Death of a U.S. Citizen

The Consular Sections of U.S. Embassy Abuja and U.S. Consulate Lagos can be of valuable service and assistance when a loved one dies in Nigeria.  Death is always difficult for family and friends but overseas the experience can be even more challenging, especially if the relevant procedures are not clearly understood. We hope the following information helps to understand how the process works in Nigeria and what we can do to help at this difficult time:

General:  When the Consular Section learns that a U.S. citizen has died in Nigeria and no family members are present, the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit immediately attempts to notify the family.  If family members are present and learn of the death before we do, they should contact us as soon as possible at the Emergency Contact posted in the right margin.

ACS will assist family and friends in the event of a death. We can act as a liaison in arranging the disposition of remains and provide names of funeral homes familiar with local and international shipping requirements. When there is no family member or close friend in Nigeria, ACS can maintain close communication with the funeral home selected by the family to ensure the family’s wishes are carried out and to ensure the proper documentation for transportation of the remains to the final destination. We will also issue the Consular Report of Death Abroad, which is an official document that can be used in the U.S. to settle all legal matters relating to the deceased’s estate and insurance. Please be advised that no U.S. government funds are available to cover any of the expenses involved. The family or legal representative must pay for the full costs of burial services including the transportation of the remains to the final resting place.

The information below describes provides additional information about how we can assist family or friends of a deceased U.S. citizen.

Any death of a U.S. citizen in Nigeria should be reported to the either the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate in Lagos. Please visit the map (PDF 169KB) to see which contact to use. Our regular business hours are 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM, Monday – Thursday, and 7:30 AM-1:00 PM Friday for Lagos and 7:30 AM – 4:30PM Monday – Thursday, and 7:30 AM-1:30 PM Friday for Abuja. Emergency Contact information is provided in the right margin. A duty officer can be reached after regular business hours for emergencies.  You can also contact us at AbujaACS@state.gov or LagosACS@state.gov. Even if no assistance is needed, and regardless of whether the person was visiting or residing in Nigeria or holds dual residency, the death should be reported to the Embassy or Consulate.

When initially reporting a death to us, try to provide 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. We also need the full name and phone number of the next of kin if available.

The U.S. Embassy or Consulate prepares an official Consular Report of Death Abroad when the death of a U.S. citizen occurs in Nigeria. The Consular Report of Death Abroad is based upon the local death certificate and evidence of U.S. citizenship of the deceased. It is generally required in U.S. legal proceedings and to settle estate matters when a U.S. citizen dies outside the United States. The Embassy or Consulate will provide the family or legal representative with 20 copies of the Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad at no charge. If you select to return your loved one to the United States, we will also issue a Consular Mortuary Certificate to allow transport.

In order to prepare the Consular Report of Death Abroad, American Citizens Services needs the following:

  • The U.S. Passport or citizenship information of the deceased
  • The Medical Cause of Death Certificate
  • The Nigerian National Population Commission (NPC) Death Certificate
  • Secondary proof of death (e.g. funeral announcement, program, photos)
  • Information for the Report of Death form completed by the next-of-kin to provide the information ACS needs to prepare the Consular Report of Death Abroad.

This process can take anywhere from two to six weeks or longer depending on how quickly the documents are provided to the U.S. Consulate.

Some U.S. insurance companies, other agencies, and courts in the U.S. request information about our legal authority to issue such reports. That authority is contained in 22 U.S. Code 4196 and 22 Code of Federal Regulations 72.1.

If in the future you find you need additional copies of the Consular Report of Death Abroad, they can be obtained for a fee (currently $50). Please send a signed and notarized written request including all pertinent facts of the deceased along with a copy of the requester’s valid photo identification to the following office below. For full details on how to make a request, please visit the State Department’s Consular Report of Death page here.

U.S. Department of State
Passport Vital Records Office
44132 Mercure Cir., P.O. Box 1213
Sterling, VA 20166-1213

Decisions on how to approach the death of a loved one in Nigeria often depend on the family ties to Nigeria. You have three options regarding the disposition of your loved one’s remains. You may have the remains buried in Nigeria or preserved and transported to another location, such as the United States. You also have the choice of cremation. All remains must be embalmed or cremated to leave Nigeria.

Many families will conduct local burials in family plots. If the desire is burial in Nigeria, funeral homes can also coordinate local burial plots.

Costs for all options will vary depending on the location in Nigeria, the destination of transport, and the quality of casket desired. The varying exchange rate of the U.S. Dollar and the Nigerian Naira will also affect these costs. Please note that all costs listed here are estimates and are subject to change. 

Shipment to the U.S. via Casket

The total cost for preparation and air shipment to the U.S. is approximately $8,000 to $10,000 USD, not including costs for transport within Nigeria. Preparation and air shipment are carried out in accordance with the laws of and facilities available in Nigeria. Your loved one’s remains will need to be received in the U.S. by a licensed funeral home. You will need to make arrangements for receipt with the funeral home of your choice. We recommend that you consult with your funeral director to determine what will happen once your loved one arrives in the United States. 

Burial in Nigeria

Should you decide to have your loved one buried in Nigeria, the total cost for preparation and burial is approximately USD $3,000 -$3,500 including collection and transportation of remains, wood casket, funeral home  fees, cost of burial plot in a public cemetery, plus costs for transport within Nigeria.  Refrigerated storage facilities may be limited in remote areas. 

