We are ready to assist you in the difficult times surrounding the death of a relative abroad. All U.S. citizens who die overseas receive a Consular Report of Death Abroad, which is very important for family and next-of-kin when filing insurance claims or pursuing any legal actions on the part of the deceased’s estate. We will guide you through the steps needed to receive a Consular Report of Death Abroad and export the remains of your loved one to the United States if the burial is not in Greece.
The family or recipient of the CRODA must notify the Social Security Administration to halt payments to the deceased and to apply for death benefits for the family by contacting the Federal Benefits Unit directly via their online system.
What Happens First. First, the Next of Kin or a relative needs to provide the American Citizen Services office some information on the deceased. We will start working on the Consular report of death and answer your questions about local procedures and customs. We can assist you to find the correct Greek services to fulfill your families wishes. and we will provide a Listing of Funeral Homes in Greece. The Greek funeral home is responsible for much of the work exporting the remains to the United States and will seek the family’s written authorization before initiating work.
- DOCUMENTS NEEDED
- U.S. Passport or naturalization certificate of the deceased
- Certified copy of the Greek Death Certificate (Lixiarchio, with the blue stamp)
- INFORMATION NEEDED
- Deceased’s Social Security Number
- Deceased’s last address in the U.S. (city and state is sufficient if exact address is unknown) and last address in Greece
- Exact place of death (e.g. hospital name etc. or home address if death occurred in a private residence)
- Place of burial (specify name of cemetery and city and if plot is family owned or public)
- Name, address and telephone number of the person who is in custody of the effects of the deceased (please specify relationship to the deceased e.g., husband, wife, son, daughter etc.)
- Name, address and relationship of other close relatives, if any
- Name, address and telephone number of the person with whom deceased resided while in Greece
- Number of copies of the Consular Report of Death Abroad. The minimum we issue is five copies and the maximum is twenty. Please specify the name, address, and telephone number of the person who should receive the reports or whether you will be picking them up from our office.
You may mail the documents/information needed to us at the address on the right menu bar or bring them in person to the Embassy’s Kokkali gate entrance Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., except on holidays and the last Wednesday of the month.
Death Certificate. A Greek death certificate is required for burial in Greece or transportation of the remains. The Greek funeral home will coordinate the activities needed to register the death and obtain the Greek death certificate. Once the funeral home has the Greek death certificate, that entity can arrange the shipment of the body or ashes to the United States.
How Long Does This Process Take? Under ideal circumstances local burial can occur within 48 hours; however, it generally takes 7-10 days to arrange shipment outside of Greece.
Embalming and Autopsy. Funeral homes offer embalming services and preparation for shipment of the deceased. An autopsy is required under Greek law in the event of a sudden death. If the deceased lived in Greece and was hospitalized with death expected, it may be possible to obtain a “medical death report” signed by the attending physician. The Greek authorities determine whether autopsy is required; the Embassy does not.
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 email@example.com.
Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.
Cremation: Cremation facilities are available in Greece. The family should communicate the wish for cremation to the funeral home.
General information is available on the Death Abroad webpage on the travel.state.gov website.