Death of an American Citizen Abroad
Death is a time of crisis for one’s family and friends no matter where it takes place. If a death occurs overseas, the experience can be even more traumatic, especially if the procedures involved are not clearly understood.
If your family member passes away in Mali, the U.S. Embassy will provide you, the next-of kin, with information to assist you in understanding the process and provide you with guidance to help you make important decisions.
Any death of a U.S. citizen should be reported immediately to the U.S. Embassy, regardless if the family needs assistance with the disposition of remains. If you are aware of a death of an American citizen who passed away in Mali, please click here.
There are several important things that you, as the next-of-kin, must consider. The U.S. Embassy is ready to assist you with any of these steps. Please feel free to contact the Consular Section, at any point in the process.
For your convenience, we have provided some information below that may be of assistance:
Communicating Your Instructions
Once you, the next-of-kin, have made a decision regarding the disposition of your loved one’s remains and personal effects, you must send a Letter of Instruction to ensure that your wishes are carried out completely and accurately.
Please click here (PDF – 201kb) for a template of the letter. We ask you to send your instructions by fax (or scan and email to firstname.lastname@example.org) and send the original signed copy by mail to the U.S. Embassy in Bamako at the following address:
Consular Section, U.S. Embassy Bamako
ACI 2000, Rue 243, Porte 297
BP 34 Bamako, Mali
Cost Associated with a Death Abroad
As the Department of State has no funds to assist in the cost associated with a death abroad, the family may be required to send funds to cover the costs of the disposition of remains.
You can contact the Consular Section for more information.
Many factors can affect how much time will be needed to prepare your loved one’s remains for return to the United States. To prevent undue hardship, it is best not to make unchangeable plans for ceremonies and other events until the U.S. Embassy and the funeral home you are working with can provide a firm timetable.
Consular Report of Death Abroad
Upon completion of all formalities, the Consular Section prepares an official report of death (Consular Report of Death Abroad) based upon the local death certificate.
The Consular Report of Death Abroad is a document, in English, that is based upon the Malian death certificate; it provides essential facts about the death, disposition of remains, and custody of the estate of the deceased American. The report is generally used in legal proceedings in the U.S. as proof of death.
The report is sent to the next-of-kin and/or the legal representative to help settle estate matters. We will send up to ten certified copies at the time of death free of charge.
If you require more certified copies at any time, they can be obtained through the Department of State, Passport Vital Records Section. Please click here, for information about how to make a request for additional certified copies.
For more information on deaths of American citizens abroad, please visit the Department of State webpage.
Disposition of Remains Related to COVID-19
Disposition of Remains Related to COVID-19
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.
At this time, COVID-19 is a quarantinable communicable disease in the United States and 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 through the CDC Division of Global Migration and Quarantine by calling the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100 or emailing email@example.com.
Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.