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.
If a U.S. citizen passes away while in India, the American Citizen Services Unit can act as a liaison in arranging the disposition of remains and help forward any personal effects if there is no one in India to do so.
See below for the 24-hour phone number for your location.
Consular Report of Death Abroad
Even if no assistance is needed, the death of a U.S. citizen, whether a resident or a tourist, should be reported to the Embassy/Consulate so that a “Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” can be issued. This report is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States. It is an official report written in English and is based on the Indian death certificate. More Information
The Consular Report of Death Abroad will be issued when the following documents are provided:
- Original death certificate from local authorities.
- Doctor’s report with cause of death listed.
- Original passport of the deceased. Please be aware that a consular officer is required to cancel the deceased’s passport before the Consular Report of Death Abroad can be released.
Disposition of Remains
- The Embassy/Consulate can communicate with the next of kin and communicate their wishes about the disposition of remains to the local authorities.
- Indian regulations require that a deceased person must be cremated, buried, or embalmed within 72 hours of death. Embalmed remains can be held in cold storage until instructions are received from the next of kin about disposition of the remains.
- The Embassy/Consulate will assist in arranging documentation for remains to be shipped to the U.S., and will assist with preparations according to the direction of the legal Next of Kin. All costs are the responsibility of the next of kin.
- Please bear in mind that mortuary and embalming services are limited in India, and not always up to U.S. standards. The U.S. government does not provide funding to help with shipping remains or other costs associated with funeral arrangements.
For a detailed report on the costs and logistics of transporting remains to the U.S. or arranging burial or cremation services in India, please read the disposition of remains report here.
Please do not hesitate to contact your local Embassy/Consulate with questions.
For the Indian states of Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and the country of Bhutan
The 24-hour phone number for the Embassy is 2419-8000 (if you are calling from the United States, first dial 011-91-11-)
The email address is email@example.com
For the Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The 24-hour phone number for the Consulate is 2857-4000 (if you are calling from the United States, first dial 011-91-44-)
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
For the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha
The 24-hour phone number for the Consulate is 4033-8300 (if you are calling from the United States, first dial 011-91-40-)
The email address is email@example.com
For the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, and West Bengal
The 24-hour phone number for the Consulate is 3984-2400 (if you are calling from the United States, first dial 011-91-33-)
The email address is kolkataACS@state.gov