The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit can assist family and friends in the event of the death of an American citizen in Morocco.
- Confirm the death, identity, and U.S. citizenship of the deceased.
- Attempt to locate and notify the next-of-kin.
- Coordinate with local funeral home contracted by next-of-kin or legal representative.
- Coordinate with the legal representative regarding the disposition of the remains and the personal effects of the deceased.
- Issue a Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad to the next-of-kin or legal representative for use in settling estate matters in the United States (see below).
The Department of State has no funds to assist in the return of remains nor effects of U.S. citizens who die abroad. The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges, shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable), and carry out funeral arrangements with assistance from the contracted funeral home.
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 a U.S. Citizen Abroad can be issued. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.
Please review the links below for more information:
Consular Report of Death Abroad
The Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad is an official report that provides the essential facts concerning the death of a U.S. citizen and is based on the Moroccan death certificate. 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.
Upon receipt of a Moroccan death certificate, the U.S. Embassy or consulate may prepare a Consular Report of the Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad. Copies of this report are provided to the next-of-kin or 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 Moroccan death certificate. The Consulate will mail twenty original copies of the Consular Report of Death Abroad to next-of-kin in the United States approximately two weeks after the remains are interred or sent abroad. Next-of-kin in Morocco may receive the Consular Report of Death Abroad at the Consulate.
Additional copies of a Consular Report of Death Abroad may be obtained by contacting the Department of State Passport Vital Records Section. For more information please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/records-and-authentications/requesting-a-vital-record-as-a-u-s–citizen.html
Return of Remains of Deceased U.S. Citizens
The U.S. consulate assists families in making arrangements with local authorities for preparation and disposition of the remains.
Per Moroccan law, the remains will be placed inside a sealed casket before being sent abroad. Please note that the remains are not refrigerated while in transit, which is why they are first embalmed. The Moroccan funeral home will prepare the necessary customs and other paperwork necessary for transit. Typically, the funeral home at the final destination will receive the casket at the airport and transport it to their offices.
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 Morocco (inclusive of shipping). 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 ACS Unit will work with any funeral home selected by the family to ensure proper documentation for shipment of remains to the United States.
The total cost of preparation and burial in Morocco is approximately $3,500.00 USD. Moroccan law does not permit for cremation of human remains. The total cost for preparation and air shipment to the U.S. is approximately $7,000.00 USD.
As a Muslim country, cremation is not allowed in Morocco. Typically Muslims are buried within 24 hours of their death. If an American Citizen is known to be a Muslim, he or she would typically be buried within this time frame unless the remains are sent to another country. Because most bodies are interred relatively quickly, preservation techniques and local morgues are not as sophisticated as those found in the United States.
What about my relative’s personal effects?
Most effects will accompany the remains to their last destination. However, high-value items such as cameras, cell phones, laptops, and cash will be sent to the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca. A U.S. consular officer can prepare an inventory and forward these items your destination of choice. It typically takes 4-6 weeks for these effects to arrive. The family or legal representative must pay all shipping costs for personal effects.
Do I need to come to Morocco to help with this process?
No. The U.S. Consulate in Casablanca, in coordination with a Moroccan funeral home, will make all the necessary arrangements. However, we may ask you to provide some information about your relative, make some decisions about where and by what route to send the remains, and if you have any special requests.
When is an autopsy required?
In most cases an autopsy is not necessary. However, whenever someone dies because of unnatural causes, is the victim of a crime or accident, dies in a public location, or has an unknown cause of death, an autopsy will be performed. For those that die in a hospital or other medical facility or have a readily apparent cause of death, and autopsy is not typically necessary. Basically, the local authorities will decide whether or not an autopsy is required. In most cases an autopsy is performed within 48 hours of death. However, timing, location, and the number of other cases needing an autopsy may affect that time frame.