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.
If you would like to transport the remains to the United States, you would need a “Permiso de traslado or Autorización sanitaria para el transporte fuera del territorio nacional de cadáveres, mortinatos, piezas anatómicas, osamentas y cenizas humanas”, issued by the Ministry of Health in Ecuador, and the American Citizen Services section will issue a Consular Mortuary Certificate. The “Permiso de Traslado”, to take the remains to the United States, can be requested by your appointed funeral home or directly to the Ministry of Health in Ecuador (It may involved additional fees).
Please gather the documentation/information below and send it by e-mail:
- Death Certificate (Acta Registral de Defunción) from the Ecuadorian Civil Registry
The document submitted needs to be verified so please make sure the issue date is no more than 60 days.
- Transit Permit from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health
Please make sure the “Permiso de traslado or Autorización sanitaria para el transporte fuera del territorio nacional de cadáveres, mortinatos, piezas anatómicas, osamentas y cenizas humanas” details that the remains will be transported to the United States/outside Ecuador.
- Flight information and itinerary, including name of airline, flight number(s), date of travel, departure and arrival times, and port of entry
- Certificate of remains handling (these are issued by the entity that performs the process, usually is the same funeral home):
- Embalming Certificate or
- Cremation Certificate
Please send the documentation by e-mail to the Consular Section of your preference:
U.S. Embassy in Quito – firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil – email@example.com
Please keep in mind a that there is 2MB size limit on the e-mails we can receive. If your e-mail is bigger than 2MB, you may need to send the files on separate e-mails.
Once the documentation has been received, you will be given an appointment to come to the Embassy or Consulate. This is not a walk in service.
Once the documentation detailed above has been submitted, the person/entity that is requesting the Mortuary Certificate needs to contact the Funeral Home and request for them to approach the U.S. Embassy in Quito or the U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil to sign a mandatory affidavit. Once the funeral home representative signs the affidavit, we will issue the Consular Mortuary Certificate that will facilitate the entry of the remains to the United States. This affidavit cannot be signed by another person other than the funeral home representative.
Important information for the Funeral Homes regarding the Consular Mortuary Certificate
Affidavit Regarding Remains
In addition to the documentation submitted above, the funeral home director/representative must sign an affidavit (in English) stating that the remains have been properly packed and only the remains are inside the container that will be sent. This affidavit needs to be done in front of a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Quito or the U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil.
The person that comes to the consular section must be able to understand the contents of the affidavit that is signing, which is in English.
The funeral home is responsable for clearly labeling the container that contains the remains, 7 FAM 259.3 provides guidelines for this label, among which, includes the following:
“A transit label must be affixed to the outer container. This label should state the date, the name of the deceased, the date of death, the name of the consignee or escort (and telephone number, if known), any points of transshipment and a reference to the transit permit authorizing the export of the remains from the country where the death occurred.”
If the deceased did not have U.S. Citizenship at the time of death, this document has a cost of $60.00 that needs to be paid at the time the documentation is turned in, the payment can be done in cash or credit card. No checks or debit cards are accepted.
More information about Transportation of Remains can be located at the Department of State website.