Death of a U.S. Citizen

When a U.S. citizen passes away in Venezuela, the U.S. Embassy in Caracas is here to help the family and friends of the deceased during such a difficult time.  The embassy will locate and inform the next-of-kin of the U.S. citizen’s death and provide information about how to make arrangements for local burial or repatriation to the United States.  The disposition of remains is subject to U.S. law and customs requirements as well as Venezuelan law, customs requirements and facilities, all which often vastly differ from those in the United States.  Please send an email to ACSvenezuela@state.gov or call 0212-975-6411.  We urge you to reach out to our office to understand how local conditions may or may not meet your expectations.  The ACS Unit is here to help!

Venezuelan Funeral Homes

The ACS Unit urges you to reach out to a local funeral home immediately.  We have prepared a list of Venezuelan funeral homes (PDF 20 KB) that are willing and able to assist when a U.S. citizen passes away in Venezuela.  Please note that the U.S. Embassy assumes no responsibility for the information that appears in this list nor does the list represent the Embassy’s recommendations.  Generally, a family member should contact the Venezuelan funeral home of their choosing to manage the logistics and paperwork of preparing the body for burial or transfer to the United States.  The ACS Unit can assist with liaising with Venezuelan funeral homes.

Consular Report of Death Abroad

The ACS Unit, with your permission and support, prepares a Consular Report of Death Abroad (CRODA), which is an official document that can generally be used in the United States as proof of death.  In order for us to issue the Consular Report of Death Abroad, we need the documents listed below.  ACS will return all original documents to you upon issuance of the Consular Report of Death Abroad is issued.  Please see the Department of State’s page on Consular Reports of Death Abroad for additional information.

  • Original local death certificate issued by the Venezuelan authorities (acta de defunción, not the “certificado de defunción”)
  • Original embalming certificate OR original cremation certificate
  • Original U.S. passport of the deceased
  • Social Security number of the deceased (original Social Security card preferred, if available)
  • Information Form: Consular Report of Death of a US Citizen Abroad (PDF 87 KB)
  • A valid government-issued, photo ID for the next-of-kin or designated responsible party

Returning Embalmed Remains to the United States

The process to prepare and return remains to the United States from Venezuela is complex and may be expensive.  Airlines decide to approve the transport of embalmed remains to the United States based on their own policies.  This is especially true when the death occurs outside a metropolitan area, such as Caracas, as the transfer of remains may not be possible.  In general, you will need the following documents and permits to return embalmed remains to the United States.

  • Original local death certificate issued by the Venezuelan authorities (“acta de defunción” not the “certificado de defunción”)
  • Local transportation permit, issued by Venezuelan health authorities
  • Packing certificate of the remains, issued by the funeral home
  • Airline name, flight number, date of flight, air bill number and destination
  • Name, address and telephone number of consignee or funeral home in the United States
  • Valid identification of the person who brings in the documents in order to prepare the transit label
  • A Consular Mortuary Certificate issued by the U.S. Embassy in Caracas (there is a fee of US$60 for the Consular Mortuary Certificate for non-U.S. citizens)
  • U.S. passport or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) Card (“Green Card”) of the relative transporting and/or receiving the remains

Returning Cremated Remains to the United States

The process to prepare and return cremated remains to the United States from Venezuela is complex and may be expensive.  Airlines decide to approve the transport of embalmed remains to the United States based on their own policies.  We urge you to confirm with the airlines whether or not they will permit the transfer of cremated remains to the United States in checked luggage or carry-on baggage.  This is especially true when the death occurs outside a metropolitan area such as Caracas.  In general, you will need the following documents and permits to return cremated remains to the United States.

  • Original local death certificate issued by the Venezuelan authorities (acta de defunción, not the “certificado de defunción”)
  • Packing of Ashes Certificate, issued by the funeral home.
  • Local transportation permit, issued by Venezuelan health authorities.
  • Packing certificate of the remains, issued by the funeral home.