Cremation in Nigeria

The cost for cremation in Nigeria is approximately $1,200 to $1,500 USD, which includes cremation, collection of ashes, documentation costs and packaging for shipment. 

Cremation in Nigeria, transport to the United States  

The cost for preparation, cremation, and air shipment of ashes to the U.S. is approximately $2,000 to $2,500 USD.

Regardless of which option you choose, you will need the services of a funeral home. A funeral home will help obtain the necessary documents from the various government agencies and arrange for the preparation and transport of your loved one. Funeral homes are unable to begin work until payment is made.

Citizens desiring to escort cremains to the United States should consult their preferred airlines and the TSA website for information on traveling with crematory remains. 

CDC Requirements: Repatriation of Remains

CDC requirements for importing human remains will 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 dgmqpolicyoffice@cdc.gov.

We encourage you to investigate whether your loved one may have had an insurance plan that covers death abroad and/or repatriation. Sometimes people have such plans through employers, private insurance companies, organized travel groups, travel agencies, or even credit card companies. This insurance may cover the costs of the mortuary services in Nigeria and transport back to the United States or final destination.

The following documents are the primary documents that will be required for exportation and shipping of remains:

  • Medical Certificate of Death issued by the hospital that confirmed the death
  • Nigerian Death Certificate issued by the National Population Commission (NPC)
  • Consular Mortuary Certificate issued by the Consulate
  • Affidavit of Local Mortician issued by the mortuary
  • Health Permit/Warrant to Bury issued by local health authorities – in the case of death from a contagious disease, a special permit must be obtained from the local health authorities
  • Cremation Permit issued by health authorities and obtained by the funeral home

Other documents that may be required depending on the circumstances are coordinated directly by the funeral home coordinating repatriation of remains.

Legacy Funeral Home
Address: Suite D10, Danziyal Plaza, Opposite NNPC Mega Filling Station, Olusegun Obasanjo Way, Central Business District, Abuja, Nigeria
Phone Number: +2348058305056;  +2348039177979; +2347025171799
Email: legacyfuneralhomeltd@gmail.com

Ebony Funeral Services
Address: Efab Mall, Area II Extension D2, Garki, Abuja (they also have offices in Lagos)
Phone number: +2348033070527; +2348033353556; +2348033238836; +2348033282922
Email: info@ebondyfuneralhome.com
Website: http://ebonyfuneralhome.com/

MIC Funeral Services
Address: 15, 17, 19 Adunlami Street, Lagos (they have a satellite office in Abuja)
Phone Number: +2348033250068; +2349052222155; +2349052222144
Email: info@micfuneralservices.com.ng
Website: http://micfuneralservicesng.com/new/

While you are free to contact any funeral home you wish, and while we cannot endorse any private business, we are aware of several funeral homes which operate nationwide and which have provided adequate services in the past with the repatriation of remains to the United States:

DISCLAIMER:  The U.S. Consulate Lagos, Nigeria assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.

Ebony Funeral Services
Address: 7 Igbosere Road, Lagos Island, Lagos
Phone: +234 (0) 803-335-3556; 803-354-5293; 803-323-8836; 810-084-9488
Email: info@ebonyfuneralhome.com
Website: ebonyfuneralhome.com
Point of Contact: Dehinde Harris
Services: recovery, burial, embalming, cremation, repatriation

Omega Funeral Home
Lagos State Address: 1 Cypstolu Obuzes Street, Ojodu Berger, Lagos
Ogun State Address: 57 Olurin Street, Opposite Coca Cola, Oju-Ore, Ogun State
Phone: +234 (0) 809 477 3375; 817-693-5332 (Lagos)
Email: info@omegafunerals.com
Website: omegafunerals.com
Point of Contact: Anu Ahmed, Mobile + 234 817 693 5332
Anuoluwapo.ahmed@omegafunerals.com
Services: recovery, autopsy, burial, embalming, cremation, exhumation, repatriation

TOS Funerals
Address: 2, TECO Avenue, off Nurudeen, Olowopopo way, Alausa, Ikeja Lagos
Phone: +234 (0) 803-326-1119; 803-326-4140; 803-331-4755; 814-555-3586 (24H)
Contact Houston Texas: +1 (832) 542-2585 (Mrs. Bukola Feyisitan)
Email: admin@tosfunerals.com
Website: tosfunerals.com
Social Media: facebook.com/tosfunerals
Point of Contact: Bayo Ogunsola
Services: recovery, mortuary, burial, embalming, cremation, repatriation

The following documents are provided by these funeral homes if they will need to transport the remains of a loved one to the United States.

  1. Official Nigerian National Population Commission (NPC) Death Certificate
  2. Official Postmortem Report
  3. Federal Ministry of Health Repatriation Waiver
  4. Medical Certificate of Cause of Death
  5. Embalming certificate
  6. Local Government Removal permit
  7. Local Government Infection-Free Certificate
  8. Local Government Register of Vital Statistics Death Notice
  9. Local Government certificate for Burial
  10. Local Government Sealing/ Encasement Certificate
  11. Undertaker’s Affidavit

The death of a loved one is a very difficult situation.  Many times, family and friends find it helpful to speak with someone about their feelings, and to gain advice on how to deal emotionally with the death.  Fee-based counseling in English is available in Nigeria. See our list of physicians