An official website of the United States government

Death of a U.S. Citizen

The death of a loved one is often followed by an emotional, stressful period which may be felt even more acutely by family navigating through the many steps and paperwork required when a loved one dies outside of the U.S.  The information contained herein is general, for deaths with no unusual circumstances, does not constitute legal advice, and is not meant to be an exhaustive list.  Procedures and requirements may vary from case to case and depending on local authorities.

The U.S. Consulate General Curacao can assist you in making arrangements with the local funeral home (see drop down menu below for a list) for disposition of the deceased and forwarding of personal effects.  We will work with the funeral home to ensure proper documentation for shipment of remains to the U.S.  The U.S. Consulate cannot cover any of these costs; family or friends of the deceased are responsible for all expenses.

Upon learning of the death of a U.S. citizen, an employee of the Consulate will inform the next of kin (NOK), family member, or friend (herein referred to as “you”) and offer condolences.  In general the order of kinship for a person who dies without a will are surviving spouse, adult children, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  The following is then required:

The Consulate can prepare a Consular Report of the Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad (CRODA).  Copies of that report are provided to the next-of-kin or a legal representative and may be used in U.S. courts to settle estate matters.  To prepare this document, consular staff will need original evidence of U.S. citizenship and identity of the decedent and the original Dutch Caribbean death certificate. We can issue up to 20 copies of the Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen at no cost.

In order to better assist you, you should follow these steps:

  1. You must complete the following form and send by email to ACSCuracao@state.govthe personal information sheet with the deceased information.
  2. You must pick a funeral home (see drop down list below).
  3. You must decide within the first 24 hours about the disposition of remains.For example, will the body be embalmed and returned to the United States? Will it be cremated and ashes will be sent or transported by hand to the United States? Will it be buried locally?  Please discuss specific prices and payment options with the funeral home before you commit with them.Some options of the disposition of remains include:Local burial: In a cemetery in the Dutch Caribbean.
    Embalming/Repatriation: Sending of the remains from the Dutch Caribbean to the grave or cremation in the United States.
    Cremation: The procedure results in a fine ash, similar to the results of cremation performed in the United States.  For information on transporting the ashes by hand, please visit the Transportation Security Administration website, as well as your airline’s website.In cases where the embalmed remains or ashes are sent to the United States by air transportation (for example, in the event that the ashes cannot be carried by hand by the closest relative), the closest relative should choose a U.S. funeral home to receive the remains.  You must pass all the contact information to the funeral home in the Dutch Caribbean.  The Dutch Caribbean and U.S. funeral homes will act as your legal agents during the repatriation.  It is very important that both have clear lines of communication.  Additionally, it is recommended that both have each other’s telephone, cellular, fax numbers, as well as email.  In most cases, payments must be received before the Dutch Caribbean funeral home sends the remains to the U.S. funeral home.The deceased is legally in the custody of the local police authorities or public prosecutor until they have authorization, in writing, of the release to the closest relative or agent.  Please keep in mind that the funeral home you select in the Dutch Caribbean cannot begin the repatriation process until the local authorities have released the remains to the funeral home with your written and notarized authorization.
  1. Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad.  The U.S passport of the deceased must be delivered to the Dutch Caribbean funeral home, so they can process all the necessary paperwork to repatriate your loved one.  Before the remains are repatriated, the Dutch Caribbean funeral home will give the passport to the U.S. Consulate General Curacao along with the original death certificate.  The U.S. Consulate General Curacao will use both documents to issue a “Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad” that will be used in legal proceedings in the United States as proof of death.  The U.S. Consulate will return the passport, along with 20 originals of the “Report of Death Abroad.”  We normally prepare and send this report within one month, after receiving your personal information sheet, the Dutch Caribbean death certificate and other documents.