Death of a U.S. Citizen

The death of a loved one is difficult, especially if you are not familiar with the laws and procedures of the local country.  The U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik provides guidance to grieving family members on how to make arrangements for local burial or return of the remains to the United States.  The disposition of remains is affected by local laws, customs, and facilities, which may be vastly different from those in the United States.

Who do I Contact If an American dies in Iceland?

If you are in Iceland, you should report the death of a U.S. citizen in Iceland to local authorities by calling Icelandic emergency services at 112 (Iceland’s equivalent of 911).  Please also contact the American Citizen Services (ACS) unit at the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland as soon as possible.  The death can be reported during working hours (8:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday) by calling +354 595-2200.  If the death occurs outside of regular working hours, please contact the Embassy at +354-595-2248 (dial 011 first if calling from the United States).

Role of the Embassy when an American dies in Iceland

In the event that a U.S. citizen dies in Iceland there are several things the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik may do to assist the grieving family members.  In cases where the deceased U.S. citizen has no close family in Iceland at the time of death, the U.S. Embassy will notify the next-of-kin about the death and secure the deceased U.S. citizen’s personal effects.  The U.S. Embassy will provide guidance to the next-of-kin on how to make arrangements for local burial or return of remains to the United States and can relay instructions for disposition of remains to the local funeral home.  In all instances, the U.S. Embassy prepares an official Consular Report of Death Abroad, based upon the local death certificate, and sends it to the next-of-kin or legal representative for use in United States courts to settle estate matters.

The U.S. Embassy has no funds to assist in the return of remains or ashes of U.S. citizens who die abroad.

Further information

Local funeral homes (especially those located in Reykjavik) are familiar with the shipping process. Working in conjunction with a funeral home in the United States, they make all arrangements concerning preparation and shipment of remains. Costs of repatriation range from $3,000-$6,000 depending on the destination in the United States. Note that full embalming is not performed in Iceland, but funeral homes in Iceland prepare the body for shipment, and the receiving U.S. funeral home completes preparation for U.S. burial. Note also that shipments usually occur only during a weekdays and non-holidays. An autopsy is required under Icelandic law when the death occurs outside of a hospital. After an autopsy has been performed the body is turned over to a funeral home.

Funeral homes:

Utfararstofa Kirkjugardanna
Vesturhlid 2, Fossvogur
105 Reykjavik
Tel: [354] 551-1266 (available 24 hours)
https://www.utfor.is/is/we-welcome-you/funeral-services
Website: www.utfor.is
E-mail: utfor@utfor.is

Utfararthjonusta Davids Osvaldssonar, ehf.
Dalsbyggd 15
210 Gardabaer
Tel: [354] 551-3485
After Hour Tel: [354] 892-8947
E-mail: olip2409@gmail.com

Utfararstofa Islands
Audbrekka 1
200 Kopavogur
Tel: [354] 581-3300
Mobile [354] 896-8242
Website: www.utforin.is
E-mail: utforin@utforin.is

Utfararstofa Svafars & Hermanns
Sidumuli 28
108 Reykjavik
Tel: [354] 571-8222 or 820-3939
Website: www.kvedja.is
E-mail: svafar@kvedja.is

DISCLAIMERThe U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. The order in which they appear in this list has no significance. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.

Questions?

For further assistance, please call the U.S. Embassy switchboard at (354) 595-2200 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by email at reykjavikconsular@state.gov. For emergency issues outside of business hours, contact the Duty Officer at +354 693-9207.