Information on Report of Death of U.S. Citizens Abroad
What We Can Do
- Provide assistance in repatriating the remains of a deceased U.S. citizen or in making local arrangements.
- Offer information on the paperwork required, including the Report of Death, and assist in carrying out the next of kin’s wishes.
- Provide an administrative Report of Death of an U.S. Citizen Abroad. This does not substitute for the locally issued death certificate, but it can accompany the locally issued death certificate and assist U.S. institutions, such as banks, in interpreting the locally issued death certificate.
- Forward a copy of the Report of Death and locally issued death certificate to U.S. government institutions, such as state registrar offices, Veteran’s Affairs Administration, and the Social Security Administration, which is often the first step in applying for survivor’s benefits.
What We Cannot Do
- Assist in funding the repatriation of the remains of a U.S. Citizen.
- Accommodate the requests of anyone other than the next of kin.
Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad – FREE Service
Please bring the following items to the Embassy in order to produce the report:
- Two (2) original locally issued, official death certificates.
- The deceased U.S. Citizen’s passport.
- Evidence demonstrating you are the next of kin.
- If you are not the next of kin, please provide a notarized Power of Attorney providing the authority to act on behalf of the next of kin.
- If you would like the Consul to act on behalf of the next of kin, please provide a notarized Power of Attorney from the next of kin to that effect.
- If possible, please be prepared to discuss plans for disposition of the remains of the U.S. Citizen.
Disposition of remains in the Republic of Botswana – last updated in March 2017
Funeral Directors, Morticians, and Related Services Available in Botswana
DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Embassy Gaborone, Botswana assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the above persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.
- Maximum Period Before Internment
There is no restriction on the length of time a body may be kept before burial provided the remains are not a health hazard. The remains must be kept under prescribed conditions in the mortuary, which has responsibility for complying with local law.If the body is not in cold storage, it must be embalmed.
While there is no legal obligation to embalm the remains, if the body is to be shipped, it must be embalmed, preferably within 24 hours of death. Embalming may not take place until the doctor has signed the death certificate. Embalming facilities should be available in larger towns across Botswana, including Maun, Francistown,Tutume, Gumare, Mahalapye, Molepolole, Kanye, Thamaga, Lobatse and Gaborone.
Cremation is permitted in Botswana, and one funeral home can provide this service from its facilities in Mahalapye:
Lyn’s and Kagiso Funeral Parlours
In Botswana: +267 392-2074
- Caskets and containers
They are available locally and meet the requirements for shipment out of Botswana. Alternatively, they may be obtained from South Africa.
Burial and disposition of remains in Botswana is regulated by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. For information available to the public or to contact the Ministry directly, please go to their website: http://www.moh.gov.bw/contact.html.
- Exhumation and Shipment
An exhumation permit can be issued after two years of interment in Botswana. If the body contained an infectious disease, the waiting period is four years. An application must be made by the interested party to the Minister of Health and local authorities. The approximate cost of exhumation, preparation of the remains for shipment and delivery to Johannesburg airport in South Africa would be about $5,350.
Botswana laws Chapter 63:01 on Public Health, Part XI, states:
- Permit to exhume: (1) Subject to section 73, it shall not be lawful to exhume any body or the remains of any body which may have been interred in any authorized cemetery or in any other cemetery, burial ground or other place without a permit granted in the manner hereinafter provided. (2) Such permit shall be granted only to the legal personal representative or next-of-kin of the person buried, or to his or their duly authorized agent. (3) Such permit may be granted by the Minister in respect of any body or the remains of any body interred in any cemetery or burial ground or any other place and the Minister may prescribe such precautions and conditions as he may deem fit, and any person who exhumes any body or the remains of any body contrary to this Act, or who neglects to observe the precautions and conditions prescribed in the permit shall be guilty of an offence: Provided always that nothing contained herein shall be deemed to affect the right of a magistrate to order the exhumation of a body or the remains of any body for the purpose of holding an enquiry into the cause of death of any person.
