Death of a U.S. Citizen

If you become aware of the death or serious injury of a U.S. citizen in the Suva consular district (Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia), please contact the U.S. Embassy at 679-331-4466 for assistance.  You may also email the consular section at SuvaACS@state.gov.

In French Polynesia, contact the Consular Agent in Tahiti at 689-40-42-65-35.

For information about procedures in case of death in each country, please click on the country:

Initial Death Certificate (Doctor’s Certificate): The doctor will issue a certificate confirming the death. This certification will be required for burial or for shipment to take place.  If the death occurs in a hospital, the attending physician will provide the certificate. If the death is not natural (i.e. as a result of accident, violence, suicide, etc.) the gendarmes have to be called.

Documents required for the official death certificate: The person requesting the certificate must present an official form of identification (passport, French national ID card), along with the deceased’s official ID and the doctor’s death certificate. The person will also be asked to provide further details about the deceased (home address and profession, name of spouse if the deceased was married, widowed, or divorced; and the names, addresses, and professions of the deceased’s mother and father).

Funeral Services: There are no funeral homes located on Wallis and Futuna, so the deceased is normally sent to New Caledonia, Australia (if the deceased had been receiving medical treatment there at the time of death), or France, before the remains are able to be shipped to the United States.  Funeral services can be provided by a funeral home in New Caledonia or in France.  If the deceased passed away in France, New Caledonia, or Australia after having received medical care there, Australian rules or French rules must be followed regarding the remains, the burial, and the shipment of the remains to the United States.

Exportation of Remains: If the deceased’s body is to be repatriated to the U.S. by air, it has to be placed in a hermetically sealed coffin, and proof of the arrangements for burial upon arrival at the destination must be provided by the funeral home in the United States.

Since there are no direct flights from Wallis and Futuna to any point in the United States, it can take up to two weeks or more to work out all the formalities, especially if no direct family member is in Wallis and Futuna to take care of these matters.

The cost for shipment of remains to the United States will depend on the route chosen, but it can be very expensive from Wallis and Futuna, often double or triple the price of a full fare for a living person. Family members should carefully confirm with the funeral home the complete cost before authorizing payment of any kind.

Funeral Rituals in Wallis and Futuna: If the family or the deceased chooses, there are unique cultural funeral rituals in Wallis and Futuna. These ceremonies can be organized by a leader or an elder in the community. However, it is important to verify that the ceremony would not affect the body or the remains in a way where it could prevent or complicate the shipment of the body or the remains to the United States, according to the rules mentioned above, if the family chooses repatriation.