The American Citizen Services Unit (ACS) at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana can assist family and friends in the event of the death of a U.S. citizen in Albania. The ACS unit can act as liaison in arranging the disposition of remains and help with forwarding personal effects. The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges, shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable). The ACS unit will work with the 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 a U.S. citizen, whether resident or tourist in Albania, should be reported to the ACS unit so that we can issue a Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.
Reporting the Death of a U.S. Citizen
The death of a U.S. citizen in Albania should be reported as soon as possible. Please contact us at +355-(0)-4224-7285 and ask to speak with the American Citizen Services Unit during business hours or the duty officer if the Embassy is closed. When reporting a death, please be prepared to give us as much information as possible, including the individual’s name, date and place of birth, passport number, date and place of death, cause of death, and location of the remains.
Next of Kin
When we learn of the death of a U.S. citizen, we will notify the deceased’s Next of Kin as soon as possible.
Generally, the Next of Kin is the individual’s spouse, adult children, parent(s), or siblings. We seek to carry out the wishes of the Next of Kin regarding disposition of the remains and any personal property. We will generally ask the Next of Kin to fill out, notarize, and return to us an Affidavit of Surviving Spouse or Next of Kin (Form DS-5511). This Affidavit does not take the place of a will, but it will assist us in carrying out the family’s wishes.
Under Albanian law, and autopsy may be performed in cases when medical personnel believe it is necessary to establish the cause of death, or when requested by the Next of Kin or in the deceased’s will.
A forensic autopsy will be performed only when ordered by a prosecutor, a court, or the judicial police.
If an autopsy is requested, morgue fees may be incurred, which vary from $40.00 (5,000 ALL) to $60.00 (6,500 ALL) per day.
Local Death Certificate
Albanian death certificates are issued by the civil registrar in the district’s civil status office with jurisdiction over either the place of residence or the place of death. If the deceased was not born in Albania, the family may need to provide an apostilled copy of the subject’s birth certificate, including a copy of the passport before the civil status office can issue the death certificate.
The certificate is written in Albanian and is issued for a fee of 50 cents (50 ALL) or, if requested and in stock, in a six language version (English, Spanish, Greek, German, French, Italian), for an additional fee.
Consular Report of Death Abroad
In the United States, a “Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” (CRODA) issued by the Embassy is generally used in lieu of a foreign death certificate to settle the deceased’s estate and for other legal purposes. The CRODA is a report that provides the essential facts concerning the death of a U.S. citizen, the disposition of remains, and the custody of the personal effects of the deceased citizen. The Report of Death is based on the foreign death certificate, and cannot be completed until the foreign death certificate has been issued. It can sometimes take two to three weeks after the date of the death to issue a CRODA, depending on how long it takes local authorities to complete the local death certificate.
Upon recipient of the local death certificate we will produce and provide the family with up to 20 certified copies of the Report of Death at the time the initial report is issued. These are provided at no cost. For information on how to request a certified copy of a CRODA, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs webpage “Request a Copy of a Consular Report of Death Abroad.”
For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “Consular Report of Death Abroad.”
Disposition of Remains
Burial/Interment: Deceased foreign citizens may be buried in Albania regardless of their residence status. They can be buried in public or religious cemeteries. A “Permission to Bury” certificate must be issued in advance by the local civil records office (this is usually done in conjunction with issuance of the death certificate). The fees for local burial/internment vary from $300.00 (40,000 ALL) to $500.00 (70,000 ALL), depending on the place of burial/internment. Costs for the casket vary from $300.00 (30,000 ALL) to $3,000.00 (340,000 ALL). Special hermetically sealed caskets that meet international standards for transportation of deceased persons are available on the local market, but may be difficult to find.
Cremation: There are no facilities for cremation in Albania.
Disinterment: Disinterment may occur after a 15-year period and only with the permission of the municipality or commune officials. Family members or legal representatives may request disinterment with the local municipalities. Disinterment may also occur prior to the assigned period with a judge’s order or with a prosecutor’s request for investigative purposes as explained in the Autopsy section above. Fees may be involved when disinterment occurs.
Embalming: There are no facilities for embalming in Albania. However, Albanian law allows for embalmed remains to be buried in Albania.
Transportation of Remains to the United States: If the Next of Kin decides to transport the remains for burial in the United States, an Albanian funeral home will coordinate transportation with a receiving funeral home of the family’s choice in the United States.
Local funeral home expenses, including fees for certificates, morgue autopsy (if performed), a special casket and transportation to the airport vary from $4,000.00 (410,000 ALL) to $4,800.00 (490,000 ALL) (not including air transportation). Most Albanian funeral homes require payment in advance.
Money can be transferred from the United States using private companies, such as Western Union, or via the Department of State’s OCS/TRUST system or directly transferred to a local funeral home bank account in Albania.
U.S. Requirements: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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.
List of Local Funeral Agencies
Disclaimer: The U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania, assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following facilities. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information in the list on professional credentials, areas of expertise, and language ability are provided directly by the facilities.
Address 1: Rr. Dibres, Nr. 302, Tirana, Albania
Address 2: Rr. Durresit, Tirana, Albania
Tel: +355-(0)-4236-0639; +355-(0)-4223-2921
Cell: +355-(0)68-203-6063; +355-(0)68-204-7089
Fax: +355-(0)-4236-3069; +355-(0)-4223-2921
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/funeralealba2000/
Hours of Services: 24-hour service. Covers funeral services for all Albania.
Kont Uran Sqaure, Nr. 39
Cell: +355-(0)68-209-2228; +355-(0)68-203-4712
Hours of Services: 24-hour service. Covers funeral services for all Albania.
Transportation of Remains to Albania
To transport human remains from the United States to Albania, one must contact the Albanian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to arrange the necessary paperwork. Funeral homes in the United States may be able to assist with these arrangements..
For more information on shipping human remains from the United States to a foreign country, please visit the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) website.