Death is a time of crisis for the family and friends of the deceased, particularly if it occurs abroad and the procedures involved are not clearly understood. The ACS section at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore can assist family and friends when an American citizen dies in Singapore with the following:
- Confirming the death, identity and U.S. citizenship of the deceased
- Notifying the next-of-kin if they do not already know about the death.
- Providing information about disposition of the remains and the effects of the deceased.
- Serving as provisional conservator of the estate, if there is no legal representative in the country.
- Preparing documents for disposition of the remains in accordance with instructions from the next-of-kin or legal representative.
- Overseeing the performance of disposition of the remains and distribution of the effects of the deceased.
- Sending signed copies of the Consular Report of Death of an U.S. Citizen Abroad to the next-of-kin or legal representative for use in settling estate matters in the U.S.
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 an American Citizen Abroad can be issued. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States
Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad
The consular “Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” is a report that provides the essential facts concerning the death of a U.S. citizen, disposition of remains, and custody of the personal effects of a deceased citizen. This form is generally used in legal proceedings in the United States in lieu of the foreign death certificate. The Report of Death is based on the foreign death certificate, and cannot be completed until the foreign death certificate has been issued.
Electronic Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Non-Citizen National Abroad
As of Jul 7, 2023, U.S. Embassy Singapore issues form DS-2060, U.S. Department of State Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Non-Citizen National Abroad (CRODA), electronically. The electronic CRODA contains the digital signature of the consular officer who signed the form with a time and date stamp when it was signed on the form’s Signature line, the typed name and title of that consular officer, and the U.S. Embassy Singapore digital seal to the left of the digital signature.
When there is a local finding of presumptive death by a competent local authority, U.S. Embassy Singapore also issues form DS-2060-P, U.S. Department of State Report of Presumptive Death of a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Non-Citizen National Abroad, electronically to the next-of-kin.
More detailed information can be found at the State Department’s web page Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad .
Reporting a Death in Singapore
Law requires that all deaths occurring in Singapore be registered within 24 hours of occurrence. For the most comprehensive information on how to report a death in Singapore, go to the Singapore National Environmental Agency (NEA) webpage Post-Death Matters.
DISCLAIMER: The general information relating to reporting a death in Singapore is provided to assist families in making initial decisions and may not be totally accurate in a particular case. Questions involving interpretations of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign attorneys or foreign government officials.
Step 1: Obtain Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD)
- If a death occurs in a hospital, the doctor at the hospital will certify the death online and the death will automatically be registered with Singapore authorities.
- If the death occurs at home, contact your family doctor or a doctor who is willing to make a house call. If the doctor can certify the death, they will certify the death online, and the death will automatically be registered with Singapore authorities.
- If you are unable to contact a doctor, or if the doctor is unable to certify the death, call the police. The police will arrange for the body to be transported to the Mortuary @ HSA (located at Block 9 Singapore General Hospital) in a police hearse. The family will be notified by the police when to go to the Mortuary @ HSA, usually the next day.
At the Mortuary
- The Police Investigator will arrange for the family to view and identify the deceased’s body in the presence of the Coroner
- The Coroner will review the case and determine if an autopsy is required.
- The family will be informed of the Coroner’s decision and the time to claim the body for the funeral.If the autopsy reveals that the death is unnatural, the Police will need to conduct further investigations into the cause of death and the family will need to assist. Once the investigation is completed, the family will be told by the Police to attend a Coroner Inquiry at the Subordinate Courts.
Step 2: Obtain Digital Certificate of Death
As of May 29, 2022, Singapore issues digital death certificates. A death in Singapore will be automatically registered once a doctor certifies the death online, and there is no need for the next of kin to register the death at a registration office. After the death is registered, the next of kin can download the digital death certificate and save it in his/her personal device for future retrieval. Please see ICA’s webpage Register and Download Digital Death Certificate for further information regarding the death registration process and digital death certificate.
Singapore digital death certificates are prepared in accordance with the laws of Singapore. The digital death certificate can be verified through the ICA website eRECEIVE: Verify Certificate of Death. It is possible that the document may not be accepted in the United States for insurance and estate purposes. In the United States, a Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad issued by a U.S. consular officer is generally used in lieu of a foreign death certificate as proof of death.
Step 3: Engage a Funeral Director
The funeral director will:
- Collect the body from the home or hospital mortuary
- Send the body for embalming (if required)
- Deliver the body to the location of the wake
- Help with arrangements for funeral ceremony
For a list of funeral directors in Singapore, go to Association of Funeral Directors in Singapore.
Step 4: Apply for Burial/Cremation Permit
This can be done concurrently with Step 3. Next of kin may authorize the funeral director to apply for this permit on their behalf.