Death is a time of crisis for family and friends no matter where it takes place, but when it occurs overseas the experience can be even more traumatic, especially if the procedures involved are not clearly understood. We in the American Citizen Services Unit hope that this information will be of some use to you in this difficult time.
Any death of a U.S. citizen should be reported immediately to the Embassy, and if the death occurs outside of a medical facility, then it should also be reported immediately to the nearest medical authorities so that they may send a coroner. Please see the Key Information box on the right-hand side of this page for full contact information for the Embassy, including an after-hours emergency telephone number.
When we learn of the death of an American citizen, we are required to report it to the legal next of kin and to the Department of State. Therefore, it will be very helpful for us to know the deceased person’s name, date and place of birth, passport number, date and place of death, cause of death, and current location. It will also help us to know the full name and address of the next of kin, and instructions regarding funeral arrangements, if those decisions have been made already.
- We can assist in carrying out the family’s wishes for burial in Montenegro or transportation to the United States. Unfortunately, the Embassy cannot pay for these services, but if necessary we can help in the process of transferring funds from the United States to Montenegro to cover the related expenses. We can also assist with shipment of any personal effects.
- If the family wishes to have the remains transported to the United States, it will be best to select a Montenegrin funeral home to handle arrangements here and a funeral home in the U.S. to help with the receiving arrangements.
If the cause of death cannot be determined readily or if the attending medical or law enforcement authorities request it, an autopsy may be performed. Depending on the autopsy results, the case may then be forwarded to the police, who may have to investigate further. Only once any required police investigation is completed can the coroner issue a final certificate, which is required to issue a Montenegrin death certificate. Based upon the Montenegrin death certificate, the Embassy will prepare a Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad. This document can be used to help settle any required legal affairs in the United States, such as estate and insurance matters.
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.