Death is a time of crisis for one’s family no matter where it takes place. If death occurs overseas, the experience can be even more traumatic, especially if the procedures involved in documenting the death and repatriating the deceased to the United States are not clearly understood. In case of death abroad, the U.S. Embassy works with the deceased’s next of kin to produce a U.S. certificate of death, and if desired, to help repatriate remains. You can reach the Consular Section to report the death of a U.S. citizen seven days a week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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. Please see https://www.cdc.gov/importation/human-remains.html for more details.
You will find below the Disposition of Remains Report for Algeria. This consular document describes funeral and repatriation procedures in Algeria.
Disposition of Remains Report – Algeria
Islam is the state religion of Algeria. The Algerian government allows non-Muslim religious worship only in structures exclusively intended and approved for that purpose. Activities such as proselytizing and encouraging conversion to a faith other than Islam are prohibited. Penalties may include fines and imprisonment. See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report
Mortuary Service Providers
DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Embassy, Algiers, Algeria assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.
Algérie Assistance Funéraire
Bd Krim Belkacem, 15000 Tizi Ouzou
Tel : 05-60-92-09-67 or 06-61-66-15-74
Fax : 026-20-66-61
Pompes Funèbres l’Express
24, Rue des Frères Meslem (Ex Edgar Quinet), 16005 Algiers
Pompes Funèbres Modernes
30 rue du CNRA, 23000 Annaba
Tel : 038-86-54-69
Fax : 038-86-21-29
SOS Algérie Assistance Service
Houari Boumediène International Airport, Dar El Beida, Algiers
Maximum Period before Burial
Algerian law does not specify a period of time within which burial of remains must take place, regardless of whether the remains have been embalmed or not. Remains may be buried as soon as a death certificate is issued. Algerian custom follows Islamic tradition that burial should take place within 24 hours of death when possible. Except in very exceptional circumstances, burial should take place at maximum within 48 hours of death. This applies for interments in Algeria. When the cause of death is not natural, the period may be extended. If necessary for burial arrangements outside of Algeria, a hospital mortuary can keep embalmed remains for several months.
A mortuary embalmer may perform embalming. There is no official time limitation within which a body must be embalmed. Embalmment is not a customary practice in Algeria, excepted when remains are transported cross country, so providers and practice are limited.
There have been no facilities in the consular district for cremation since 1987.
Caskets and Containers
The official mortuary service confirms that Algerian caskets adhere to international standards and meet U.S. requirements. It consists of two caskets: one galvanized zinc coffin, and one wooden coffin; and before leaving to the airport, a security check is performed by local authorities.
Exportation of Remains
To export human remains, the following documents are required by Algerian authorities:
- Coroner’s report
- Official Death Certificate issued by the Ministry of Health
- Certificate of Non-Contagion
- Mortuary Certificate
- Mortuary travel permit or Laissez Passer issued by the Ministry of Interior
- Police Clearance Letter
In addition to U.S. requirements, local authorities require that the Public Health Authorities at the Algerian port of embarkation issue an export permit.
The permit obtained by the mortuary service contains date of issuance, name of deceased, sex, race, age, cause and date of death.
Algerian authorities will not issue an export permit until they receive from the consular officer the name of the funeral home in the U.S. receiving the remains.
Local regulations regarding exportation of bodies require that the remains be placed in a hermetically sealed oak casket, lead or zinc lined, which is then placed in a container of strong wood of a thickness of at least 26 millimeters and strapped with steel bands. The law requires that a police officer be present to witness the sealing of the casket.
Exportation of Human Cremains/Ashes
Not performed in Algeria.
Exhumation and Shipment
Exhumation is authorized by the Wilaya (provincial) government upon receipt of an authorization certificate from the Ministry of Health.
An autopsy is performed by the local police when a death involves suspicious circumstances. The family of the deceased can also request an autopsy be performed at the family’s discretion.
Local Customs Regarding Mourning and Funerals
In Algeria, mourning customs for the deceased begin with ritual washing of the body and a wake before burial. Mourners transport the deceased to the burial site in a procession by foot or vehicle. The deceased is buried in a white cloth and not in a coffin. Except in parts of the Kabylia, only men attend the ceremony at the cemetery.