Death of a Loved One
There are several important things that the next-of-kin must do following the death of a U.S. citizen in Turkey. The U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Turkey can assist family members and friends during this difficult time, following the general procedures below.
Reporting the Death of an U.S. Citizen
Anyone aware of the death of a U.S. citizen should report the death immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The person reporting the death of a U.S. military member should also inform the Department of Defense.
The person reporting a death should include the deceased person’s name, date and place of birth, passport number, date and place of death, cause of death, and the location of the remains as well as the full name and phone number of the next-of-kin, if available.
Consular officers will attempt to contact the next-of-kin immediately. In cases where the consular officer cannot immediately identify the next-of-kin, the Embassy or Consulate will attempt to locate the next-of-kin, or legal representative.
The Report of Death
To report the death of a U.S. citizen in Turkey, you should first obtain a Turkish death certificate (see Necessary Turkish Government Documents, below). The consular officer will prepare a Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad, based on the Turkish death certificate. Copies of that report are provided to the next-of-kin or legal representative and may be used in U.S. courts to settle estate matters. In addition, the consular officer will prepare a consular mortuary certificate, if the remains will travel to the United States. A U.S. consular officer in Turkey may have statutory responsibility for the personal estate of a U.S. citizen who dies there, if the deceased has no legal representative or next-of-kin in Turkey.
Some U.S. insurance companies, other agencies, and courts in the U.S. request information on the consular officer’s legal authority to issue such reports. That authority is contained in 22 U.S. Code 4196; 22 Code of Federal Regulations 72.1.
The Embassy or Consulate will provide twenty copies of the Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad to the next of kin, free of charge. You may contact the U.S. Department of State’s Passport Vital Records Office for additional certified copies.
U.S. Department of State
Passport Vital Records Office
1111 19th Street NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20522-1705
For more details on how to make a request, please click here.
Next-of-Kin Identification and Responsibilities
Generally, the next of kin is held to be the spouse, the adult children, the parent(s), or the siblings of the deceased.
The next of kin must complete an Affidavit of Surviving Spouse or Next of Kin (PDF 184KB), and have it notarized by a U.S. recognized Notary Public. The next of kin may then, fax or email a scanned copy to the Embassy or Consulate, to be followed by the original document via courier to the attention of the Consular Section.
Turkish law provides that remains must be interred as quickly as possible, sometimes as soon as 24 hours following death.
The next-of-kin may choose to have the remains buried in Turkey, or embalmed and shipped to another location. Turkish law does not allow for the cremation of human remains.
- Interment in Turkey: The cost for burial in Turkey ranges from $1000 for burial without embalming in a common grave, to $6,000 for burial with embalming in a private cemetery.
- International Shipment of Remains: The cost for embalming, preparation, documentation, and air shipment of remains to the United States from Turkey is approximately $4,500-$7,000.
Funeral homes in Turkey prepare remains for air shipment in accordance with the laws of and facilities available in Turkey and, in some cases, the services fall short of those expected in the U.S. For example, embalming is not customary in Turkey, and storage facilities are generally inadequate outside of major cities. Airlines and national laws require several documents, listed below, for shipment of remains. A Turkish funeral home may help with the arrangements.
Necessary Turkish Government Documents
You must obtain several documents from Turkish authorities in order to prepare remains for local burial or shipment abroad. In many instances a funeral home in Turkey can obtain, or assist you in obtaining, these documents. A licensed funeral home in the United States must receive the remains upon arrival.
Turkish Death Certificate: The first physician who examines the body and the hospital’s medical director, or the municipality physician if death did not occur at a hospital, will prepare and sign the Turkish death certificate. You must also obtain s certified English translation of the death certificate.
Embalming Report: Only physicians are authorized to embalm corpses and issue the necessary report for export of remains.
Affidavit: The mortician of the embalming authority must sign an affidavit before the Consular Officer.
Consular Mortuary Certificate: The Embassy or Consulate will prepare this document.
Export Permit: A municipality physician must issue an export permit.
Customs Transportation Certificate: A customs officer examines the casket in the presence of a municipality physician and issues the customs certificate. Upon receipt of the airway bill number, the Municipality Health Office issues a laissez passer, which is the final certificate necessary for the export of the remains.
Funeral Home Arrangements in Turkey
Absent any special circumstances (such as the death having occurred as the result of a crime), Turkish law allows embalming of remains as soon as possible following death.
The next-of-kin or another individual who is responsible for making funeral arrangements may contact a suitable funeral home in Turkey to assist with local arrangements. The below list is compiled by consular officers of some funeral homes operating in Turkey that have provided embalming and funeral services in the past, it is not exhaustive.
