Death of a U.S. Citizen

Last updated July 13, 2017 – AM

Disposition of Remains

The death of a family member or loved one can be very difficult no matter where the death occurs, and can be even more traumatic when the death takes place abroad. We hope that the information provided here will be of aid to you in the case of a death which occurs in Cyprus.

The U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus prepares the consular “Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad” for all U.S. citizens who die in Cyprus. This document is for use in the United States, and is based on the Cypriot Death Certificate, the deceased’s U.S. passport, and information provided to us by relatives. To inform the U.S. embassy of a death, the American Citizens Services may be contacted Monday through Friday between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. or e-mailed at consularnicosia@state.gov.

Below can be found information relating to funeral services and burial options available in Cyprus, as well as procedures for the repatriation of remains to the U.S. Contact information on funeral homes in Cyprus is also provided below.

Religious Services. The following churches conduct services in English and are attended by the American and other communities: Nicosia Community Church (Interdenominational Protestant), St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Interdenominational Congregation (Russian Cultural Center Building), The Church of Jesus Christ (L.D.S.), St. Columbus (UN inter-denominational). There is also a Roman Catholic mass held at the U.N. chapel on Saturdays at 1800, and Protestant services at 1000 Sunday mornings. Greek language masses are not given in modern Greek and may be difficult to understand for Greek speakers. The Jewish community numbers about 200, and a synagogue was established in Larnaca in 2005.

Maximum Period before Burial. Cypriot law does not stipulate a maximum period of time in which remains must be buried.

Caskets and Containers. Caskets and containers that meet the requirements for shipment out of the country are available from reputable local funeral homes.  Caskets and containers are hermetically sealed (the casket is zinc-lined) when remains are to be shipped out of the country. If the deceased is known or suspected to have had a communicable disease, the casket is labeled accordingly to alert the receiving funeral director of the need to take appropriate hygienic measures. All documents accompanying the remains also describe the fact or possibility that the deceased died of a communicable disease.

Embalming. Embalming is not required by law and generally is not practiced for local burials; however, embalming is recommended if the funeral and burial occur a week after the remains are released to the next of kin. Embalming cannot be done by state hospitals. It can only be carried out by authorized funeral homes by licensed embalmers. Embalming is mandatory for remains shipped out of the country.

Autopsies. Autopsies are required by law if the deceased died under unusual or questionable circumstances, as required by Section 4 of the Coroner’s Law (CAP 153). The family of the deceased or the police may also request an autopsy to be performed by a state hospital.

Cremation. Cypriot law does not address the issue of cremation, but cremation is not legally performed in Cyprus.

Burial in the Republic of Cyprus. Funeral services, including casket, vary depending on the casket selected but generally total approximately 1,000 Euros to 1,500 Euros. Additional fees maybe charged for digging and lowering the casket into the grave.

Burial in the areas administered by Turkish Cypriots (North Cyprus). Total cost of $300, if the remains are buried in a plain wooden coffin, which is customary. Cremation is not practiced in the areas administered by Turkish Cypriots.

Shipment of Remains to the United States. The cost varies between approximately 3,000 Euros to 4,000 Euros, but will vary depending on the casket selection, the weight of the coffin and destination in the U.S.

Exhumation and Shipment. A court order is necessary for any exhumation. There is no statutory time period before which exhumation is prohibited. Exhumation is generally carried out in the presence of a medical officer who has been given at least four days prior notice. The remains are placed in a lead- or zinc-lined coffin which is hermetically sealed at the grave site. The coffin containing the remains must generally be exported within three days from the date of exhumation. Costs are approximately equal to those listed in the preceding paragraph.

Remarks. There are private mortuaries in Cyprus. Several private funeral homes also have limited facilities for temporary storage of remains. Please contact individual funeral homes for more information.

Notes on Northern Cyprus. The northern third of the island of Cyprus is administered by Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriot community is predominantly Sunni Muslim. There are no funeral homes. Funeral and burial arrangements are performed by municipal authorities, and burial typically takes place the same day the remains are released from a hospital or morgue.

The cost for funeral services and burial is approximately $300. These costs can be significantly higher if the burial is not performed on the day the remains are released, owing to the necessity of a zinc-lined coffin.

Autopsies are required if an individual dies unexpectedly or under questionable circumstances, and are performed at hospitals and municipal morgues.

Cremation is not permitted in the North of Cyprus. Remains that have been buried may be exhumed at any time with a court order.

If remains are to be prepared from shipment to the United States, a hospital will perform embalming, and the “Ministry of Health” will issue a certificate of embalming.  The local death certificate will be issued by the “Ministry of Interior.”  Municipal authorities typically arrange for a local carpenter to construct a very simple zinc-lined wooden coffin; however, funeral homes in the Republic of Cyprus have prepared remains for shipment if the family of the deceased prefers that.

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.

Reputable funeral homes will take care of all local arrangements, including local burials and all preparations for repatriation of remains to the United States.  If repatriation of remains is desired, the funeral home can be expected to embalm the remains, appropriately seal the casket and container, coordinate with the Ministry of Health for required export permits, coordinate with air cargo handlers, and transport the container to the international airport.  Reputable funeral homes will perform these services.  The local funeral home also will coordinate with the funeral home in the United States for receipt of remains.

Privately owned and licensed funeral homes in the Republic of Cyprus include the following:

Angel Guardians Funeral Home (Licensed Funeral Home)
24 Apostolou Pavlou Avenue, 8046 Paphos, Cyprus
Tel: 357-26-222993, Fax: 357-26-221843, Cell: 357-96-783112
E-mail: info@angelguardiansfuneralhome.com
Website: angelguardiansfuneralhome.com

Archangel Funeral Service (Licensed Funeral Home and Embalming facilities)
32 Navarinou Street, PO Box 53528, 3303 Limassol, Cyprus
Tel: 357-25-748181, Fax: 357-25-747989, Cell: 357-99-451750
E-mail: info@archangelfunerals.com.cy
Website: archangelfunerals.com.cy

Archangel Funeral Service (Licensed Funeral Home and Embalming facilities)
Kampou 21, Strovolos, 2030 Nicosia, Cyprus
Tel: 357-22-815500, Fax: 357-25-747989, Cell: 357-99-451750
E-mail: info@archangelfunerals.com.cy
Website: archangelfunerals.com.cy

G & P Melas Funeral Directors (Licensed Funeral Home and Embalming facilities)
8 Aglantzias Avenue, 2108 Nicosia, Cyprus
Tel: 357-22-253010, Fax: 357-22-253014, Cell: 357-99-447323
E-mail: info@melasfunerals.com
Website: melasfunerals.com

Othello Health Services Ltd (Licensed Funeral Home and Embalming facilities)
13 Platonos Street, 2040 Nicosia, Cyprus
Tel: 357-22-442600, Fax: 357-22-314788, Cell: 357-99-606601
E-mail: Othello@cytanet.com.cy

Ministry of Health in Northern Cyprus
Phone: +90 392-228-31-73