Transporting Remains to the United States

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 dgmqpolicyoffice@cdc.gov.

Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.

Apart from the documentation needed to produce the Report of Death Abroad, if you are transporting the remains to the United States, the following documentation is required:

  • Death Certificate from the Ecuadorian Civil Registry.
    Two (2) originals
  • Transit Permit from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health.
    Original and one (1) copy
  • Flight information and itinerary, including name of airline, flight number(s), date of travel, departure and arrival times, and port of entry.
  • Destination information
    • If a person is taking the remains:
      Name, address, phone number and photo ID of the person accompanying the remains to the U.S.
    • If the remains will be received by a funeral home in the U.S.:
      Name, address, name of point of contact and phone number of funeral home.
  • Certificate of remains handling (these are issued by the entity that performs the process, usually is the same funeral home):
    Original and one (1) copy

    • Embalming Certificate or
    • Cremation Certificate.

IMPORTANT
A funeral home representative must come to the Embassy or Consulate to 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.

Upon receipt of these documents the Embassy or Consulate will prepare the following:

  • Affidavit
    To be signed by the funeral home representative, which states that the remains have been properly packed.
  • Consular Mortuary Certificate
    This document is required to allow the remains to enter the United States.

If a family member will not be coming to Ecuador, please note that the family may need to get a Power of Attorney giving permission to the funeral home or your representative in Ecuador to handle these affairs.  The Power of Attorney, in order to be valid in Ecuador, needs to be done at an Ecuadorian Embassy/Consulate or, if is done at a U.S. notary, needs to have an Apostille and needs to be translated into Spanish.

For more information about Apostilles in the U.S. please check the Hague Convention website, usually the issuing authority will be the Secretary of State of each state.

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.