[Last Updated October 1, 2018]
Any death of a U.S. citizen should be reported immediately to the Embassy at (54-11) 5777-4818 or (54-11) 5777-4354 after-hours.
When reporting a death, if possible, please tell us the deceased person’s name, date and place of birth, passport number, cause of death and the location of the remains. We also need the full name and phone number of the next-of-kin if available.
This page will assist families in making decisions after the death of a loved one in Argentina.
When We Receive a Report of the Death of an American
In cases where we learn of the death of an American in Argentina we will, as quickly as possible, determine the next-of-kin of the deceased and contact that person by telephone immediately.
In some situations, however, it may not be possible to immediately identify the next-of-kin; for example, if someone passes away in a car accident and no ID is found. In these situations, we will work with Argentine authorities, the Department of State’s Passport Office, and any other resources available to locate and contact the next-of-kin.
Communicating Your Relationship to the Deceased
We seek to carry out the wishes of the next-of-kin. Generally the next-of-kin is held to be the spouse, the adult children, the parent(s), or the siblings of the deceased.
Decisions to be Made by the Next-of-Kin
The passing of a friend or family member is always difficult, but when your loved one dies while abroad the process becomes especially confusing. Below are a few points you’ll want to consider as you begin to make arrangements.
- Hire a funeral home in the United States and in Argentina. List of funeral homes (PDF 176KB) in Argentina that have been hired by American families.
- Contact the insurance company of the deceased to see if the company covers funerary expenses.
- Consider whether you want to have your loved one cremated, shipped to the United States, or interred in Argentina.
- Consider whether you want to purchase a complete funeral package from the Argentine funerary agent or simply arrange for embalming and shipment of the body. Many families elect to do this and purchase a more elaborate casket for their loved one in the United States.
- Be aware that in most cases of death, Argentine authorities will require an autopsy. This will delay the shipment by days or even weeks.
- If the death results from an accident instead of natural causes, a judge will make all decisions regarding the need for an autopsy, disposition of remains and personal belongings.
- Consider whether you should hire a local attorney to handle any on-going legal proceedings in Argentina related to the death. You can find a list of local attorneys here (PDF 260KB).
Funeral Homes in Argentina
Disclaimer: The U.S. Embassy, Buenos Aires, Argentina assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by the firms below. Names are listed alphabetically and by location, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.
AMIA (Jewish Center / Funeral Center Department)
Phone: (54-11) 4959-8829
Casa Cucchetti e Hijos
Phone: (54-11) 4501-8745 / 4503-5742
Mobile: (54-9-11) 4424-5419 (from Buenos Aires 15-4424-5419)
Casa Mauricio Usal
Phone: (54-11) 4541-7790 / 4545-1523
Mobile: (54-9-11) 5328-4465 (from Buenos Aires 15-5328-4465)
Email : email@example.com
Jardin del Pilar
Av. Santa Fe 3567
Phone: (54-11) 4323-5600 / 0800-222-8743
Av. General Paz 373/377
Phone: (54-11) 354-421-5814 / 422-0272
9 de Julio 778
Phone: (54-11) 261-423-8412
San Luis 545
Phone: (54) 387-431-4591 int 123
Phone: (54-11) 2901-435-487
Cost Estimates and Shipment of Remains Information
Costs for all options will vary depending on the following: the location from where the remains must be shipped, the preparation services provided and the destination to where the remains will be shipped. Costs are estimated to range from $1,500 to $20,000 U.S. dollars depending on the case. The varying exchange rate of the U.S. dollar and the Argentine peso will also affect these costs. Please note that all costs listed here are estimates and subject to change.
Preparation and air shipment are carried out in accordance with the laws of and facilities available in Argentina and in some cases, the services fall short of those expected in the U.S. We recommend that you ask your home town funeral director to determine the advisability of viewing the remains.
Your loved one’s remains will need to be received in the U.S. by a licensed funeral home. You will need to make arrangements for receipt with your home town funeral director.
Visit the TSA website for information on traveling with crematory remains.
Communicating Disposition of Remains
Once you, the next-of-kin, have made a decision, you must send us a Letter of Instruction (PDF). To ensure that your wishes are carried out completely, please send your instructions regarding the disposition of your loved one’s remains and personal effects by fax to (54-11) 5777-4250 and via email to BuenosAires-ACS@state.gov.
