Death of a U.S. Citizen

When a U.S. citizen dies in El Salvador, the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador can assist the family and friends during this difficult time.  Death is a time of crisis for one’s family and friends no matter where it takes place.  If a death occurs overseas, the experience can be even more traumatic, especially if the procedures involved are not clearly understood.  There are several important things that the next-of-kin should do, and we stand ready to assist you with any of these steps at any point.

The U.S. Embassy will locate and inform the next-of-kin of the U.S. citizen’s death and provide information on how to make arrangements for local burial or return of the U.S. citizen to the United States.  We seek to carry out the wishes of the next-of-kin.  Generally, the next-of-kin is held to be the spouse, adult children, the parent(s) or the siblings of the deceased.

The disposition of remains is subject to U.S. law, local laws of El Salvador, U.S. and foreign customs requirements, and the foreign country facilities, which are often vastly different from those in the United States.  Please select this link to read our Disposition of Remains Report which provides specific information on death services in El Salvador.

We also provide information to the family on how to transmit the necessary private funds to cover the costs overseas.  The Department of State has no funds to assist in the return of U.S. citizens who die abroad.  Upon issuance of a local death certificate, the U.S. Embassy will prepare a Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad (DS-2060).  Copies of that report are provided to the next-of-kin or legal representative and may be used in U.S. courts to settle estate matters.

A U.S. consular officer overseas has statutory responsibility for the personal estate of a U.S. citizen who dies abroad if the deceased has no legal representative or next-of-kin in the country where the death occurred, subject to local law.  In that situation the consular officer may take possession of personal effects, such as jewelry, personal documents and papers, and clothing on behalf of the next-of-kin.  The officer prepares an inventory of the personal effects and then carries out instructions from the legal representative or next-of-kin concerning the effects.

For more information on the Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad (DS-2060), and other services that a consular officer can help you with when a loved one passes away overseas, see the links below.

Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad
Electronic Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad
Return of Remains of Deceased U.S. Citizens
Estates of Deceased U.S. Citizens
Reports and Statistics of U.S. Citizen Deaths Overseas