Death of a U.S. Citizen

Death is a difficult experience for one’s family and friends no matter where it takes place. When death occurs overseas the experience can be even harder, especially if the procedures involved are not clearly understood.

American Citizen Services (ACS) is ready to assist family and friends in the event of the death of an American Citizen in Eritrea.  Our services include:

  • Finding and notifying the Next-of-Kin of the deceased
  • Acting as a liaison with Eritrean police, hospital and mortuary authorities
  • Helping to arrange for the disposition and repatriation of remains
  • Helping to coordinate administrative and financial requirements
  • Assisting in the collection and return of personal effects to Next-of-Kin
  • Issuing a “Report of Death of American Citizen Abroad”

Notification of Next-of-Kin

In the event that a U.S. citizen dies while unaccompanied in Eritrea, the American Citizen Services (ACS) section will find the Next-of-Kin of the deceased and contact that person as soon as possible. There are several important things that the Next-of-Kin must do in conjunction with the ACS office. These include:

  • Returning a signed and notarized “Affidavit of Next-of-Kin”.
  • Choosing method of disposition of remains
  • Arranging payment of mortuary and related expenses in Eritrea
  • Arranging return of any personal possessions of the deceased

Affidavit of Next-of-Kin and Letter of Instruction

To act on the family’s behalf, the Embassy must have a signed, notarized copy of a document called an “Affidavit of Next-of-Kin.”  This form is critical because it shows us who is entitled to make the decisions regarding the deceased. Families should first fax or scan and email us a completed copy, and then mail the original.

Next-of-Kin are established in the following order:

  1. Spouse
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Grandparents

Disposition and Repatriation of Remains 

The next-of-kin may choose to have the remains buried locally or repatriated to the U.S.  Please see the link below for more information.

Return of Personal Effects

If a U.S. citizen does not have any family in Eritrea, the Embassy can, in some circumstances, take charge of personal effects and possessions of the deceased if instructed to do so by the Next-of-Kin.  We will conduct a thorough inventory of any personal effects and send a copy to the Next-of Kin. We can send the family any items they wish to have returned at their expense through the a delivery service (note that the cost may be very high). In cases where the estate of the deceased exceeds $1000, the Embassy will require more detailed legal documents, such as Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration, prior to releasing money or effects to the Next-of-Kin.

Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad

The “Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” is an official report, in English, that provides the essential facts concerning the death of a U.S. Citizen. It functions in much the same way as a death certificate issued in the United States and can be used to settle bank accounts, insurance policies and other estate matters.

This report can be issued only after the Kenyan authorities complete their documentation of the death and may take several weeks to be completed.  A minimum of 20 certified copies will be sent to the Next-of-Kin. Families may order additional certified copies from the Department of State for a fee.

Information on Disposition of Remains in Eritrea