Death of an American Citizen Abroad
Many factors can affect how much time will be needed to prepare your loved one's remains for return to the United States. Because of these many variables, it is best not to make unchangeable plans for ceremonies and other events until we and 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 3 to 6 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 your hometown 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 your funeral home mortician can meet the incoming flight.
- In some cases, no space may be available on outgoing flights for embalmed remains, introducing delays.
- 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.
The American Citizen Services are provided between 14:00 and 16:30 pm Monday to Thursday.
You need to make an online appointment before you visit Online Appointment System
You may call (90) (312) 455 5555 or fax us on (90) (312) 466 5684.
Smart TravelerSmart Traveler Enrollment Program with the U.S. Embassy and Consulates
Useful Information along the Turkish-Syrian Border - New! (PDF 62KB)