Death of a U.S. Citizen

Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad 

The Bureau of Consular Affairs will locate and inform the next-of-kin of the U.S. citizen’s death and provides information on how to make arrangements for local burial or return of the remains to the United States. The disposition of remains is subject to U.S. law, local laws of the country where the individual died, U.S. and foreign customs requirements, and the foreign country facilities, which are often vastly different from those in the United States.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs assists the next-of-kin to convey instructions to the appropriate offices within the foreign country, and provides information to the family on how to transmit the necessary private funds to cover the costs overseas. The Department of State has no funds to assist in the return of remains or ashes of U.S. citizens who die abroad. Upon issuance of a local death certificate, the nearest embassy or consulate may prepare a Consular Report of the Death of an American 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.

A U.S. consular officer overseas has statutory responsibility for the personal estate of a U.S. citizen who dies abroad if the deceased has no legal representative or next-of-kin in the country where the death occurred, subject to local law.  In that situation the consular officer takes possession of personal effects, such as jewelry, personal documents and papers, and clothing. The officer prepares an inventory of the personal effects and then carries out instructions from the legal representative or next-of-kin concerning the effects.

To complete the Report of the Death Abroad, the next-of-kin or legal representative will have to complete and submit a list of information and documents. The initial document which needs to be completed is the DS-2060 (PDF). 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 Additional Resources on the right.

Below is information about options for disposition of remains in Guinea.

Disposition of Remains

Maximum Period before Burial in Conakry: There are no local regulations regarding the time period before burial.

Embalming: There are no local regulations regarding embalming; however, due to the climate it is suggested that embalming should be carried out within 24 – 48 hours after death.

Cremation: Local regulations prohibit cremation of remains.

Caskets and Containers: Coffins are available for purchase locally on relatively short notice (around 3 days). They could also be purchased from the U.S. and German embassies.

Exportation of Remains: When remains are to be transported out of the country, the body is first embalmed and prepared for shipment. It is then place in a galvanized tin coffin within a wooden coffin that is placed in a wooden packing case that can support the weight of the complete container and body.

Costs

The estimated charges shown below are based on the U.S. dollar to Guinean franc exchange rate of October, 2017. All costs are approximations and subject to change without notice.

Local Burial: US $400.The estimated fee includes collection and transportation of remains, wooden coffin, preparation and washing of the body and a burial plot in a public cemetery. This price does not include embalming. Also, if the remains won’t be exported, a coffin is not required.

Embalming: US $50 to $700. The estimated fee is dependent on the state of the remains. Refrigerated storage of unembalmed remains is available to help retard tissue decomposition. See contacts for more information.

Refrigerated Storage of Remains: US $6 to $100. The estimated fee includes alternative cold storage using ice packs as there are frequent power outages which could affect refrigeration systems.

Transportation of remains to Conakry from within Guinea: Transportation costs are calculated per kilometer. The following are estimated fees from various cities within Guinea:

City of Departure Estimated Cost
Kankan US $450 to $550
N’zerekore US $675 to $775
Labe US $450 to $550

 

Preparation of remains for shipment to the U.S.: US $1600 to $2800. Fees include embalming, preparation and washing of the body, collection and transportation of remains to airport, coffin, shipping crate and storage. The following are estimated fees from Conakry to various U.S. cities:

Destination City Estimated Cost
New York US $4000
Washington, D.C. US $4300
Atlanta US $4800

 

Exhumations: Exhumation requires a no fee judge-issued ordinance. Additionally, authorization must be issued by both the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Territorial Administrations, Secretariat of Security. Each authorization carries a US $12 fee. The fee to exhume the body is US $36.

Remarks: Preparing remains for shipment to the United States is a potentially difficult process. Many factors can be attributed to the potential difficulties, with quality of embalming and transportation difficulties being paramount.

Contacts: When calling Guinea from the U.S., add 011 to the telephone number (For example, 011 224-123-45-67-89)

NOTE: Pr. Bah and Dr. Konate are the only doctors in Guinea qualified to act as morticians for exportation purposes.

Name Location Phone Number E-mail Address
Dr. Thierno Diallo Donka Hospital Mortuary +224 622 88 82 52/+224 669 54 54 73 drcherif2003@yahoo.fr
Pr. Hassane Bah Ignace Deen Hospital Mortuary +224 664 44 90 09/+224 620 42 90 90
Dr. Gabriel Konate Ignace Deen Hospital Mortuary +224 657 21 25 45
Dr. Saidouba Bangoura Ignace Deen Hospital Mortuary +224 664 48 06 40/+224 655 08 08 02
Dr. Tolno Fara Georges Ignace Deen Hospital Mortuary +224 664 60 48 65/+224 628 47 62 76