Death of a U.S. Citizen

Death is a time of crisis for one’s family and friends no matter where it takes place. If death occurs overseas the experience can be even more traumatic, especially if the procedures involved are not clearly understood. For detailed instructions on the disposition of remains, read the Embassy’s annual report on the Disposition of Remains (PDF 251KB)

When a U.S. citizen dies abroad, a consular officer notifies the deceased’s family and informs them about options and costs for disposition of remains.  Under Islamic law, cremation is not allowed in Jordan, so the deceased must either be buried locally or in the U.S.  Costs for preparing and returning a body to the U.S. may be high and must be paid by the family, next of kin, or the deceased’s designated legal representative.

There are several important things that the Next of Kin must do in conjunction with the Embassy or the Consulates. We stand ready to assist you with any of these steps at any point.

Reporting the Death of an American

  • Any death of a U.S. citizen should be reported immediately to the police and to the Embassy.
  • Deaths of U.S. military members should be reported to the appropriate branch of service, not to the Embassy.
  • The American Citizen Services Unit can be reached at 590-6950 (from the U.S., 011-962-6-590-5950).  After hours, the Embassy duty officer is available through the emergency number at 590-6500 (from the U.S., 011-962-6-590-6950).
  • When reporting a death to us, if possible, please tell us the deceased person’s name, date and place of birth, passport number, date and place of death, cause of death, and the location of the remains. We also need the full name and phone number of the next of kin if available.

When we learn of a death

The ACS Unit will work with the Next of Kin to determine the next steps in coordinating the disposition of the remains and in preparing the Consular Report of Death Abroad.

Per Jordanian law, remains must be buried within 72 hours of death. Cremation is illegal in Jordan. Remains must either be buried locally or embalmed for repatriation to the United States.

Local Burial: In the case of a local burial, the next of kin must work with a local undertaker to arrange for burial. The Embassy’s involvement is limited to issuing the Report of Death.

Repatriation of Remains: Should the Next of Kin desire to have the remains repatriated for burial in the United States, the ACS Unit can provide a list of local undertakers (though not recommend any specific undertaker). A consular officer will also be present at the preparation of the remains for shipment and prepare the Report of Death. Embalming practices in Jordan, while sufficient for shipment, may not be up to U.S. standards. Repatriation is expensive and the Embassy cannot assist financially. Often travel insurance will help cover the costs of repatriation.

Preparing a Report of Death

The American Citizen Services (ACS) section issues the official Report of Death for all U.S. citizens who pass away in Jordan.  The deceased’s family will need this document for various purposes in the United States.  This is especially true if the deceased has already been buried in Jordan.

To obtain an official Report of Death, visit the U.S. Citizens Services appointment system page then select notary and other services. Please bring the following information and documentation to the appointment:

  1. Original local death certificate with English translation issued by Jordanian authorities.
  2. Original notification of death issued by hospital or doctor with English translation.
  3. U.S. passport of the deceased.
  4. Social security number of the deceased.
  5. Primary residential address in the U.S. and/or country of residence for the deceased.
  6. Full name, address and telephone number of next of kin.

For more information on the Consular Report of the Death of an American Abroad, and other services that a consular officer can help you with when a loved one passes away overseas, see the links below.

Additional Resources