Death of a U.S. Citizen

The U.S. Embassy Kampala is ready to assist in the event of the death of a U.S. citizen in Uganda. The American Citizen Services unit can:

  • Confirm the death, identity, and U.S. citizenship of the deceased.
  • Notify the next-of-kin.*
  • Provide information about the disposition of the remains and personal effects of the deceased.
  • Prepare documents for the disposition of the remains in accordance with instructions from the next-of-kin or legal representative.
  • Provide guidance on forwarding funds to cover costs.
  • Serve as provisional conservator of the estate if there is no legal representative in the country.
  • Send the Consular Report of Death Abroad to the next-of-kin or legal representative for use in settling estate matters in the United States.

*Next-of-kin is established in the following order:

  1. legal spouse
  2. if no spouse, then all children
  3. if no children, then all parents
  4. if no parents, then all siblings
  5. if no siblings, then all grandparents.

During working hours contact the American Citizen Services Unit at (256) 414-306-800. After working hours, the Embassy duty officer should be contacted as soon as possible at (256) 414-306-001.

The toll-free telephone number for the office of Overseas Citizen’s Services (OCS) in the Department of State is +1 (888) 407-4747. Outside the US or Canada dial +1 (317) 472-2328. The hotline is available during the hours 8:45 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday. At all other times, please call the Department of State at +1 (202) 647-4000.

Disposition of Remains

We maintain a list of funeral homes in Uganda that have indicated they are willing and able to work with families of U.S. citizens to return remains to the United States.  The next of kin or legal representative should contact a funeral home as soon as possible following the death of a U.S. citizen in Uganda, as health laws require prompt disposition of remains.  The remains are handled in accordance with the laws of and facilities available in Uganda and, in some cases, the services may fall short of those expected in the United States.  The next of kin or legal representative should consider hiring a local funeral home in the United States if the remains will be returned for burial.  The remains must first be embalmed or cremated, unless this requirement is waived for religious reasons, before return to the United States.  The Embassy can assist in arranging return of remains, but we cannot cover any costs.

When a U.S. citizen dies abroad, U.S. consular officers assist families in making arrangements with local authorities for preparation and disposition of the remains  Options available to a family depend upon local law and practice in Uganda.  U.S. and foreign law require some documents before remains can be sent from one country to another: Consular mortuary certificate, affidavit of local funeral director, and transit permit.  Additional documents may be required depending on the circumstances of the death.

  • Consular Mortuary Certificate: The consular officer prepares the consular mortuary certificate, which ensures orderly shipment of remains and facilitates U.S. Customs clearance. The certificate is in English and confirms essential information concerning the cause of death.

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 dgmqpolicyoffice@cdc.gov.

Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.

Estimated Costs of Mortuary Services in the Kampala Area

The cost for preparation and local burial in Uganda – approximately $3,500
The cost for cremation and disposition of ashes locally – approximately $2,800 to $ 3,600
Preparation and air shipment of remains; Kampala to U.S. – approximately $9,000

These estimated costs may vary depending on the specific circumstances and location of the deceased.

Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad (CRODA)

The Embassy prepares a Consular Report of Death Abroad (CRODA) for each U.S. citizen who dies in Uganda and whose death is reported to the Embassy.  The CRODA is based on the Ugandan death certificate and is valid for use in the United States.  The next-of-kin will find this report useful in dealing with insurance companies, Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, or in any situation in which he/she will need proof of death.

The Embassy completes the report upon submission of the following:

  1. original or certified copy of the duly registered local death certificate from the local civil registry
  2. deceased’s original US passport, if available
  3. completed DS-2060 form (Guidance for Completing the DS-2060 form and sample form)
  4. a copy of next-of-kin’s valid passport or other valid ID

Note:  The Embassy may require other documents, depending on individual circumstances.  Please include an email address we can use to reach you.  Although not required, it helps us contact you more easily in case we have further questions, and may speed up the issuance process.

Please submit these documents to the U.S. Embassy in person.  To schedule an appointment, please e-mail KampalaUSCitizen@state.gov. If the documents will be submitted by a family or legal representative in lieu of the next-of-kin, please provide an authorization letter from the next-of-kin.

We will send you certified copies of the CRODA after it is completed.  For further inquiries, please contact the U.S. Embassy Kampala at KampalaUSCitizen@state.gov.

If you need additional copies of a CRODA after it has already been issued by the Embassy, please contact the U.S. Department of State’s Passport Vital Records Section.

Repatriation of Remains

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 dgmqpolicyoffice@cdc.gov.

Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.

The Embassy will also issue a consular mortuary certificate and other documents needed if the remains are to be shipped to the United States.

To assist the Embassy in preparing the mortuary certificate, the next-of-kin or representative from the funeral home should submit original or certified copies of the following documents:

  • Two certified copies of the local death certificate
  • Proof of citizenship, such as U.S. passport or certificate of naturalization
  • Cause of Death Certificate
  • Post Mortem Report
  • Free From Infection Report – obtained from the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA)
  • Undertaker’s Certificate
  • Cremation Certificate or Embalming Record and Certificate
  • Confirmed airline booking
  • Airway bill number
  • Consignee information
  • Embalmer’s certificate (for remains)
  • Certificate of cremation (for ashes)
  • Passport or other valid IDs of the signatory to the mortuary certificate (affidavit)
  • Exhumation of remains certificate/permit (for those who died in the Uganda more than 5 years ago)
  • Quarantine permit

Please note that repatriation is required to be in a sealed Zinc Lined coffin.  Coffins are readily available in country.