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Death of a U. S. Citizen in Croatia
October 11, 2023


The American Citizen Services Unit of the Consular Section can assist family and/or friends in the event of the death of a U.S. citizen in Croatia.  We can act as a liaison with local institutions in arranging the disposition of remains.  The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges, shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable).  We will work with any funeral home selected by the family to ensure proper documentation for shipment of remains to the United States. We also maintain a list of a few funeral homes that have experience with the international shipment of remains (please see below).

Even if no assistance is needed in making funeral arrangements, the death of a U.S. citizen, whether resident or tourist in Croatia, should be reported to the so that a Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad can be issued.

Additional information regarding the death of a U.S. citizen abroad  is available at the Department of State website.

How Can I Obtain a Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad?

The Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad is a document that is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States.  The American Citizen Services Section of the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb can issue up to 20 copies of the document to the next-of-kin.  Please email ZagrebACS@state.gov with the following information:

  • Social Security Number (If available).
  • Place and date of death: e.g., name and address of the hospital, assisted care home or private home.
  • Full name and address of the next of kin and their relation to the deceased.
  • Name and address of the person who has custody of the effects of the deceased.
  • Date and place of disposition of the remains (in case of burial: name and location of the cemetery).
  • Last local address (if applicable).
  • Last address in the United States.

To produce the Consular Report of Death, we will need the following documents (usually obtained by the funeral home):

  • Most recent U.S. passport, or other proof of U.S. citizenship, e.g. a naturalization certificate, a U.S. birth certificate, a consular Report of Birth.
  • Official death certificate issued by the Croatian vital records office. (International format as per the Vienna Convention.)
  • Medical certificate showing date and hour and cause of death, signed by the local physician.

How Can I Obtain a Croatian Death Certificate?

If a death occurs in a Croatian hospital, the hospital will produce the doctor’s report on the cause of death (Potvrda o smrti – Izvješće o uzroku smrti). This will be provided to the Croatian Vital Records Office (Matični ured) in the jurisdiction where death occurred. If death did not occur in the hospital, a coroner’s certificate (Potvrda o smrti – Izvješće o uzroku smrti ) is delivered to the Croatian Vital Records Office (Matični ured) in the jurisdiction in which the death occurred.

If the cause of death cannot be readily determined or appears to be accidental, the coroner has the authority to order an autopsy.  IMPORTANT: Under Croatian law, an autopsy may be performed without the consent of the next-of-kin of the deceased.  Autopsies may take four (or more) working days.  Depending on the results of the autopsy, the case may then be forwarded to legal authorities who might decide to investigate further before a coroner’s certificate is issued.

Note: The next-of-kin or an authorized person should contact the hospital and a doctor immediately if there are specific reasons for an autopsy not to be performed.

How Can Remains Be Transported to the United States?

Center for Disease Control Requirements

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 dgmqpolicyoffice@cdc.gov.

Please see CDC’s guidance  for additional information.

Local Funeral Home

If the next-of-kin or legal representative of the deceased decides to transport the remains for burial in the United States, a Croatian funeral home must prepare the remains for air transportation. (Please note that preparation of the remains for air transport does not necessarily mean that the remains will be suitable for viewing by relatives upon arrival in the United States.)

Then, the funeral home presents the required documentation to the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, which prepares the Consular Mortuary Certificate and the Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad. These documents along with the cancelled passport of the deceased are returned to the funeral home representative, who delivers the remains and paperwork to the airport for transportation to the United States.

Documents required for shipment of remains (generally gathered by the funeral home):

  • The official Croatian death certificate issued by the local authorities.
  • Consular Mortuary Certificate.
  • Certificate of Embalming.
  • Burial Permit issued by the local authorities.
  • Medical certificate showing cause of death, signed by attending physician/coroner.
  • Affidavit by the funeral home representative.
  • When transporting cremated remains, the ashes have to be transported in a sealed urn and have to be accompanied by a certificate, issued by the crematorium.

Most Croatian funeral homes require payment in advance.

Funeral Directors and Other Related Services in Croatia

When a U.S. citizen dies in Croatia, the next-of-kin or legal representative of the deceased must choose between three options:

  • local internment/burial ($3,500 or more, depending upon cemetery location)
  • cremation ($2,000 or more, depending upon services and location)
  • shipment of the remains or urn with ashes to the United States ($3,500 to approximately $8,500, depending on destination).

If the next-of-kin or legal representative of the deceased decides to transport the remains for burial in the U.S., a Croatian funeral home or undertaker must prepare the remains as required for air transportation.

Following are some of the funeral homes in Croatia (PDF 193 KB)