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Death of a U.S. Citizen
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OVERVIEW

Name of Country: Malaysia

Death is a time of crisis for family and friends no matter where it takes place.  When the death of a loved one occurs overseas, the experience can be even more traumatic.

In the unfortunate event that a U.S. citizen dies in Malaysia, we can provide information on how to make arrangements for return of remains to the United States or for burial or cremation in Malaysia. There are, however, no U.S. government funds available to cover any of the expenses involved.  The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges and shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable).

Please report the death of a U.S. citizen in Malaysia to us as soon as possible.  Consular staff will notify the closest relative/next-of-kin or legal representative, if necessary, and carry out their instructions regarding disposition of remains.  Depending on the circumstances, it might take until the next business day for us to provide additional information.

To report a death of a U.S. citizen in Malaysia, send us an email at KLACS@state.gov that includes the information listed below, and include “Death of a U.S. Citizen” in the subject line.

  • Full name of the deceased U.S. citizen
  • Date and place of birth
  • U.S. passport number, if known
  • Last known residence, if known
  • Date, place, and circumstances of death
  • Does the deceased have a surviving spouse?  If yes, please provide the name, address, contact number and email address.
  • If the deceased was not married, does the deceased have children? If so, how many?  Who is the designated family representative?  Please provide the name, address, contact number and email address.
  • If there is no surviving spouse or children, please provide the closest relative/next-of-kin, or legal representative’s name, address, contact number and email address, if known.
  • If the deceased had a Last Will & Testament, please include a copy.
  • If the deceased did not have a Last Will & Testament but had substantial personal effects, please include a notarized Affidavit of Next-of-Kin (PDF 63KB)
    • This affidavit may be notarized at any U.S. or foreign notary, or the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur can notarize the affidavit free of charge.

The U.S. Embassy will issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad  based on the Malaysian death certificate.  This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.

Any death in Malaysia must be officially reported to the Malaysian National Registration Department once the determination on the cause of death has been made by either a hospital or the police.  The authorities will then work with the next-of-kin (or their designates) to complete the necessary documentation and funeral arrangements.  It will be necessary to hire a funeral director to arrange for burial or cremation in Malaysia, or shipment of the body or ashes to the United States.  A list of funeral directors who have worked with the families of Americans who have died in Malaysia can be found on this page.

 

MORTUARY ARRANGEMENTS IN MALAYSIA

  • Responsibility for the disposition of the deceased’s remains, including all related costs, rests with the surviving spouse, next-of-kin, or legal representative of the deceased.  However, the U.S. Embassy can help provide necessary documentation.  While each case is unique, if the deceased’s remains are held at a Malaysian public hospital, the Ministry of Health requires that the Embassy provide a “No Objection” letter before they will release the deceased’s remains to the undertaker or funeral director.  Note that private hospitals do not usually require this letter.  If you require a No Objection letter, please send a request to KLACS@state.gov with the following information: 

    • Name and contact information for the nextofkin or legal representative. 
    • Legal will or a signed and notarized Affidavit of Next-of-Kin (PDF 63KB), including any relevant supporting documentation (marriage certificate, etc.)
    • Name, contact information, and Malaysian ID number of the designated undertaker or funeral home representative who will collect the deceased’s remains.  

    Once complete, the U.S. Embassy will send the No Objection letter to the undertaker, next-of-kin, and the hospital.  Please note that a No Objection letter cannot be issued after hours, but can generally be issued within one business day once the above information/documentation is provided. 

    A full list of Malaysian funeral homes and related services may be found on the Malaysian Yellow Pages website here: https://yellowpages.my/services/l/others/funeral-service-providers-cemetaries .  Included below are several of the options utilized most frequently by U.S. citizens in Malaysia.

    DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians, and other service providers.

Most typical funeral services are available in Malaysia, including embalming, cremation, casket and urn sales, preparation and shipment for export, and exhumation services.  Unembalmed bodies are generally able to be stored in morgues in many parts of the country for up to thirty days while awaiting decisions about final disposition of remains.  In cases where there is a suspicion of unnatural death, the police can request that an autopsy be performed.  The preliminary findings of the cause of death are typically completed within one week.  However, the final determination of the cause of death usually includes the results of toxicology testing.  Toxicology testing is conducted by the Malaysian National Chemistry Department and can take up to 6 months, as there is only one laboratory in the country that does chemical analysis for post-mortem examinations.

All deaths in Malaysia must be registered with the National Registration Department (JPN).  The hospital mortuary generally requires a letter from the U.S. Embassy authorizing the release of remains to the funeral director selected by the next-of-kin (see “No Objection” letter information above).  Embalming and cremation are both options, and licensed funeral services providers are able to prepare and ship remains.  Exportation of cremated remains in a sealed urn requires a permit, which will generally be obtained by the funeral director.  For more information about importing cremated remains, see the Transportation Security Administration’s website.

