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.
Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.
The Consular Section can assist family and friends in the event of the death of an American Citizen in Luxembourg. If requested by the next of kin, the Consular Section will act as liaison in arranging the disposition or shipping of remains and help with forwarding personal effects. The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges, shipping costs of the remains and personal effects (if applicable). In case of shipment of human remains abroad, the Consular Section will work with any funeral home selected by the family to ensure proper documentation for shipment of remains to the United States.
Even if no assistance is needed in making funeral arrangements, the death of an American citizen, whether resident or tourist, should be reported to the U.S. Embassy so that a Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad can be issued. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.
How to reach the Consular Section:
Phone: (+352) 46 01 23 23
After Hours Phone: +352 46 01 23 23
Duty Officer Cell Phone: +352 621 547 133
Major funeral homes used by U.S. citizens:
- Erasmy, 21 rue de Peupliers, L-2328 Luxembourg
Phone: 352 43 42 02
- Maison Platz, 10 rue de la Boucherie, L-1247 Luxembourg
Phone: 352 22 32 48
- Paul Brandenburger, 31 rue St. Vincent, L-4344 Esch-sur-Alzette
and 1 rue de l’Eau, L-3232 Bettembourg
Phone: 352 54 02 93
- Dahm & Ernst, 6 rue Ermesinde, L-6437 Echternach
Phone: 352 72 82 15
Profile of services available in the host country regarding preparation and shipment of remains:
Refrigerated morgues are available in hospitals, at the airport and in the ‘communes’ (administrative municipalities). Small communes have usually only space for one casket in the morgue. Cost is USD 90 for up to three days, and USD 30 for each additional day. If the death occurred at home or on the premises of a commune, the body will be placed in a casket in the communal morgue until the funeral. The deceased cannot be laid out at home or at the funeral home for public viewing. Private viewing by the close family is possible in a separate room at the commune before the casket is brought to the funeral ceremony. Funeral homes in Luxembourg offer qualified and experienced service and make all necessary arrangements in consultation with the next of kin.
Embalming is not customary for interment in Luxembourg; if requested, it can be performed by a contractor from neighboring Belgium. The cost for embalming is USD 680. The funeral home makes the necessary arrangements. There is no requirement for embalming in Luxembourg except for shipment of human remains abroad.
Requirement for autopsy:
Legal autopsy: Under Luxembourg law, the General Prosecutor must order that an autopsy be conducted if there is any indication of suspicious circumstances, violent or unnatural death. The Parquet (judicial authority) will bear the expenses and the funeral must be postponed until authorized by the Parquet.
Medical autopsy: the treating physician can request that an autopsy be conducted in case of unconfirmed or unknown cause of death; it is mandatory for stillborns. The hospital will bear the expenses.
An autopsy can also be requested and paid for by the family of the deceased. The family has the right to appoint a doctor of their own choice who will attend the autopsy at their expense.
Maximum period before Burial of Remains:
Interment or cremation cannot occur before 24 hours after the death, but must take place within 72 hours. It can be postponed for 24 hours, and, in exceptional cases, the ‘Direction de la Santé’, Ministry of Health, allows postponement for another 48 hours. Persons who died from a highly contagious disease have to be cremated without delay.
In Luxembourg, cremation is only possible in the crematorium in Hamm, a public and independent institution in a suburb of Luxembourg City. Before any cremation can take place, an official of the commune where the death occurred has to issue a transport and cremation permit. Cremation will only be authorized if the deceased had declared his wish to be cremated in a notarized statement or, if there is no statement, the next of kin signs a written request at the funeral home. A request from a legal guardian will only be recognized if the deceased gave specific authorization to the guardian in a notarized statement.
The ashes can either be deposited in a columbarium at the cemetery (cost USD 110), or they can be scattered in a specific plot available in certain ‘communes’, at the cemetery in Merl, or in the ‘Jardin du souvenir’ (Garden of Remembrance) adjacent to the crematorium. It is not permitted to keep cremains at home. Most communes offer placement in a columbarium on the ground of the cemetery. As a temporary arrangement, ashes can be stored at the funeral home or at the crematory for three months before making a final decision. The funeral home can arrange for shipment of cremains abroad.
