The American Citizens Services (ACS) unit provides certain assistance when a U.S. citizen dies in Bolivia. The degree and nature of consular assistance depends upon whether the U.S. citizen was accompanied by a family member or representative and whether he or she was visiting or living in Bolivia.
The ACS Unit can provide advice on funeral homes that prepare remains for repatriation to the United States and will issue a Consular Report of Death, which serves as a death certificate for probate and other legal purposes in the United States.
When a U.S. citizen dies in Bolivia, the death should be reported to the U.S. Embassy in La Paz or the Consular Agency in Santa Cruz as soon as possible. The surviving spouse, or next of kin, should send an email to ConsularLaPazACS@state.gov with a copy of the Bolivian death certificate, U.S. passport of the deceased, social security number, any marriage or divorce certificates, identification for the next of kin including marriage or birth certificates, and contact telephone number.
Consular Report of Death of an American Citizen in Bolivia
Even if no assistance is needed in making funeral arrangements, the death of a U.S. citizen, whether resident or tourist, should be reported to the Embassy so that a Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad (CRODA) can be issued. The CRODA will be issued upon presentation of a local death certificate and proof that the deceased was an American citizen. This document will serve to settle most legal and estate matters in the United States.
Profile of Services Available in Bolivia
Bolivian law does not place a time limit during which burial must take place. However, funeral homes generally only allow one week to receive the next-of-kin’s instructions due to limitations on refrigerated facilities. If additional time is needed to make subsequent final disposition of remains arrangements, the body must be transported to a refrigerated storage facility. Un-embalmed remains are usually buried within 48 hours after death.
Embalming is carried out by local funeral homes in accordance with local practices. In most cases, the services fall short of those expected in the United States.
Cremation is permitted in Bolivia. There is no time limit within which remains must be cremated. Remains can be cremated in major cities of Bolivia: La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Tarija, Oruro and Sucre. Cremation procedures result in the same sized fine ash as it does in the United States.
An autopsy is performed in cases involving violent or suspected violent death (murder, suicide or accidental). It is also performed in cases of natural death when it occurs in circumstances that are not clear (sudden or unexpected deaths).
Schedule of Costs (approximate) as of November 2020
- Burial Without Embalming: $1,500
- Burial With Embalming: $2,000
- Cremation: $2,500
- Embalming: $500
- Preparation of Remains for Repatriation (including coffin, zinc and wooden containers and embalming):$4000
- Estimated shipment by air to Miami (human remains) (based on total weight 220 Kgs.): $2,500
- Cremation and Repatriation of Ashes by air to Miami (human ashes): $3,500
The following morticians are familiar with the procedures for embalming, cremation, preparing the necessary documentation, and preparing and shipping remains.
The U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.
Av. Bush 1278, Miraflores
Phone: (591-2) 222-4455, (591-2) 222-5998
Contact: Adolfo Valdivia
POC Jhonny Quispe;
Phone: (591-7) 321-2536
Ave. Ayacucho #490
Blanco Galindo Km 7.5
Phone: (591-4) 425-3083; (591-4) 443-0426
Parque de Las Memorias
Ave. Salamanca Nº 0687
Phone: (591-4) 452-0520; (591) 722-03666
Contact: Mauricio Andrade
Funeraria La Capilla
Ave. Gualberto Villarroel esq. Pasaje Zolano s/n
Phone: (591-4) 445-4141, 445-4440; (591) 707-33225
Contact: Patricia Cadima
6 de Octubre, San Felipe y Aldana
Phone:  (591) 604-27614
Contact: Melina Morales
Funeraria Señor de Malta
Calle Cuellar No. 317
Phone: (591-3) 332-3468; (591)773-65976
Contact: Edmundo Cardenas
Funeraria San Juan de Dios
Calle Santa Barbara No. 498, esq Cuellar
Phone: (591-3) 333-1866; (591)704-48819
Contact: Magaly Claros
POC: Olga de Coronado
Phone: (591) 760-93612
Funeraria La Esperanza
POC: Francisco Prado Camacho
Phone: (591) 736-20202
If the death occurs in Santa Cruz, you can also try to contact the appropriate consular agent for assistance.
Funeraria Jardin de Paz
Rosendo Villa No 120
Phone: (591-4) 645-7524; (591) 728-77889
Contact: Tito Valda
C/ Ayacucho No354 frente Hospital Santa Barbara
Phone: (591-4) 642-1956; (591-4) 643-6493
Mobile: (591) 728-90545; (591) 676-08047; (591) 761-28727
Funeraria Monte Cristo
Av. Potosi esq. Pje. Las Rosas
Phone: (591) 718-60800; (591) 702-15517
Contact: Lic. Nataly Valdez
C/ Alcides d’Orbigny No1119
Phone: (591-4) 664-4490; (591) 702-23206
Contact: German Valdez or Mabel de Valdez
10 de Abril 595
Phone: (591) 604-51102
Contact: Willy Oporto Valdez
Repatriation of Remains
Documentation Required for Exportation of Remains/Ashes
To facilitate the exportation of the remains, the Embassy prepares a Consular Mortuary Certificate which includes flight details and consignee and incorporates the following documents:
- An official Bolivian Death Certificate, which is a certificate issued by the local Bolivian Civil Registry;
- Permit from the city (municipalidad) to export remains;
- Certificate of Embalming, which document certifies the chemicals that were used for embalming the body and is issued by the funeral home;
- A Consular Mortuary Certificate issued by the Consular Section;
- Affidavit by the Local Bolivian Mortician, which should be attached to the consular Mortuary Certificate, and must state that the casket contains only the body of the deceased and the necessary clothing and packing. This document is prepared by the Embassy;
- Transit Label issued by the Consular Section.
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 email@example.com
Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.
Disposition of Remains Report
In the event of the death of an American citizen in Bolivia, our first responsibility is to locate and inform the next-of-kin. Once we locate the next-of-kin, we can act as a liaison in arranging the disposition of remains and help with forwarding personal effects.
The disposition of remains is affected by local laws, customs and facilities, which can be vastly different from those in the United States. The family or legal representative must pay all funeral home charges and shipping costs for the remains and personal effects (if applicable). General estimates of these costs as well as the shipping requirements are available in the Disposition of Remains Report here (PDF 90 KB). We will work with any funeral home selected by the family to ensure proper documentation for shipment of remains to the United States.
Contact Information (La Paz)
Regular Business Hours
Monday to Thursday: 8:00 am – 5:30 pm
Friday: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Excluding U.S. and Bolivian Holidays
Phone: (591) 2-216-8000
Contact Information (Santa Cruz)
Regular Business Hours
Monday and Tuesday: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Wednesday and Thursday: 8:30 am – 3:00 pm and Friday: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Excluding U.S. and Bolivian Holidays
Phone: (591) 2-216-8000