- Essential exhumation: (1) It shall be lawful for the Minister whenever he deems it expedient for the execution of any public work or any public, mining or industrial purpose, to remove any body or the remains of any body from any grave whether in an authorized cemetery or elsewhere, and by order under his hand to direct such removal to be made in such manner as he shall direct. (2) No such order shall be made in respect of any grave situated in an authorized cemetery until six months’ notice of the intention to make it has been given by notice published in the Gazette.
- Reinterment: The Minister shall make proper and fitting art arrangements for the reinterment in an authorized cemetery of any body or remains of any body removed under section 73 and for the removal and re-erection of any monument, all charges in connection therewith being defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund.
- Record of exhumations: (1) The Minister shall keep a record of every permit granted and of every order made under sections 72 and 73. (2) Such record shall contain particulars, so far as the same can be ascertained, of the race, nationality, name, sex and age of the persons buried, date of burial, and of the place of original burial and of reburial or removal. (3) Such record shall be open during office hours to inspection by any person.
Local requirements for the Exportation of Remains are as follows:
- The Deceased’s Passport
- Death Certificate
- Work/Residence Permit of Deceased (or police affidavit or report if deceased was a tourist)
- Embalming Certificate (issued by the mortuary)
- A statement from the forensic pathologist or certifying doctor that the body contains no infections or contagious diseases
- Conveyance Letter (a Permit for the Removal of a Body issued by the Permanent Secretary’s office in the Ministry of Health)
- A statement from the Ministry of Health to the effect that the deceased did not reside in an epidemic area
- Letter from the deceased family confirming that they will meet/receive the body on arrival at the airport, or providing the complete contact details of their agent
- Letter from next of kin assigning particular mortuary to do the repatriation
- Deceased’s Yellow Fever Certificate
- Cremation at the Lyn’s Funeral Parlour location in Mahalapye costs approximately $1,150.
- Local Interment and Autopsies: Most local mortuaries in towns and cities are sizable and well equipped to provide services for local interment. An autopsy is required if the death case is to be brought before the court or any legal proceedings will be ensued at a later date. An autopsy is only carried out at the written consent of the next of kin. Costs will vary depending on the weight of the body and casket and the distance being sent, as well as the U.S. dollar-to-Pula (local currency) exchange rate, and include collection and transportation of remains and wood casket, but excludes embalming. Price range: $650-$6,000.
- Embalming: Price range: $280-$450.
- Burial Plot in public cemetery: $5.00 Botswana Citizen child; $10.00 Non-Botswana citizen child; $10.00 Botswana Citizen adult; $15.00 Non-Botswana citizen adult.
- Air shipment of human ashes: Ashes can be carried aboard a flight by a traveler as luggage at no extra cost; the traveler transporting the ashes brings a cremation certificate. Alternatively, the mortuary can arrange with a carrier such as DHL to ship the ashes unaccompanied. The airline that typically ships human ashes to the United States is Delta Airlines to Atlanta. The cost is calculated by weight. Per 20kg, the cost is approximately $760.
- Air shipment of embalmed remains: Cost is by weight. The mortuary puts the coffin into a traveling crate and brings it to the airport to be weighed and to coordinate with the airline, which ships the crate as cargo. Price range: $6,000-$8,000.
Funeral Customs and Religions in Botswana
Most funerals in Botswana take place within a week of the death. Most occur early on Saturday mornings, although members of other faiths do hold funerals on Sundays. According to a 2006 demographics report published by the country’s Central Statistics Office, 63 percent of Botswana’s citizens are members of Christian groups, 27 percent claim their religion as “God,” 8 percent espouse no religion, 2 percent are adherents of the traditional indigenous religion Badimo, and all other religious groups comprise less than 1 percent of the population. Anglicans, Methodists, and members of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa make up the majority of Christians. There are also Lutherans, Roman Catholics, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, members of the Dutch Reformed Church, Mennonites, and members of other Christian denominations. According to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center, there are approximately 8,000 Muslims, many of whom are of South Asian origin. There are small numbers of Hindus and Bahais.