Consular officers provide assistance when a U.S. citizen dies in Costa Rica. The degree and nature of consular assistance depends upon whether a deceased U.S. citizen was accompanied by family and whether s/he was a visitor to Costa Rica or was residing here.
The Consular section can provide information on funeral homes that prepare remains for shipment to the U.S. and will issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad, which serves in the United States as a death certificate for probate and other legal purposes. The Embassy does not provide funds to pay for funeral or burial expenses of Americans who die abroad.
In the case where an unaccompanied U.S. citizen dies in Costa Rica, a U.S. consular officer may serve as a provisional conservator of the deceased’s personal estate and can take custody of his/her portable personal effects. As provisional conservator, the consular officer’s duties include arranging for the effects to be sent to the legal next of kin, subject to local laws. In general, real property or contested property will be disposed of in accordance with local Costa Rican law. List of local attorneys.
How to reach us: For more information, please contact us at 506-2519-2453 or 506-2519-2093, Monday through Thursday, from 8:00 AM to noon and 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM, and Friday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. For after hours emergencies, please call (506) 2519-2000. Written inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Estimated costs: The estimated cost for a local burial in San Jose without embalming is $800, and approximately $1800 with embalming. Those costs do not include the gravesite. The cost of a gravesite will vary depending on the cemetery, but typically run between $2000 and $4000. Cremation is available for about $1000, including preparation and temporary storage of the remains. Shipping the ashes to the U.S. costs approximately $600. Should the next-of-kin prefer to have the remains returned to the U.S. for burial, the costs would be substantially greater, due to the additional airfreight and embalming costs. The total estimated cost for embalming and air shipment is between $2500 and $4000.
Funeral homes in the San Jose area
The following four funeral homes in San Jose have experience with shipping remains internationally. The U.S. Embassy does not recommend any particular funeral home: