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 American citizen must be immediately reported to the Embassy regardless of whether he or she is a resident or tourist in Malta.  You can contact the Embassy at  The 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 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.


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, a consular Report of Birth;
  • The official death certificate issued by the local authorities;
  • Medical certificate showing date and 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.

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 costs for repatriation of a deceased to the United States.
BOS, MIA, IAH, SFO: €4,350

LAX, IAD, ATL, ORD, JFK: €4,550

(Updated March 14, 2018)

The above costs include the following:

-The full embalming and preparation of the deceased for international travel
– Supply of standard type wooden coffin with interior zinc lined box and canvas sealed cover conforming with international health and airline regulations
– Registration of death, documentation handling, administration of all required permits etc…
– Hearse service from the mortuary to the airport
– Pallbearers services and transport
– Port Health authority tax for repatriation of a deceased

These costs are based on the following assumptions:
– The coffin including contents will not exceed 140kgs
– The death occurs at Mater Dei Hospital or St James Capua Hospital
– No medical or hospital bills are included
– Fuel prices as at 14/3/2018

Quote does not include:

– Removal of the deceased from place of death to the mortuary
– Flowers
– Religious services
– Medical fees
– Coffin upgrade
– Payment processing fees or bank charges
– Any other service or extra not listed above

Cost for an average type local funeral and burial with the services listed below will amount to €2,000

Full embalming and preparation of the deceased
A quality mahogany or oak veneer coffin
The services of a hearse from the hospital to church and the cemetery
A car for the priest or the family
Four coffin bearers and their transport
A standard type wreath or flower arrangement
Administrative expenses, documentation handling and sundries
Professional funeral direction and handling fees
Burial fees or standard gratuity to cemetery gravediggers
VAT @ 18%

Not included: Church fees (if applicable and subject to choice of Parish), music in church

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.