Death is a time of crisis for the family and friends of the deceased, particularly if it occurs abroad and the procedures involved are not clearly understood. The ACS Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur can assist family and friends when an American citizen dies in Malaysia with the following:
- Confirming the death, identity and U.S. citizenship of the deceased.
- Notifying the next-of-kin if they do not already know about the death.
- Providing information about disposition of the remains and the effects of the deceased.
- Serving as provisional conservator of the estate, if there is no legal representative in the country.
- Preparing documents for disposition of the remains in accordance with instructions from the next-of-kin or legal representative.
- Overseeing the performance of disposition of the remains and distribution of the effects of the deceased.
- Sending signed copies of the Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad to the next-of-kin or legal representative for use in settling estate matters in the U.S.
Even if no assistance is needed in making funeral arrangements, the death of an American citizen, whether resident or tourist, should be reported to the ACS Unit so that a Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad can be issued. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.
The death of an American citizen in Malaysia can be reported at any time at 03-2168-5000 (from within Malaysia) or 60-3-2168-5000 (from outside Malaysia). Next-of-kin of American citizens who die abroad can also contact the Bureau of Consular Affairs Office of Overseas Citizens Services at the State Department in Washington, DC for assistance. Their telephone number is (202) 501-4444 (or 1-888-407-4747 toll free within the U.S.)
Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad
The consular “Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” is a report that provides the essential facts concerning the death of a U.S. citizen, disposition of remains, and custody of the personal effects of a deceased U.S. citizen. This form is generally used in legal proceedings in the United States in lieu of the foreign death certificate. The Report of Death is based on the foreign death certificate, and cannot be completed until the foreign death certificate has been issued by the appropriate authorities.
Copies of the Report of Death
The U.S. consular officer will send the family up to 20 certified copies of the Report of Death at the time the initial report is issued. Additional copies can be obtained subsequently by contacting:
Department of State
Passport Vital Records Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 510
Washington, D.C. 20522-1705
Tel. (202) 955-0307
Additional information about how to obtain copies of Reports of Death, including fees, is available on the Department of State webpage Consular Report of Death.
Reporting a Death in Malaysia
Any death in Malaysia must be officially reported to the Malaysian government through either the police or a hospital. 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 here.
Repatriation of Remains – COVID-19
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 maybe obtained through the CDC Division of Global Migration and Quarantine by calling the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.
More detailed information can be found at the State Department’s web page Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad.