In the event of the death of an American Citizen in Australia, please contact the Consulate General serving your area. You will be asked to provide as much as possible of the following information relating to the deceased:
- 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 Australia
Death of a Veteran or their Dependents
To report the death of a beneficiary in receipt of a VA pension, please contact the Consulate General serving your area. When calling, please have available the beneficiary’s full name, date of birth, Social Security Number, VA File Number (if known) and date of death. Please also have available the beneficiary’s “Next of Kin” details; name, contact telephone number and address.
Upon receipt of this information, the U.S. Consulate General will inform the VA of the passing. Depending on the veteran’s military service, the next of kin may be entitled to benefits. Information regarding this should be discussed when reporting the death of the beneficiary.
For additional assistance, see the list of U.S. Military Veterans’ Associations in the United States and abroad.
Consular Report of Death
A “Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” will be prepared. This is a report that provides the essential facts concerning the death of a U.S. citizen, disposition of remains, and custody of the personal effects of a deceased citizen. For further information please see the State Department’s information regarding Death of U.S. Citizens Abroad.
The U.S. Consulate can assist the family in making arrangements with local authorities for preparation and disposition of the remains, following the family’s instructions in accordance with local law. For further information please see the State Department’s information regarding Return of Remains of Deceased Americans. Information specific to Australia is available for:
- ACT – please see the Disposition of Remains Report (PDF 136 KB – Updated May 2017).
- VIC, SA, TAS, & NT – please see the Disposition of Remains Report (PDF 111 KB – Updated Oct 2022).
- WA – please see the Disposition of Remains Report (PDF 88 KB – Updated Sep 2017).
- NSW & QLD – please see the Disposition of Remains Report (PDF 244 KB – Updated Jul 2022).
Repatriation of Remains
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 email@example.com.
Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.
Returning Ashes to the United States from Australia
Cremated remains can be shipped as air freight on a commercial flights. Please contact an air carrier for more details regarding their shipping requirements (NOTE: Federal Express and DHL will not ship cremated remains). The following documents must accompany the container of the decedent’s ashes:
- an official death certificate;
- a cremation certificate (a document from a crematory certifying that the deceased was cremated on a specific date); and,
- a certificate from the crematory stating that the container holds only the cremated remains (“cremains”) of the deceased.