Death of a U.S. Citizen

The U.S. Embassy in Georgetown is prepared to help families whose loved one has passed away in Guyana.  We stand ready to carry out your instructions regarding the disposition of your relative’s remains, and will send you information that will help you to make necessary decisions. The information below provides you with guidance on what to expect during this difficult time.

U.S. Embassy Georgetown Contact Information
Embassy of the United States of America
100 Young and Duke Streets
Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana
Phone number from the United States: (011) 592-225-4900/9
Phone number within Guyana: 225-4900/9
Email: ACSgeorge@state.gov

Business hours: 7:30am – 4:00pm local time

Emergencies: During business hours, call the number above and request to speak with American Citizen Services.  After business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Embassy’s emergency duty officer can be reached by calling (011) 592-225-4126 or (011) 592-623-1992. These phone numbers are only to be used for emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Guyana.

General Information

U.S. Embassy Georgetown will make every attempt to contact the next-of-kin of a U.S. citizen who has passed away in Guyana as soon as information becomes available. The Embassy will work with the next-of-kin to make arrangements for the disposition of remains and personal effects.

Families of U.S. citizens who die in Guyana are not required to travel to Guyana to arrange the repatriation of remains.  On receipt of the necessary authorizations and payment, the funeral home in Guyana will proceed with the repatriation as per the family’s instruction. Funeral homes can make full travel arrangements, including coordinating with airlines and the Embassy, to any funeral home or trade service in any state in the United States.  The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges, shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable), and local fees. The U.S. Embassy has no funds to assist in the return of remains or personal effects of U.S. citizens who die abroad. The U.S. Embassy does not charge a fee for assistance to families in the event of the death of a U.S. citizen in Guyana.

The funeral industry in Guyana is not highly regulated. Families may wish to assess the professional training and skill level of the funeral service provider.  Families have, in the past, received their relative’s remains in the United States in a condition that is not conducive for an open casket visitation and service.

Repatriation of Remains

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.

Funeral Homes and Mortuary Services

DISLCAIMER: The U.S. Embassy in Georgetown assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  The order in which names appear has no significance. Professional credentials and areas or expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.

The following provide funeral services in Guyana, including mortuary services, embalming, transport, crating, and repatriation of human remains.

Lyken Newburg Funeral Home
218 Norton Street
Georgetown
Tel: (+592) 225-9263, 225-9763
Email: glyken@hotmail.com
Memorial Gardens and Crematorium
Lot 12 Le Repentir
Georgetown
Funeral Director: (+592) 696-5708
Office tel: (+592) 223-7317/18
Merriman’s Funeral Home
55 Lime & Bent Streets
Werk-en-Rust
Georgetown
Tel: (+592) 226-4535, 227-6340, 661-5000
Email: merrimanmortuaryservices@gmail.comBerbice branch:
Lot 42 Stanleytown
New Amsterdam
Berbice
Tel: (+592) 333-3757
Sandy’s Funeral Home
Lot 1 Chapel Street
Lodge
Georgetown
Tel: (+592) 226-5580, 227-7187
Email: info@sandysfuneralhome.comWest Bank Demerara branch:
1 Middle Street
Pouderoyen
West Bank Demerara
Tel: (+592) 264-3098, 264-3099
Jerricks Funeral Home
23 Paradise Public Road
East Coast Demerara
Tel: (+592) 255 0168

 

Consular Report of Death Abroad

Even if no assistance is needed in making funeral arrangements, the death of a U.S. citizen in Guyana should be reported to the Embassy so that a Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad can be issued.  This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States. The Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen can only be issued after Guyanese authorities complete their documentation of the death, which may take one to two weeks.  The U.S. Embassy in Georgetown will provide the next-of-kin 20 certified copies of the report at no fee. If additional copies are needed at a later date, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s website, https://travel.state.gov/content/ travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/death-abroad1/copy-CRDA.html for instructions.

Services Available in Guyana: Preparation and Shipment of Remains

  1. Local death certificate: Guyanese authorities will create a death certificate stating the date and cause of death, as well as biographic details about the deceased.  This document can typically be received within one to two weeks, depending on the post-mortem process.
  2. Maximum Period Before Burial: Local and national laws do not specify a maximum period before burial, whether a body is embalmed or not.
  3. Embalming: Funeral homes can provide full embalming services, including modern vascular and cavity embalming and facial reconstruction.
  4. Cremation: Cremations are conducted at specified locations, namely Memorial Gardens in Georgetown and on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. See contact information above for Memorial Gardens Crematorium. Hindu cremations are arranged by the Hindu associations in Good Hope (East Coast Demerara) and at the Ruimzeigt (West Coast Demerara). A death certificate from two medical practitioners, application to the Ministry of Health, and police notification are required before cremations can be performed.
  5. Caskets and Containers:  Imported metal and wood caskets, containers, and sealers, as well as locally made wooden caskets, coffins, metal containers and sealers, all meet requirements for exportation.
  6. Exportation of Remains: The procedures and documentation for exporting ashes and human remains must satisfy the criteria of the sending and receiving countries.  The U.S. Embassy issues a Consular Mortuary Certificate at no cost for deceased U.S. citizens. Guyanese regulations for the exportation of human remains require certified copies of the death certificate, a Port Health Officer examination and report, an application to the Ministry of Health for the relevant permits and letters, the processing of the Customs C72 form and notification to the Drug Enforcement Unit, and finally liaising with the airlines and consignee. There may be additional fees for these documents, but the fees borne by the funeral home and those borne by those wishing to export the remains differs by funeral home. This process typically takes a minimum of seven (7) days.
  7. Autopsies: An autopsy is required of any decedent whose cause of death is in doubt or who dies from homicide, suicide, accident, misadventure, sudden death, or is a ward of the state in a public institution.  A relative or a representative of the family is required to attend the autopsy. Typically, the representative is the next of kin, but the next of kin may appoint someone else to attend on their behalf.
  8. Disinterment: Guyana’s laws and regulations regarding the disinterment of remains and shipment to the U.S. require an application to a Magistrate requesting permission to exhume and stating the reasons for the request.  Applications are also required to be sent to the Mayor and City Council’s Medical Officer, the Cemetery’s Sextant, the Ministry of Health, and Customs. A death certificate, embalming certificate, and, if applicable, Port Health Officer examination and resulting report are also required.

General Costs 

The cost of burials in Guyana may vary based on location.  The cost for preparation and burial in the capital of Georgetown, for example, is approximately USD $1,500-$2,000. The cost for cremation and disposition of ashes in Georgetown is approximately USD $300-$500.

Should you decide to have your relative’s remains returned to the United States for burial, the costs will be substantially greater due to the cost of air freight and embalming.  Preparation and air shipment of remains to the U.S. is approximately USD $9,000. Preparation and air shipment of remains requires a minimum of seven (7) days. The total cost for preparation, cremation, and air shipment of ashes to the U.S. is approximately USD $3,000. Other variables that could impact final cost include: port of final destination, non-basic casket selection, condition and size of the remains, and other items or services requested by the family.

Transportation of Remains to GuyanaTo transport human remains from the United States to Guyana, one must contact The Embassy of the Republic of Guyana in Washington, D.C., or the Guyana Consulate General in New York, NY, 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: www.nfda.org.