Importing Mortal Remains

The South African Government does not provide any financial assistance towards the costs of importing mortal remains to South Africa but will write to the Director General, Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria, to request the approval from the Department of National Health and Population Development for the importation of the mortal remains to South Africa. The letter will contain/enclose the following information:

1)   Deceased particulars as follows:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Marital Status
  • Spouse's Name
  • Nationality of Spouse
  • Occupation of the Deceased
  • South African Passport Number
  • Place of Issuance
  • Date of Issuance
  • Date of Expiration
  • ID Number
  • Date of Death
  • Place of Death
  • Cause of Death
  • Mode of Shipment of Body
  • Port of Departure
  • Date of Departure
  • Port of Arrival
  • Date of Arrival
  • Date and Place of Departure
  • Date and Place of Arrival
  • Undertakers in the U.S.
  • Undertakers in South Africa
  • Contact Name
  • Place of Burial.

2)   Documentations to be attached:

  • copy of passport (first and second pages, showing passport number
    and picture)
  • death certificate certified as a true copy by the Department of Health.
    It must state the cause of death other than a communicable disease.
  • Embalmment certificate - (if the person cannot be embalmed due to religious reasons, it must be stated); and/or
  • Affidavit of undertaker stating that the remains have been embalmed and prepared in conformity to the regulations of the City of New York (or relevant city). This affidavit must be notarized.
  • A letter from attending pathologist or medical doctor stating that the person did not suffer from a contagious or infectious disease at the time of death.

3)   Permission will be granted for the importation/exportation of the mortal remains to South Africa, on condition that:

  • the body be embalmed
  • the body must be sealed in an airtight container and placed in a sturdy non-transparent coffin
  • an import permit must be obtained from the receiving health authority.

Once the permission for the importation of the mortal remains to South Africa is granted by the relevant authorities in Pretoria, the South African Consulate General in New York will issue a letter in this regard.