Death of a U.S. Citizen

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

Please be aware that you will be asked to provide as much as possible of the following information relating to the deceased:

  • 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

American Citizen Services (ACS) is ready to assist family and friends in the event of the death of a U.S. Citizen in Mongolia following the family’s instructions in accordance with local law. Our services include:

  • Finding and notifying the Next-of-Kin of the deceased
  • 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” .

For more general information, please see Death of U.S. Citizens Abroad and Return of Remains of Deceased Americans.

The local authorities inform the Embassy upon the death of a U.S. Citizen anywhere in Mongolia.  We locate the Next-of-Kin of the deceased and contact the individual as quickly as possible. There are several important things that the Next-of-Kin must do in conjunction with the ACS office. These include:

  • Returning a signed and notarized “ Affidavit of Next-of-Kin (here)
  • Choosing the method of disposition of remains
  • Arranging payment of mortuary and related expenses in Mongolia
  • Deciding what to do with the personal possessions of the deceased

To act on the family’s behalf, the Embassy must have a signed, notarized copy of a document called an “Affidavit of Next-of-Kin.” (here)  This form is critical because it shows us who is entitled to make the decisions regarding the deceased. Families should initially fax or scan and email us a completed copy, and then mail the original.

Next-of-Kin are established in the following order:

  1. Spouse
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Grandparents

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 in the country.  There are normally three options regarding the disposition of remains:

  • Cremation in Ulaanbaatar and shipment for internment in the U.S. or other location
  • Embalming in Ulaanbaatar and shipment to U.S. or other location for internment or burial
  • Cremation or embalming, and burial in Ulaanbaatar

Please note, shipment of remains is only possible from Chinggis Khaan International Airport.

We work with local providers to ensure the wishes of the Next-of-Kin are carried out as quickly and professionally as possible. However, in most cases, embalming and mortuary services in Mongolia may fall short of standards expected in the United States. A funeral director in the U.S. should be consulted to determine the advisability of viewing the remains and of conducting an open casket funeral.

Autopsies are required for all death occurs in Mongolia and are at the expense of the deceased’s family. Although initial results take a few days, full autopsy results are not available for up to three weeks after the completion of the examination. Autopsy results will likely fall far short of the standard expected in the United States.

Because of many factors, it is best to have flexibility regarding dates for funeral ceremonies in the United States until our office can confirm the exact date the remains will arrive in the United States. It takes time to perform an autopsy, to embalm or cremate the body, to prepare remains for shipment, and to prepare all the necessary documents.

The deceased’s family or legal representative must pay all funeral home expenses and shipping costs of the remains and any personal effects.  Families without a personal representative present in Mongolia can set up an “Overseas Citizens Services Trust” with the Department of State.  We use the money in this account to pay expenses on behalf of the deceased’s family.  We can coordinate all aspects of mortuary services under this arrangement.
Costs listed below are estimates, based on deaths with no unusual circumstances and should be considered for guidance purposes only and are current as of February 2017.

  • To have remains returned to the U.S. for burial, the cost for embalming and air shipment is approximately $3000.
  • The cost for cremation and air shipment of ashes is approximately $600.

By law, the Department of State cannot carry out instructions on the disposition of the remains until we have received the required funds.  There are several methods for sending money to the Department of State to set up an Overseas Citizens Services Trust.  See instructions on Sending Money to U.S. Citizens Overseas.

There will normally be an interval of at least seven days between receipt of funds and shipment of the remains.

After all the mortuary and shipping expenses have been received and paid, we will conduct an itemized accounting of final costs and refund any balance in the trust by a United States Treasury check.

The Embassy can, depending on the circumstances, take charge of personal effects and possessions of the deceased if instructed to do so by the Next-of-Kin. This may not be necessary if the deceased has a friend, employer, or family member present in Mongolia at the time of death.

We will conduct a thorough inventory of any personal effects and send a copy to the Next-of Kin. We can send the family any items they wish to have returned at the family’s expense through the United States Postal Service; however, computers or other electronic items may be difficult or impossible to mail 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 will gladly arrange for this charitable donation on the family’s behalf.

If the death occurs outside of Ulaanbaatar, and consular staff are not present, the inventory may be taken by local authorities. Consular staff will endeavor to preserve the personal effects of the deceased, but cannot be responsible for any losses that occur.

In cases where the estate of the deceased exceeds $1000, 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.

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. It functions in much the same way as a death certificate issued in the United States and can be used to settle bank accounts, insurance policies and other estate matters.

This report can be issued only after the Mongolian death certificate is issued. This process can take several weeks to be completed.  Several original copies of the Consular Report of Death Abroad report will be sent to the Next-of-Kin. Families may order additional certified copies from the Department of State for a fee.

Families will thus receive up to three sets of documents from the Embassy:

  • Twenty original copies of  “ 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 family’s expense, takes 3-4 months to complete)