Updated June 2019
In the event of the death of an American Citizen in Mongolia, please contact the Consular Section of the US Embassy in Mongolia. During regular business hours, please contact us at 976-7007-6001 or by email at UlaanbaatarACS@state.gov.
Please immediately report the death of any U.S. citizen to the police and to the U.S. Embassy. Please be prepared to provide as much information as possible relating to the deceased individual, to include:
- Full name
- Date and place of birth
- Date and place of death (e.g. name and address of the hospital)
- Cause of death (if known)
- Most recent U.S. passport number
- Social Security Number
- Military I.D. number (if applicable)
- Name and contact details of the next of kin
- Most recent address in America
The U.S. Embassy can assist family and friends in the event of the death of a U.S. Citizen in Mongolia, following instructions of next of kin and in accordance with all applicable U.S. and local laws. Embassy services include:
- Finding and notifying the next-of-kin
- Acting as a liaison with local police, hospital and mortuary authorities
- Arranging for the disposition and repatriation of remains
- Coordinating administrative and financial requirements
- Assisting in the collection and return of personal effects to next-of-kin
- Issuing a “ Report of Death of American Citizen Abroad” .
Notification of Next-of-Kin
As soon as the Embassy learns of the death of a U.S. citizen in Mongolia, we will work as quickly as possible to identify and contact the next-of-kin. We will ask next-of-kin to:
- Sign, notarize, and return an Affidavit of Next-of-Kin “here (here)
- Choosing a method of disposition of remains
- Arranging payment of mortuary and related expenses in Mongolia
- Provide instructions for handling personal effects the deceased
Affidavit of Next-of-Kin and Letter of Instruction
The Embassy will make every effort to carry out the instructions of the next-of-kin. In general, the law regards next-of-kin to be the spouse, the adult children, the parent(s), or the siblings of the deceased.
Next-of-kin must complete an (Affidavit of Surviving Spouse or Next of Kin) have it notarized, and then return it to us both electronically (by email/fax) and in hard-copy (mail or courier). This affidavit legally identifies the next-of-kin so that we may assist with the disposition of remains and provisional disposition of personal effects. This affidavit does not replace or supersede instructions provided in a will, probate, and/or litigation in determining the final disposition of the decedent’s effects, possessions, and/or funds. Our contact information is:
U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar, Denver Street #3
Ulaanbaatar 14190, Mongolia
E-mail: UlaanbaatarACS@state.gov UlaanbaatarACS@state.gov
Disposition and Repatriation of Remains
When a U.S. Citizen dies in Mongolia, the body is usually preserved until an autopsy can be performed and instructions are received from the Embassy or the Next-of-Kin regarding disposition of remains. The Mongolian Government requires that autopsies be conducted on all cases; these autopsies must be conducted in Mongolia by Mongolian coroners.
There are normally three options regarding the disposition of remains:
- Cremation (generally available only in Ulaanbaatar) and shipment for internment in the United States (or other location) – cost is approximately $2,000.
- Embalming (generally available only in Ulaanbaatar) and shipment for internment in the United States (or other location) – cost is approximately $7,000.
- Embalming and burial in Mongolia – cost is approximately $4,000.
Please note, shipment of remains is only possible from Chinggis Khaan International Airport.
The U.S. Embassy works with local providers to carry out the wishes of next-of-kin as quickly and professionally as possible. However, in most cases, embalming and mortuary services in Mongolia will fall short of U.S. standards. The Embassy recommends that next of kin consult a U.S. funeral director to determine the advisability of viewing the remains and of conducting an open casket funeral. Local laws impose no specific period or deadline by which time the remains must be embalmed, cremated, or buried.
By law, autopsies are required whenever a death occurs in Mongolia. Next of kin must bear this expense. Although initial results take a few days, full autopsy results are not available for up to three weeks after the completion of the examination. Autopsies and their results will likely fall short of U.S. standards.
Because the timing and duration of autopsies, embalming and casket-building, customs declarations, and other required services can vary greatly in Mongolia, the Embassy recommends that next of kin remain flexible when planning funeral ceremonies in the United States. In general, it is best to schedule such ceremonies only after the Embassy can finalize and confirm that the date the remains will arrive in the United States.
The Embassy cannot authorize the preparation of remains until sufficient funds are received. The deceased’s next of kin or legal representative must pay all autopsy costs and funeral preparation expenses, as well as the shipping costs of the remains and any personal effects. Those lacking a personal representative in Mongolia can set up an “Overseas Citizens Services Trust” with the Department of State. The Embassy can use the money in this account to pay expenses on behalf of the decedent’s family. We can also coordinate all required mortuary services.
By law, the Department of State cannot carry out any next of kin instructions regarding disposition of remains until sufficient funds are received. There are several methods for setting up an Overseas Citizens Services Trust; see instructions on Sending Money to U.S. Citizens Overseas.
Once funds are received, it takes at least seven days to ship the remains and personal effects. After all mortuary and shipping services are paid for and rendered, the Embassy will conduct an itemized accounting of final costs and refund any balance in the trust via United States Treasury check.
Return of Personal Effects
The Embassy can, in some limited circumstances, take charge of the decedent’s personal effects and possessions if instructed to do so by the next-of-kin. However, if the deceased has a friend, employer, or family member present in Mongolia at the time of death, such individuals may also handle the personal effects.
Regardless of whether the Embassy takes charge of the personal effects, we can conduct a thorough inventory and send a copy to the next-of-kin. We can also send any items to the United States via the United States Postal Service at the family’s expense; however, computers or other electronic items may be difficult or impossible to ship due to international mailing restrictions. Most families decide to donate items of little sentimental or monetary value (clothing, suitcases, kitchenware, etc.) to a local charity in order to avoid the large expense involved in returning these items to the United States. The Embassy can arrange for this charitable donation on the family’s behalf. However, the Embassy cannot select the charity.
If the death occurs outside of Ulaanbaatar, and consular staff are not present, local authorities may take the inventory of personal effects. Consular staff will endeavor to preserve the personal effects, but cannot be responsible for any losses that occur.
In cases where the estate of the deceased exceeds $1,000 in value, the Embassy will require more detailed legal documents, such as Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration, prior to releasing money or effects to the next-of-kin.
Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad
The “Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” is an official report, in English, that provides the essential facts concerning the death of a U.S. citizen in a foreign country. It functions in much the same way as a death certificate issued in the United States does, and can be used to close bank accounts, file insurance claims, and settle other estate matters. The Embassy normally provides 20 free copies of the Consular Report of Death Abroad. Families may order additional certified copies from the Department of State for a fee.
However, the Mongolian death certificate must be issued before the Embassy can issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad. Death certificates, in turn, require a local autopsy and hence can take one to several weeks to be completed.
In the event of death of a U.S. citizen, the Embassy will provide up to three sets of documents:
- Twenty copies of the “Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” (free)
- An original Mongolian Death Certificate with a translated English copy (free)
- An original Autopsy Report with a translated English copy (at the next-of-kin’s expense; this document can take 3 to 4 months to provide)