Your instructions should give your loved one’s full name, telephone numbers where you may be reached and, if shipment of remains is desired, the name, address, and full telephone and fax numbers of the U.S. funeral home you have selected to handle arrangements.
If you wish to exhume and ship a body from Argentina to the United States, you will need to contact a local funeral home. Depending on the case a judicial order may be required. Costs for exhumation and shipment will vary.
Necessary Documents to Ship Remains
Argentina requires the following for the transport of human remains:
- Two copies of the death certificate with an apostille from the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Passport of decedent
- Burial/transit permit
- Funeral home letter stating that only remains are inside the casket; the flight itinerary; the consignee’s name, address, and telephone number
- Embalmer’s affidavit which has been notarized and authenticated by the county clerk
- Letter of non-contagious disease, which has been notarized and authenticated by the county clerk
- Metal sealer-type casket
- Wood shipping box
- Consular Mortuary Certificate & Affidavit of the funeral home issued by the U.S. Embassy
Mortuary Arrangements in Argentina
If the next-of-kin or another individual who is responsible for making the funeral arrangements is in Argentina, a suitable funeral home should be contacted.
While you are free to contact any funeral home you wish, and while we cannot endorse any private business, we are aware of several firms in Argentina that can assist in English and which have provided adequate embalming services in the past.
Many factors can affect how much time will be needed to prepare your loved one’s remains for return to the United States. Because of these variables, it is best not to make unchangeable plans for ceremonies until we and the funeral home you are working with can provide a firm timetable.
In the event of an autopsy, Argentine law allows remains to be cremated or embalmed only after a period of time (up to several months) to be determined by a judge.
- Argentine law requires at least 24 hours from the time of death until cremation or embalming may begin.
- Argentine authorities may withhold permission to cremate or embalm for as long as necessary if they believe the death was the result of a crime which they need to investigate. This investigation may in some instances require an autopsy, which by itself may require one or more days/months.
- Embalming or cremation may take several days depending on the location of the remains and the schedule of the mortuary company.
- Cremated remains properly prepared may be taken by the next-of-kin on a commercial flight. Please contact the Embassy for an Affidavit of Ashes which is required by U.S. Customs. Embalmed remains must be transported as cargo, and require processing by the Argentine ground handling company employed by all airlines serving Argentina.
- Embalmed remains must be turned over to a licensed mortician at the airport in the U.S.
- In some cases, no space may be available on outgoing flights for embalmed remains, introducing delays.
- The paperwork necessary from the Embassy can typically be issued within one business day upon receipt of the proper documentation from the Argentine authorities.
The funeral home cannot begin any preparation of remains until the proper funds are on deposit. Therefore, it is imperative that the necessary funds and instructions are provided as soon as possible after a death occurs. Payment is to be arranged directly with the funeral home.
Retired Members of Armed Forces
If the deceased was a retired member of the United States Armed Forces, please let us know so we can put you in touch with the appropriate service’s Office of Mortuary Affairs in the United States. Burial flags are available from the Veteran’s Administration for most veterans who were honorably discharged. Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs for details.
The Report of Death
The Embassy prepares a Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad for every American civilian who dies in Argentina. This certificate is based on the Argentine death certificate and is valid for use in the United States. In addition, a consular mortuary certificate is prepared if the remains are to be shipped to the United States. Unless the legal next-of-kin is in Argentina or another person is chosen as provisional custodian, the Embassy acts on behalf of the executor as the provisional custodian of the estate of any civilian American.
As the Report of Death can only be issued after Argentine authorities complete their documentation of the death, we anticipate an interval of about a day or two after the Argentine authorities complete their work before the Report of Death can be issued. Certified copies will be sent to the next-of-kin and the original will be sent to the Department of State for permanent filing.
Some U.S. insurance companies, other agencies, and courts in the U.S. request information on our legal authority to issue such reports. That authority is contained in 22 U.S. Code 4196; 22 Code of Federal Regulations 72.1.
Twenty copies of the Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad, issued at the time of death, will be provided to the next-of-kin free of charge. If in the future you find you need additional copies, they can be obtained for a fee. Please send a signed and notarized written request including all pertinent facts of the deceased along with a copy of the requester’s valid photo identification to the following office. For more details on how to make a request, please visit the State Department’s Consular Report of Death page.
U.S. Department of State
Passport Vital Records Office
44132 Mercure Cir., P.O. Box 1213
Sterling, VA 20166-1213