Repatriation of Remains: CDC requirements for importing human remains 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 email@example.com.
Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.
We are ready to assist you in the difficult times surrounding the death of a relative abroad. All American citizens who die overseas receive a Consular Report of Death Abroad which is very important for family and next-of-kin when filing insurance claims or pursuing any legal actions on the part of the deceased’s estate. We will help you by approving an official death certificate, and we will assist you export of the remains of your loved one to the U.S.
What Happens First. First, the Next of Kin or a relative needs to provide the American Citizen Services office in the consular district where their relative passed away with some information on the deceased. We will start working on the Consular report of death and answer your questions about local procedures and customs. We can assist you find the correct Italian services to fulfill your families wishes and we will provide a Listing of Funeral Homes in Italy . Italian funeral agent will assist with much of the work exporting the remains to the U.S.
Death Certificate. An Italian death certificate is required for burial in Italy or transportation of the remains. The death certificate is prepared by the hospital or doctor where the victim passed away. You will need to provide that death certificate to the local funeral agent you select. The funeral agent can also help you obtain the death certificate from the Comune and the Prefettura, or other local authorities. Once he has that document, he can arrange the shipment of the body or ashes to the United States.
How Long Does This Process Take? Under ideal circumstances burial locally can take place within 48 hours, however, it generally takes 4 to 7 days to arrange shipment outside of Italy.
Embalming and Autopsy. Embalming (except for international transport) and cosmetic preparation of the deceased is not normally available in Italy. An autopsy is generally required in Italy.
Cremation: An authorization by the next-of-kin is required for cremation in Italy. The Consular Section of the American Embassy will issue the required statement if there is evidence that the deceased’s wish was to have his remains cremated, or, in the absence of such evidence, if authorization is received from the deceased’s next-of-kin. A delay of several weeks for the local funeral agency to obtain ashes from the crematorium is not unusual.
General information is available on the Death Abroad webpage on the travel.state.gov website.