Death of a U.S. Citizen in Taiwan
Reporting the Death of an American Citizen
The death of a U.S. citizen in Taiwan (resident or visitor) should be reported immediately to AIT. If a legal next-of-kin is present in Taiwan at the time of death, it is their responsibility to handle the disposition of remains. If the U.S. citizen has no next-of-kin in Taiwan, a Consular Officer will notify the next-of-kin and carry out their instructions regarding the disposition of remains. The Consular Officer can act on behalf of the executor as the provisional custodian of the deceased citizen's estate. Please contact AIT's American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit at 886-2-2162-2000 (24 hours per day) for more information.
The Consular Officer is required to report the death of an American citizen to the deceased's next-of-kin and to the Department of State. Consequently, we need the following information about the deceased:
- date and place of birth
- U.S. passport number
- date and place of death
- location of the remains
- cause of death (if available)
We also need the full name, telephone number and address of the next-of-kin so we can contact them directly.
Disposition of Remains
There are two Taipei City Government funeral homes. Both are equipped with cold storage facilities. Remains can be preserved in good condition for a maximum of ten days. Neither funeral home is able to prepare remains for return to the United States. Shipment must be arranged with an undertaker who will work with the funeral home or crematorium to prepare the remains and will also prepare required shipping documents such as cremation, quarantine, embalming and inspection certificates, and export permits.
Local burial is not recommended unless the next-of-kin has a contact in Taiwan to assist with locating a burial site. Because cemetery land is at a premium, local burial is expensive. If the family insists on burial in Taiwan, local churches and other organizations may be able to arrange a suitable location. The cost for preparation and burial in Taiwan can run as high as US$22,000.
Taipei has one public crematorium with ten incinerators. It typically takes three to five days to complete cremation. A notarized affidavit authorizing cremation, signed by the next-of-kin or legal representative, must be sent to AIT before we can arrange for cremation. The cost for cremation is about US$2,200. Shipping the ashes to the United States will cost an additional US$875. Local interment of the ashes can be arranged, but the price will vary depending on the location.
Preparation of Remains for Shipment
If the remains will be shipped to the United States, they must be properly embalmed. In Taiwan remains are injected with a decomposition retardant fluid, which is adequate for air shipment. Preservation may not be entirely satisfactory and an open casket ceremony may not be advisable. To ship the remains to the U.S. the following documents are required:
- local death certificate
- embalming certificate
- inspection certificate and an affidavit prepared by the undertaker
- airway bill number
- Certificate for the Exportation of Coffin with Corpse issued by the National Health Administration, Taipei Quarantine Station
- Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad
- mortuary certificate
- confirmed airline booking
- consignee information from next-of-kin or the representative
The Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad
Once Taiwan authorities issue a death certificate, the Consular Officer will prepare the Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad, which contains the facts of the death, deposition of the remains, and custody of the personal effects. This report serves as a death certificate in the U.S. for probate, inheritance, insurance, Social Security, Veterans Affairs, or in any situation where proof of death is required. The following is required to complete the Consular Report of Death:
- original U.S. passport of the deceased and/or certificate of naturalization
- original of certified copy of the local death certificate
- completed AIT death information sheet (PDF 7.7 KB)
- copy of passport or other photo identification of the next-of-kin
- original or certified copies of documents establishing relationship of next-of-kin to the deceased
AIT will provide 20 copies of the Consular Report of Death to the next-of-kin. Reports are kept on file at the U.S. Passport Office in Washington, DC. AIT cannot produce additional copies.
If you wish to obtain additional copies of the Consular Report of Death from the Department of State, send your request and a check or money order (US$50 for each copy provided at the same time) payable to "Department of State" to:
U.S. Department of State
Vital Records Section
1111 19th Street, N.W.,
Suite 510, Washington, D.C. 20524
For more information on the Consular Report of Death, please visit the "Consular Report of Death" page on the Travel.state.gov website.
In case of an American Citizen Emergency, please call (02) 2162-2000 and press 0 or * (star) at any time to reach an operator or duty officer.
For Kaohsiung area contact information, visit American Citizen Services at AIT Kaohsiung's website.
Any other American Citizen Services questions, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.