DAS Funeral Services
Beyaz Evler Mh. Adnan Kahveci Bulvarı
Yeterler 2 Ap. K:1 D:1 Çukurova / Adana
Tel: 90-322-444 12 80 / 90-322-233-5962
Alo Ozel Ambulance and Funeral Services
M Rauf Inan Sokak No 3-9
Contact: Mr. Volkan Ogretmen
Ankara Ozel Ambulance and Funeral Services
Adnan Saygun Caddesi No. 10/5
Contact: Mr. Ataman Yildirir
Dolunay Funeral Services
Mahmut Esat Bozkurt Caddesi 10/3
Kolej, Cankaya, Ankara
Contact Person: Ms. Tulay Ataman
Muftuoglu Ambulance and Funeral Services
Haci Bayram Veli Sok No 30-A
Contact: Mr. Cengiz Bali
Express Air Cargo Service
Konyaalti Caddesi 19/A
P.O. Box 119
Contact: Kayhan Ondemir
Fempa Ltd. and Defin Funeral Services
Tahilpazari Mah. A. Menderes Blv.
Contact: Ms. Jenny Ozcelik
H. Evler Mh. 21.Sk. Ahmet Recep Battal
Gazi Apt. No:1 Kayapınar, Diyarbakır
Tel: 90 412 238 10 78
Alo Funeral Services
Inkilap Mah. Adem Yavuz Cad.
Ceren Sok. No.13, D.1 Umraniye/Istanbul
Contact: Mr. Recai Suer
Collaro Funeral Services
Balikpazari, Sahne Sokak, No:22
Contact: Mr. Emanuel Manukyan
Karadeniz Funeral Services
Sahadet Sok. No: 30/A
Contact : Ms. Tamar Hasaryan
Tel: 90-212-230-3020, 90-212-234-3535, 90-21-230-8000
Muskovic Funeral Services
Mesrutiyet Cad. 92/B
Contact: Sabi Beraha
Tel:90-212-244 -315, 90-212-245-2405
Aloses Ambulance and Funeral Services
509/7 Sok No:9/A
Contact: Mr. Serdar Salligolu
Sentas Ambulance and Funeral Services
1583/5 Sok. No:6
Bayrakli Adliye Karşisi
Contact: Mr. Taskin Koc
1401.Sk. No:19 Yavuz Apt. Kat:1 No:3
Many factors may affect the deceased’s remains for return to the preparation of the deceased’s remains for return to the United States. Because of these many variables, it is best to not make unchangeable plans for ceremonies and other events until the funeral home you are working with can provide a firm timetable.
Here are some estimates of the time various steps of the process may take.
- Turkish law requires that all foreigners who die in Turkey in the absence of a witness undergo an autopsy to determine the official cause of death. Autopsies usually take 24 hours to complete, after which the remains are prepared for shipment to a local funeral home. It takes around three to six months to receive the result of the autopsy from the Turkish officials.
- Delivery to a funeral home, embalming, and the preparation of remains for shipment abroad may take several days, depending on the location of the remains and the schedule of the funeral home.
- The police may withhold permission to embalm for as long as necessary if they believe the death was as the result of a crime which they need to investigate.
- Embalmed remains must be transported as cargo, and require processing by the local funeral home and various Turkish offices. Shipping arrangements may take as long as three days.
- Embalmed remains must be received by a licensed mortician at the airport in the United States. If a contracted U.S. funeral home is unable to meet a flight, the shipment must be delayed so that it arrives in the U.S. at a time when the mortician can meet the incoming flight.
- In some cases, no space may be available on outgoing flights for embalmed remains.
- The Embassy or Consulate can typically prepare the paperwork necessary to export the remains within one business day, following receipt of proper documentation from the next-of-kin.
Direct Transfer to the Funeral Home: If relatives or friends in the United States will bear the associated costs, the quickest means of transmission is to make arrangements directly with the funeral home to transfer funds electronically. Contact the Turkish funeral home directly for details.
Transfer via the Department of State: If a direct transfer to the funeral home in Turkey is not possible, the Office of Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) of the Department of State in Washington, D.C. may assist. To send funds via the Department of State, please call 1-888-407-4747 or 1-202-647-5225 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday. At all other times call 202-647-4000. The Department charges a $30 processing fee for transfers via the Department of State.
Disposition of Remains Report
Communicating Your Decision on Disposition of Remains
Once you, the Next of Kin, have made a decision, you must send us a Letter of Instruction (PDF 8 KB). To ensure that your wishes are carried out completely, please send your instructions regarding the disposition of your loved one’s remains and personal effects by email or fax and courier to the American Embassy Ankara, the U.S. Consulate General Istanbul, or the U.S. Consulate Adana (Contact information). Your instructions should give the deceased’s full name, telephone numbers where you may be reached and, if shipment of remains is desired, the name, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address of the U.S. funeral home you have selected to handle arrangements. Use this form to prepare the Letter of Instruction (PDF 8 KB).