Death of a U.S. Citizen

The death of an American citizen abroad should be reported as soon as possible. In cases where no family members were traveling with the deceased American, a Consular Officer locates and notifies the decedent’s next-of-kin. The Embassy also informs the individual’s family about options and costs for disposition of remains. To read the annual report of disposition of remains, please click here.

In Moldova, if a foreigner dies unexpectedly, the state requires an autopsy to ascertain the cause of death. After the autopsy, the decedent is moved to the local morgue in advance of preparation by a local funeral director. At this stage, next-of-kin may choose either to bring the deceased home, or to arrange for local burial.

Costs for preparing and returning a deceased individual’s body to the United States from Moldova are generally quite high and must be paid by the family unless appropriate insurance was acquired in advance. Often, local laws and procedures can make the return of remains to the United States a lengthy process. On average, 10 days to 14 days should be expected for return although it can take significantly longer depending on the circumstances of death.

Consular Report of Death Abroad

Moldovan authorities issue two important documents after the death of an individual and those are the Death Certificate and a separate Medical Certificate/Autopsy Report. The Embassy combines the information and prepares a Consular Report of Death Abroad, which is the equivalent of a U.S. Death Certificate for resolving legal matters in the United States.  The Embassy will provide 20 copies of the Consular Report of Death Abroad to the decedent’s next-of-kin free of charge. Additional copies are provided for a fee. Please note that it will take four to eight weeks to receive the Consular Report of Death Abroad in the United States. The Embassy will also cancel the decedent’s U.S. passport and return it to the next-of-kin and report the death to the appropriate government agencies if the decedent was receiving federal benefits.

For more information on the Consular Report of the Death of an American Abroad, and other services that a consular officer can help you with when a loved one passes away overseas, see the links below.

Additional Resources