An official website of the United States government

Death of a U.S. Citizen
January 1, 2022

We Are Here To Help

We know that the death of a friend or loved one is a difficult time and we are here to help. The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit can assist family and friends to:

  • Help with forwarding personal effects.
  • Work with any funeral homes you select to ensure proper shipment documentation.
  • Act as a liaison in arranging the dispositions of remains.

Even if no assistance is needed in making funeral arrangements, the death of an American citizen, whether resident or tourist, should be reported to the ACS Unit so that a “Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” can be issued. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.

Please note, the family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges and shipping costs for the remains and personal effects.

You may reach ACS for this service, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except on Belgian and American holidays at telephone number: +32 (0)2-811-4000.  When you call after business hours, you will be connected to the Duty Officer. You may also write to us at: USCitizenBrussels@state.gov

CDC requirements for importing human remains depend upon if the body has been embalmed, cremated, or if the person died from a quarantinable communicable disease.

At this time, COVID-19 is a quarantinable communicable disease in the United States and the remains must meet the standards for importation found in 42 Code of Federal Regulations Part 71.55 and may be cleared, released, and authorized for entry into the United States only under the following conditions:

  • The remains are cremated; OR
  • The remains are properly embalmed and placed in a hermetically sealed casket; OR
  • The remains are accompanied by a permit issued by the CDC Director. The CDC permit (if applicable) must accompany the human remains at all times during shipment.
    • Permits for the importation of the remains of a person known or suspected to have died from a quarantinable communicable disease may be obtained through the CDC Division of Global Migration and Quarantine by calling the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100 or emailing dgmqpolicyoffice@cdc.gov.

Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.

General Procedure

When we learn of the death of an American in Belgium, we will determine as quickly as possible who the next-of-kin of the deceased is and contact that person by telephone immediately. There are several important things that the next-of-kin must do in conjunction with the ACS unit.

Funeral Arrangements

The following general information is provided to assist families in their initial decisions. Indicated costs are estimates, based on deaths with no unusual circumstances and should be considered for guidance purposes only. These estimates also relate only to costs incurred in Belgium. United States funeral home costs will need to be added.

The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home expenses, shipping costs of the remains and personal effects (if applicable). The American Citizen Services Unit will work with any funeral home selected by the family to ensure proper documentation for shipment of remains to the United States. A l list of English Speaking funeral homes that are familiar with the international shipping requirement of human remains is available under “Disposition of the Remains”..

Should you decide to have burial take place in Belgium, the consular officer and local officials will take every possible care to follow your wishes as to the ceremony and site of burial.

The costs for burial in Belgium (not embalmed) are approximately $3,800 including a 10 years grave rental.
The costs for cremation and disposition of ashes in Belgium are approximately $3,500 including ten (10) years niche rental.
Should you decide to have the remains returned to the U.S. for burial, the costs would be substantially greater due to the high cost of airfreight and embalming:

– The total cost for preparation and air shipment of the remains to the East Coast of the U.S. is   approximately $6,000;
– The cost of cremation and air shipment of ashes anywhere in the United States is   approximately $4,500.

Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad

The “Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” is an official report that provides the essential facts concerning the death of an American citizen and is based on the Belgian death certificate.

In order to assist you with legal matters that may arise as a result of the death of your relative, certified copies of the “Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” prepared by the U.S. Embassy will be forwarded to you as soon as possible. This document is in English and can generally be used in U.S. courts to help settle estate matters, bank accounts, insurance policies, and similar matters.

To complete the Report of the Death Abroad, the next-of-kin or legal representative will have to complete and submit a list of information and documents.

– the most recent U.S. passport, or other proof of citizenship; e.g. a
naturalization certificate, a U.S. birth certificate, a Consular Report of
Birth Abroad;
– the official death certificate issued by the local authorities;
– the medical certificate showing the date and hour and cause of death, signed
by the local physician.

The following information will be required:

– the Social Security Number;
– the place of death; e.g. name and address of the hospital;
– the name and address of the next of kin;
– the name and address of the person who has custody of the belongings of the
– the disposal of the remains (in case of burial: the name of the cemetery);
the latest local address;
– the latest address in the United States.

The ACS unit will prepare the “Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” and send copies to the next-of-kin and/or legal representative.  Twenty (or more if you desire) certified copies of the Report of Death are normally issued at the time of death, and will be provided free of charge.

If in the future you find that you need additional copies, submit a signed, written request including all pertinent facts along with requester’s return address and telephone number. There is a $30 fee for a certified copy of Reports of Death, and a $20 fee for each additional copy provided at the same time.  Please send a written request together with a check or money order made payable to the Department of State to the following address:

U.S. Department of State                                                                          
(Telephone (202) 955-0307)
Passport Services Correspondence Branch
1111 19th St., NW, Suite 510
Washington, D.C. 20522-1705

Please do not hesitate to contact the American Citizen Services Section at the U.S. Embassy at USCitizenBrussels@state.gov if you have any further questions.

Disposition of the Remains

List of Undertakers
The following undertakers are familiar with U.S. requirements for shipment of remains to the U.S. They may be called to assist the NOK and can make all necessary arrangements:


Spruyt. Funérailles……………………………..………02/478-7244
322 Boulevard de Smet de Nayer, 1090 Brussels

VGB Funerals Vangrunderbeek………………….02/725-0025
Onderwijsstraat 37, 1930 Zaventem

Mortuary Brussels Airport ……………………………. 02/720-8000
Ringlaan 49, 1930 Zaventem


Marschang Frans. N.V…………………………………03/233-0165
19 St. Amandusstraat, 2060 Antwerp

300 St. Bernardsesteenweg, 2020 Antwerp

31, Oosterveldlaan, 2020 Antwerp

Van Kuyk Louis…………………………………………..03/ 641- 9640
Nieuwdreef 210, 2170 Antwerp


Begrafenissen Nuytten…………………………………059/80.15.53
88 Torhoutsesteenweg, 8400 Ostend


In cases of sudden, mysterious, or violent death, the local coroner has the power to order an autopsy if it is necessary to determine the cause of death. If the coroner orders an autopsy, the Embassy or the NOK cannot countermand this order.

Arrangements for shipment normally take two to three days.  Remains cannot ordinarily be sent until the third or fourth working day following the date of death.  Interested parties should be assured that the Embassy will do all it can to arrange early shipment and that the undertaker will advise the funeral home in the United States of the date, hour, and means of arrival.

Approximate costs for disposition of remains in/from Belgium:

Final disposition in Belgium:

(A) Burial in Belgium: approximately $3,800.00
(B) The cost for cremation and disposition of ashes in Belgium.Note: cremation can be authorized by NOK only, and by no other relative :  approximately $3,500.00

Final disposition in the U.S.:

Please note that the costs shown below are for air shipment from Brussels to New York only and that any additional costs for transportation to final destination in the U.S. would need to be added.

(A) The total cost for preparation and air shipment is approximately $6,000;
(B) The cost for cremation and air shipment of ashes is approximately $4,500.