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Disposition of Remains Report
14 MINUTE READ

Part I: Name of Country

Samoa

Part II: U.S. Embassy Information

U.S. Embassy Apia

5th Floor ACC Building, Matafele

Phone: +685-21631

Fax: +685-22030

After Hours Emergency Phone: +685-777-1776

State Department Country Specific Information

Register with the Embassy

Part III: Profile of Religions of the Host Country and Religious Services available to visitors

Country profile

Religious Activities for Visitors: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i

Part IV: Funeral Directors, Mortician and Related Services Available in the Host Country

DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Embassy in Apia, Samoa 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.

Fesili Funeral Home:

Ph: +685 31037 or 21469;

Email: jaffas@lesamoa.net;

Location/s: Motootua

Ligaliga Funeral Parlor/Ligaliga Fusi& Sons Funeral Services:

Ph: +685 24681; Mb: +685 752-468/757-8000;

Contact: Tofilau Henry Ligaliga;

Email: info@ligaliga.comhenry.ligaligafunerals@gmail.com;

Location/s: Leififi, Salelologa, Sataua.

Sefo’s Funeral Services:

Ph: +685 23016;

Contact: Pau Sefo;

Email: pausefo@gmail.com;

Locations: Motootua and Tafaigata

Part V: Profile of services available regarding preparation and shipment of remains

What Happens First: If there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, the attending physician will issue a doctor’s certificate giving the cause of death, and the body can be released to the funeral home. Otherwise, the investigating police may order an autopsy.

Death Certificate: The official death certificate is issued by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Death certificates can take from 2 weeks to several months to be issued. Bodies can be returned to the U.S. based on the doctor’s certificate.

Maximum Period Before Burial: Depending upon the condition of the body and the mortuary is not full, the deceased may be kept in the mortuary for up to 2 or 3 months upon request. If the body is not embalmed, it must be buried within 1 week or less.

Embalming: Bodies may be embalmed immediately (if no autopsy is ordered) at the National Hospital or the funeral home. If no refrigeration is available, embalming should take place within 12 hours of death. With refrigeration, embalming may be undertaken whenever convenient.

Cremation: Cremation is permitted in Samoa. Sefo’s Funeral Services is the only enclosed crematorium at this time.

Caskets and Containers: When shipping to the United States, local shipping companies follow U.S. Public Health Service regulations which require remains to be placed in hermetically sealed metal-lined caskets and encased in a wooden container. Funeral directors are responsible for packing and shipping remains and make sworn statements concerning the contents of caskets.

Exportation of Remains: For bodies to be exported, the death must not be due to an infectious disease, the body must be embalmed, and the body must be encased in a hermetically-sealed container and then place in an ordinary coffin. The embassy will work with the local funeral home director to provide the necessary documents. Ashes can be placed in an ordinary urn or container, which must then be sealed.

Exhumation and Shipment: No exhumation may be carried out until health authorities are satisfied that there is no danger to public. Approval from the Ministry of Health must be granted before proceeding. Minimum period of internment before a body may be exhumed if not embalmed is 10 years. If the body was embalmed exhumation may be done at any time.

Cultural issues related to funeral, mourning and memorial customs: None.

Approximate Costs: Based on exchange rate of November 16, 2018: $1.00 = $2.51

  • Embalming: Approximately USD 800.
  • Local burial costs can range from USD 2400 to 4000 depending on the casket chosen.
  • Cremation, including transport charges, will usually cost approximately USD 3000-4000. Visit the TSA website for more information on traveling with crematory remains to the U.S.
  • Preparation for shipment including embalming, casket, and sealing would cost approximately USD 7000-12,000.

Current charges for international shipping costs of a casket are estimated at USD 3000 for approximately 250 kg to the west coast and USD 4500 to the east coast. Exact international shipping costs from Faleolo International Airport to the U.S. can be obtained from airlines directly.

Covid-19

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.