Last Updated: October 13, 2023
In situations resulting in the death of a U.S. citizen, please immediately call 9-1-1 to report the incident. (911 is the emergency services number in Costa Rica, as well as the United States).
The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit in the U.S. Embassy can assist family and friends in the event of a death of a U.S. citizen in Costa Rica.
- Provide information for funeral homes to arrange local burials or prepare remains for shipment to the United States.
- Work with next of kin or legal representative to return deceased’s personal effects.
- Issue an electronic Consular Report of Death Abroad (CRODA), which serves as a death certificate in the United States for probate and other legal purposes. The electronic copy is sent to the next of kin or legal representative
Important Information (expanding text)
- The remains of persons who die from suspicious, sudden, or accidental causes, are required to undergo autopsy under Costa Rican law. These facilities have limited capacity, so decisions on what to do with the remains need to be made promptly.
- Individuals who drown, die in elderly care or assisted-living facilities, or are suspected to have suffered from infectious diseases such as COVID-19, or conditions posing a public health risk, must be buried within 24 hours.
- It can take several weeks or months for the forensic lab to release the cause of death.
- Exhumation of remains is only authorized after five years of interment. Non-ordinary exhumations can be permitted – depending on the circumstances – either by Ministry of Health authorities or with a judicial order.
- Funeral homes offer services at different prices and final costs will depend on several factors, including the location and condition of the remains and the destination in the United States.
Cost Estimates for Disposition of Remains in Costa Rica (For Informational Purposes Only)
- Interment without preservation/embalming is possible for remains buried in Costa Rica. Interment can cost up to $1,000 without preservation.
- Preparation and embalming can be approximately $1,800 (does not include burial plot or casket).
- Cremation of remains ranges between $1,300.00 and $1,900, including airfare.
- Embalming and air shipment of remains to the United States ranges from $1,500 to $4,000. This estimate includes the cost for a standard casket but no other special preparation requests.
- Please contact the funeral homes below for quotes regarding full costs. In addition, embalmed remains can only enter the United States through an international airport and must be cleared through customs.
Required Documentation to Transport Remains to the United States
- Repatriation of remains transit permit issued by the Ministry of Health. Find a local Ministry of Health office here: https://www.ministeriodesalud.go.cr/index.php/contactenos/directorio-telefonico .
- Certificate of Death (original) issued by the Civil Registry.
- Affidavit from the local funeral home indicating cremation took place at their facility.
- Consular Mortuary Certificate (prepared by the U.S. Embassy in San Jose).
- Copy of deceased’s ID (passport preferably for U.S citizens).
- Flight itinerary (airline, travel dates and destination)
- Recipient in the U.S. (name of person or funeral home, address, phone number, and email address)
- If the deceased is not a U.S. citizen a $60.00 fee charge applies to the Mortuary Certificate.
The Mortuary Certificate is a routine service provided by the Embassy. Please come Monday to Friday between 8:00-11:00 a.m. Originals and copies of the documents are needed. You can also submit the documents electronically by sending an email to our inbox ACSsanjose@state.gov
Find CDC requirements for importing human remains to the United States here.
How to Request a Consular Report of Death Abroad (CRODA)
As of July 1, 2023, U.S. Embassy San Jose issues form DS-2060, U.S. Department of State Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Non-Citizen National Abroad (CRODA), electronically. The electronic CRODA contains the digital signature of the consular officer who signed the form with a time and date stamp on the form’s signature line, the typed name and title of the consular officer, and the U.S. Embassy San Jose digital seal to the left of the digital signature.
U.S. Embassy San Jose also issues form DS-2060-P, U.S. Department of State Report of Presumptive Death of a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Non-Citizen National Abroad, electronically.
Please send copies of the below documents in one single email to ACSSanJose@state.gov (with subject line E22 CRODA deceased’s full name):
- Certificate of Death (original) issued by the Civil Registry
- Deceased’s passport (bio page only)
- Next of kin relationship document (marriage certificate/birth certificate/Last Will and Testament)
- Next of kin’s valid photo ID
- CRODA questionnaire (download from here)
A single electronic copy of the Consular Report of Death Abroad will be issued within two to four weeks after the documentation is received.
More information on CRODA here (travel.state.gov) https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/death-abroad1/consular-report-of-death-of-a-u-s–citizen-abroad.html
Phone: (+506) 2519-2590 or direct Embassy line (+506) 2519-2000
Monday through Thursday, from 8:00 AM to noon and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, and Friday from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM.
For after-hours emergencies, please dial (+506) 2519-2000. Written inquiries must be sent our general inbox ACSSanJose@state.gov.
List of Funeral homes (San Jose only)
Find below a list of funeral homes in San Jose. The below morticians have years of experience with shipping remains internationally. (The U.S. Embassy does not make any recommendations):
Jardines Del Recuerdo (Has Own Cremation Facilities)
Montesacro (Has Own Cremation Facility)
Polini (Has Own Cremation Facility)
Address: North Sabana. San Jose (from ICE Bldg 200 mtrs. West, 175 mtrs. North)
Contact: Ivonne Lewis; Edwin Rojas Vargas