Death of a U.S. Citizen in Taiwan
Death of a U.S. Citizen
We can assist family and friends in the event of the death of an American citizen in Taiwan. If a legal Next-Of-Kin (NOK) is present in Taiwan at the time of death, it is the NOK's responsibility to handle the disposition of remains. If the U.S. citizen has no NOK in Taiwan, a Consular Officer will notify the NOK and assist in assigning a proxy, as required by Taiwan authorities, to carry out the disposition of remains. The family or proxy must pay all funeral home charges and shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable).
Even if no assistance is needed in making funeral arrangements, the death of a U.S. citizen, whether a resident or tourist in Taiwan, should be reported immediately to AIT so that a "Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad" can be issued. For more information on this document, please see the Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States. We will issue 15 original copies of the Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad to the NOK.
Disposition of Remains
There are two Taipei City funeral parlors. Both are equipped with cold storage facilities. Remains can be preserved in good condition for a maximum of 10 days and extension may be granted upon request. Neither funeral parlor is able to prepare remains for return to the United States. Shipment must be arranged with an undertaker who will work with the funeral home or crematorium to prepare the remains and also prepare required shipping documents such as cremation, quarantine, embalming, and inspection certificates, and export permits.
Maximum Period before Burial
No local law exists concerning burial. However, administrative and health regulations require burials to occur within one month. There are fees associated with holding remains at a public mortuary.
U.S.-quality embalming is not available in Taiwan. In Taiwan, there are no undertakers who can perform embalming on their own. Undertakers have to make special arrangements with either of the Taipei City funeral parlors for assistance. Though this preparation does not meet U.S. standards for embalming, it is adequate for shipping the remains. NOK are cautioned that preservation of remains may not be entirely satisfactory and an open-casket ceremony may not be advisable.
Taipei has one public crematorium with 14 incinerators. It typically takes two to three days to complete cremation. The undertaker will arrange for cremation, and a signed authorization from the NOK is required by local law. In some cases, the authorization document will require notarization by a U.S. notary public and authentication by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.
Casket and Containers
Regular wooden caskets are available. A simple, lighter, cloth-lined wooden box which is less expensive to purchase and ship is also available. This box may be used for burial in the United States or replaced with a more elaborate coffin. More elaborate coffins are not recommended because they are expensive and difficult to obtain in Taiwan.
Exporting Human Remains
Whole remains must be contained in a hermetically sealed coffin/casket and covered with another wooden box to meet export requirements. To facilitate the export of whole remains from Taiwan to the United States, the American Institute in Taiwan prepares a Consular Mortuary Certificate to accompany the remains. It provides the flight details, name of the consignee, and the following documents:
- Local death certificate
- Certificate for the Exportation of Human Remains issued by the Center for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health and Welfare
- Affidavit from the funeral director stating that the remains have been properly packed for shipment
- Embalming certificate
Exporting Human Ashes
Cremated remains may be exported if accompanied by a certified copy of the local death and cremation certificates. Ashes can be shipped only to major international airports. We recommend that airline passengers carrying cremated remains to the United States declare the nature of the package to U.S. customs and use a non-metallic urn to allow screening. Unaccompanied remains must be sent by air freight and the family or a representative of the receiving U.S. funeral home must claim the urn upon arrival at the arrival airport.
All prices are based on the exchange rate on August 4, 2016: USD 1.00 = NTD 31.671 (local currency) by International Currency Exchange (http://ice.cgfs.state.sbu)
Local burial is not recommended unless the NOK has a contact in Taiwan to assist with locating a burial site. Local burial is expensive as available land is at a premium.
The following costs are estimates and may be helpful in making plans for burial:
- A grave plot starts from USD 48,000.
- Funeral costs and preparation of remains cost approximately USD 12,000.
Cremation and Air Shipment of Ashes
Cremation and air shipment service fees include: a simple, light, and cloth-lined wooden coffin, an undertaker’s handling fees, collection and transportation of remains, crematorium fees, and other administrative fees. In total, this costs approximately USD 2,600.
Shipping the ashes to the United States requires an additional charge, which includes packaging and forwarding to the consignee by air freight for collection at the airport. This costs approximately USD 1,100.
Air Shipment of Remains
The cost of preparing remains for shipment—including local collection of remains, embalming, provision and preparation of a lightweight coffin in accordance with international standards for shipment—administration of flight arrangements, preparation of documentation, and notification of consignee and delivery to the airport costs approximately USD 10,000.
The NOK or proxy will need to provide the contact information for the receiving funeral home in the United States to the funeral home in Taiwan in order to arrange shipment.
According to the Communicable Disease Control Act and the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Taiwan, cremation is mandatory if the death was a result of a communicable disease.
An autopsy is mandatory in Taiwan when the death is sudden and the cause is unknown or there is reasonable cause to suspect that the deceased died of a violent or unnatural death.
The American Institute in Taiwan assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability, reputation of, or the quality of services provided by the following businesses. The following are listed in alphabetical order. The NOK or the proxy should directly contact the specific company for the details of the arrangements.
Heng An Funeral Service
Tel: +886-2-2502 5822 / +886-2-2517 1621
Lung Yen Funeral Service
Renben Service Corporation Taiwan
Tel: +886-2-2239 9858
Fax: +886-2-2239 7119
In case of an American Citizen Emergency, please call (02) 2162-2000 and press * (star) at any time to reach an operator or duty officer. If calling from the United States, please call 1-888-407-4747.
For Kaohsiung area contact information, visit American Citizen Services at AIT Kaohsiung's website.
Any other American Citizen Services questions, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
For Social Security related information, please click Federal Benefits. E-mail: email@example.com