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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.
The Embassy or nearest consulate can assist family and friends in the event of the death of a U.S. citizen in Canada. However, funeral homes in Canada are generally well versed on the requirements of shipping remains to the U.S. and can complete the necessary paperwork to export the remains to the United States or to prepare the remains for local burial without the immediate involvement of the U.S. Embassy or consulate. Procedures and costs for the disposition of remains varies throughout Canada. Information specific to each location is provided by consular district.
Even if no assistance is needed in making funeral arrangements, the death of a U.S. citizen, whether resident or tourist in Canada, should be reported to the nearest Embassy or consulate so that a Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad can be issued. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.
- Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad
- State Department Guidance on Return of Remains
- Estates of Deceased U.S. Citizens
- Report of Deaths of U.S. Citizens Abroad
Disposition of Remains Reports