Exhumation is possible, particularly if the remains have been buried for at least five years, and there is no concern regarding infectious disease.  Section 97 of the Local Government Act of 1976  has details of the requirements.

As a multi-ethnic society where Malay, Chinese, and Indian traditions coexist, funeral rites and ceremonies are available for a wide variety of religions (including Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Taoist and others) depending on the particular affiliation of the family and the wishes of the deceased or the next-of-kin.

Deaths that occur under suspicious circumstances will be investigated by the local police, and generally an autopsy will be required to determine exact cause of death.  In the event of death by certain infectious diseases, or when the deceased may have been HIV positive, the funeral preparations may be required to be completed by a special funeral provider who is equipped to handle the remains in accordance with special public health requirements.

Most hospitals have the capability to store remains for at least a short period of time pending the notification of next-of-kin and making decisions about the disposition of remains.

Estimated Costs

While prices vary for different funeral service providers, and each situation is unique, the below ranges offer good estimates for the costs associated with the most common situations.  Costs listed are in US dollars, based on an exchange rate at the time of writing of approximately $1 = RM4.40.  Families should contact the funeral directors, morticians, etc. directly for a precise quote based on the individual circumstances of your situation.

Local Burial: $4,500 – $8,500 USD

Cremation and Air Shipment of Ashes to U.S.: $3,500 – $5,500 USD

Preparation and Air Shipment of Remains to U.S.: $7,000 – $11,000 USD

 

CONSULAR REPORT OF DEATH ABROAD (CRODA)

We will prepareaConsular Report of Death Abroad (CRODA)  for each U.S. citizenwhose deathin Malaysia is reported to the Embassy. The CRODA is based on the Malaysian death certificate and is valid for use in the United States. The closest relative/next–of-kin or legal representative will find this report usefulin dealing with insurance companies,theSocial Security Administration,theDepartment of Veterans Affairs, or in any situation in whichtheyneed proof ofthedeath.

To facilitate appropriate processing of the CRODA, please provide the following documents and information via email:

  1. Report of Death information of the deceased U.S. citizen:
  • Full name of the deceased U.S. citizen;
  • Date and place of birth;
  • U.S. passport number;
  • Last known residences in the United States and Malaysia;
  • Date, place, and circumstances of death;
  • Disposition of remains (cremated/buried);
  • Disposition of effects (the location of the deceased U.S. citizen’s personal effects.  Typically, it would read “in possession of _______”)
  • Full name of the person or official responsible for the custody of personal effects.
  • Does the deceased have a surviving spouse?  If yes, please provide the name, address, contact number and email address.
  • If the deceased was not married, does the deceased have children? If so, how many?  Who is the designated family representative?  Please provide the name, address, contact number and email address.
  • If there is no surviving spouse or children, please provide the closest relative/next of kin, or legal representative’s name, address, contact number and email address.
  • Was the deceased U.S. citizen a U.S. veteran (i.e., served in the U.S. military)? If yes, please provide the deceased’s claim number.
  1. A scanned copy of the original or certified copy of the registered death certificate from the local civil registry in Malaysia.
  2. A scanned copy of the deceased’s original U.S. passport or other proof of U.S. citizenship, if available.
  3. A scanned copy of the closest relative/next of kin or legal representative’s valid identification card or passport, along with proof of relationship to the deceased.
  4. If there are multiple next of kin, please provide a letter designating the family representative.

You may send scanned copies of the requested documents and information to KLACS@state.gov.  If you are outside Malaysia and need assistance obtaining the local death certificate, please contact us at KLACS@state.gov.

As of June 1, 2023 U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur issues CRODAs electronically.  The electronic CRODA, or eCRODA, contains the digital signature of the consular officer who signed the form with a time and date stamp when it was signed on the form’s Signature on all copies line, the typed name and title of that consular officer, and the Embassy’s digital seal to the left of the digital signature.

We will email the eCRODA to the closest relative/next-of-kin or legal representative as soon as it is completed.  If you require a copy of a CRODA that has already been issued, please contact the U.S. Department of State’s Passport Vital Records Section.  

 

TRANSMITTING FUNDS TO THE U.S. EMBASSY

It is usually easiest for family members, friends, or the deceased’s legal representative to make payment arrangements directly with the selected funeral home in Malaysia. However, if needed, the U.S. Embassy can assist withnecessary arrangements once funds are received from relatives, friends, or other representatives of the deceased. You may transfer funds to the Embassy via the Department of State’s Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) Trust process. For more information on the OCS Trust process, see the Department of State’s webpage onSending Money to U.S. Citizens Abroad . Keep in mind that costs for funeral arrangements and transportation of remains will fluctuate based on inflation and exchange rates.