaison in arranging the disposition of remains and it can help forward any personal effects if there is no one in India to do so.

The 24-hour phone number for the Consulate is 3984-2400.  If you are calling from the United States, first dial 011-91-33-.

Even if no assistance is needed, the death of a U.S. citizen, whether a resident or a tourist, should be reported to the Consulate so that a “Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” can be issued. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.

Disposition of Remains

  • The 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. Only the embalmed remains can be held in cold storage until instructions are received from the next of kin about disposition of the remains.
  • The Consulate will assist in arranging documentation for those remains to be shipped to the U.S., and will oversee the preparations. 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.

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.

Consular Report of Death Abroad

This document is an official report written in English and is based on the Indian death certificate. It is acceptable in U.S. courts and is required for insurance purposes and settling an estate in the U.S.

We will issue the Report of Death Abroad when the next of kin or friend of the deceased brings the following documents to the Embassy:

  • Original death certificate from local authorities.
  • Doctor's report with cause of death listed.
  • Original passport of the deceased. Please be aware that, to issue a Report of Death Abroad, a consular officer is required to cancel the deceased's passport.
  • We regret that we do not have funds to help with shipping remains or other costs associated with funeral arrangements.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Embassy with questions.  If you are unsure which Embassy or Consulate to contact, check this list of consular districts and contact information.

General information on the range of emergency services available to U.S. citizens overseas is available here.