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Death of a U.S. Citizen

Registration of Death Abroad

Providing support to the family of a deceased American citizen is one of the primary functions of the U.S. Embassy in Malta. Even if no assistance is needed in making funeral arrangements, the death of an U.S. citizen must be immediately reported to the U.S. Embassy regardless of whether he or she is a resident or tourist in Malta. You can contact the U.S. Embassy at ACSMalta@state.gov. The U.S. Embassy issues a Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad for every civilian American who dies in Malta, which is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.  We provide 10 copies of the document free of charge.

The U.S. Embassy can act as liaison in arranging the disposition of remains and help forward personal effects. The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges, shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable).

Additional information regarding death of a U.S. citizen abroad is available at the Department of State website.

A non-exhaustive list of undertakers in Malta is available here.

How Can I Obtain a Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad?

Documents required to obtain a Consular report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad are:

  • The most recent U.S. passport, or other proof of citizenship; e.g. a naturalization certificate, a U.S. birth certificate, and a consular Report of Birth;
  • The official death certificate issued by the local authorities;
  • Medical certificate showing date, hour, and cause of death, signed by the local physician.

The following information will be required:

  • The Social Security Number;
  • The place of death: e.g. name and address of the hospital;
  • The name and address of the next of kin;
  • The disposal of the remains (in case of burial: name of cemetery);
  • The latest local address;
  • The latest address in the United States.

How Can Remains Be Transported to the United States

*Please note, cremation services are not currently performed in Malta.  

Maximum period before burial:
Maltese law requires at least 24 hours between time of death and time of burial. The Health Authorities have the right to order the burial of a corpse should it feel that it may contain infectious diseases or if there is an advanced stage of decomposition.

Maltese law prohibits disinterment for two years following burial.

Exportation of remains:
The regulations require the following:

  • That the body has been duly embalmed by means of formalin and saline injected into the veins and arteries
  • That the coffin is hermetically sealed in a zinc box in the presence of Port Health Inspector
  • That the zinc box is placed inside a wooden box or coffin
  • That the coffin would be sealed in an airtight cover or a sealed wooden packing box
  • That the following documentation is attached to the coffin:
    • A certificate of death stating the cause thereof
    • A certificate of identity of the deceased stating that the contents of the coffin are the true remains of the deceased in question
    • A certificate of embalming stating the embalming process carried out
    • A certificate by the Public Health Authorities stating that the coffin has been hermetically sealed in the presence of a port health inspector and that the deceased is free of infectious diseases
    • A Burial Permit by the Police (this is also valid for international transportation or cremation)
      Depending on the destination of the coffin some other documentation may be required (eg. Translations, apostille, Permit from the embassy).

Approximate cost for repatriation of a deceased to the United States:

  • Approximately €5,000

Cost for an average type local funeral and burial:

  • Approximately €2,000

For more information about autopsies, we recommend contacting the Head of the Pathology Department at Mater Dei Hospital.

Money can be transferred from the U.S. using private companies, such as Western Union, or via the Department of State’s OCS/TRUST system or directly transferred to a local funeral home bank account in Malta. For more information on transferring money, visit our page Sending Money to a U.S. Citizen Overseas.