22 CFR 72.6 - Report of presumptive death.
(a) Local finding. When there is a local finding of presumptive death by a competent local authority, a consular officer should prepare a consular report of presumptive death on the form prescribed by the Department.
(b) No local finding.
(1) A United States citizen or non-citizen national may disappear or be missing in circumstances where it appears likely that the individual has died, but there is no local authority able or willing to issue a death certificate or a judicial finding of death. This may include, for example, death in a plane crash where there are no identifiable remains, death in a plane crash beyond the territory of any country, death in an avalanche, disappearance/death at sea, or other sudden disaster where the body is not immediately (or perhaps ever) recoverable.
(2) Authorization of issuance. The Department may authorize the issuance of a consular report of presumptive death in such circumstances. A consular report of presumptive death may not be issued without the Department's authorization.
(3) Considerations in determining whether the Department will authorize issuance of a Report of Presumptive Death. The Department's decision whether to issue a Report of Presumptive Death is discretionary, and will be based on the totality of circumstances in each particular case. Although no one factor is conclusive or determinative, the Department will consider the factors cited below, among other relevant considerations, when deciding whether to authorize issuance in a particular case:
(i) Whether the death is believed to have occurred within a geographic area where no sovereign government exercises jurisdiction;
(ii) Whether the government exercising jurisdiction over the place where the death is believed to have occurred lacks laws or procedures for making findings of presumptive death;
(iii) Whether the government exercising jurisdiction over the place where the death is believed to have occurred requires a waiting period exceeding five years before findings of presumptive death may be made;
(iv) Whether the person who is believed to have died was seen to be in imminent peril by credible witnesses;
(v) Whether the person who is believed to have died is reliably known to have been in a place which experienced a natural disaster, or catastrophic event, that was capable of causing death;
(vi) Whether the person believed to have died was listed on the certified manifest of, and was confirmed to have boarded, an aircraft, or vessel, which was destroyed and, despite diligent search by competent authorities, some or all of the remains were not recovered or could not be identified;
(vii) Whether there is evidence of fraud, deception, or malicious intent.
(c) Consular reports of presumptive death should be processed and issued in accordance with § 72.5.
(d) The Department may revoke a report of presumptive death if it determines in its sole discretion that the report was issued in error.