Cost for a cremation including ceremony is USD 500-630.
Wooden coffins are widely used for interment in Luxembourg; funeral homes offer a large choice in various price ranges (USD 700-5000). A zinc-lined, hermetically sealed casket (USD 1700) is required, if human remains have to be transported more than 350 km by hearse or if they are shipped by air.
The funeral home makes necessary arrangements for transportation by air or any convenient shipment of human remains abroad. Administrative fees amount to USD 500-810, in addition to USD 680 for required embalming and USD 1700 for preparation of remains for shipment (including the required zinc-lined, hermetically sealed casket). Airfreight charges will be calculated depending on the flight route and carrier. A funeral home in the country of destination must be retained beforehand and communicated to the Luxembourg funeral home.
Exhumation is only possible if requested within a few years after interment, and must be authorized by the Ministry of Health and the commune owning the cemetery. If the remains are to be buried in another commune in Luxembourg, that commune has to agree as well. The exhumation has to be supervised by officials as designated by the Ministry of Health. Interments at the American cemetery in Luxembourg are permanent; it is not possible to repatriate the remains.
Shipping of human remains abroad:
As Luxembourg is a small country, in-country transportation of human remains is carried out by hearse. The funeral home makes the necessary arrangements and requests transport permits and certificates. There are no direct commercial flights to the U.S. from the Luxembourg airport. The international freight carrier airline Cargolux operates several direct routes from Luxembourg to airports in the U.S. As an option, transit via Frankfurt, Germany, is often the best connection to the U.S. The funeral home will provide required transit permits (laissez-passer) and request a Consular Mortuary Certificate from the U.S. Embassy to facilitate U.S. customs clearance.
Transportation of cremains by hearse is possible, but not required (except to neighboring Germany). Airline passengers carrying cremated remains should notify the airline when making the flight reservation. The funeral home will prepare an appropriate container and document it with a certificate showing the final destination and an identification number. It is not advisable to send cremains by mail.
Charges are based on the exchange rate of May 31, 2017: $1.00 = 0.95Euro
Local burial: minimum USD 5000
Fees include transportation by hearse, wooden coffin, morgue fee, mortician’s charges, administrative fees, renting of a burial plot for an initial period of 15 years in Luxembourg City, basic tombstone, and civil or religious service.
Cremation and local disposal of ashes: minimum USD 1100
Fees include transportation to crematorium, administrative fees, morgue fee, cremation, cinerary urn, civil or religious ceremony, placement in an urn space or columbarium niche.
Preparation and shipment of human remains: minimum USD 3200 (excluding airfreight costs and U.S. funeral costs)
Fees include administrative fees, morgue fee, flight arrangements, embalming, preparation of a special container required for shipment of remains, transportation to airport.
Cremation and air shipment of ashes: minimum USD 1100 (excluding airfreight costs)
Fees include transportation to crematorium, cremation, morgue fee, preparation of cremains for shipment in a special container.
Local Customs Regarding Funerals, Disposition of Remains, Mourning, Memorial Services:
Interment has been the custom in Luxembourg for decades, though the number of cremations is increasing. The funeral service will be organized after consultation with an official from the commune, the pastor and the funeral home (the funeral home can make all those arrangements for the next of kin or family). The deceased is brought to the communal morgue or its chapel of rest. A memorial ceremony of civil or religious nature in the presence of an official will take place before the interment. The casket is closed during the whole ceremony. Obituary notices advertising the memorial service are generally published in the local newspapers.
Burial plots in Luxembourg have to be rented for an initial period of 15 or 30 years, renewable after end of those terms. Cost for a single plot is minimum USD 660 for 15 years. A family vault can be rented for minimum USD 770 for 15 years. Cemeteries are owned and maintained by the ‘communes’, the municipal council can grant burial plots and family vaults. Any person providing for the funeral can have a monument set up for the deceased, according to regulations established by the municipal council. The tombstone will be provided and set up by a monumental mason (minimum USD 3000 for a single grave and USD 5500 for a double grave).
updated June 2017