Death of a U.S. Citizen in Slovakia
December 28, 2011
When an American citizen dies in Slovakia, the U.S. Embassy should be notified as soon as possible. Upon notification, the Consular Officer's subsequent actions will depend on the circumstances of the death and on decision made by the next of kin (see Emergencies).
The Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad (Form OF-180) is issued by the Consular Section (based upon the information on the local Death Certificate) and forwarded to the next of kin. It is a legal document which may be used in U.S. courts to settle estate matters.
The following information describes what to expect in case of the death of a U.S. citizen in Slovakia. Various area mortuaries were surveyed in order to compile this data. The laws cited are from the national law of Slovakia, the Slovak Law on Funeral Services No. 131/2010.
Part I. Slovak Republic
Part II. U.S. Embassy or Consulate Information
U.S. Embassy, Bratislava
Address: Hviezdoslavovo námestie 4, 811 02 Bratislava
Mailing address: U.S. Embassy, P.O. Box 309, 814 99 Bratislava, Slovakia
Telephone: (421)(2)5443 0861 or (421)(2) 5443 3338
Emergency after-hours telephone: (421) 903 703 666
Facsimile: (421)(2) 5441 8861
Part III. Profile of Religions of the Host Country and Religious Services available to visitors
Country Profile: Host Country Religions: Religions (2001): Roman Catholic 69%, Protestant 9%, Greek Catholic 4%, Orthodox 0.9%, other 0.6%, unknown 3.5%, 13% report no affiliation. (From Background Notes)
Religious Activities for Visitors: Slovakia’s population is largely Roman Catholic and there are many Catholic services conducted in Slovak throughout the country. The next largest denomination is Lutheran. Several other Protestant denominations as well as Jewish, Eastern Orthodox and Mormon (LDS) congregations are also present. There are several international churches conducting services in English, including Catholic, Lutheran and Baptist.
Local Customs Related to Funerals in Slovakia
The majority of the Slovak population is Christian (primarily Catholic) and therefore the majority of funeral ceremonies are religious, although a civil ceremony is also usual.
The funeral ceremony is ordered at a local funeral home, which will make arrangements according to the wishes of the next of kin. Funeral ceremonies usually take place immediately before burial at the cemetery chapel or at the crematorium. The wake and display of the remains depend on the wishes of the family. Mourners usually bring flowers to the ceremony. No financial donations are usual in Slovakia. Memorial services usually take place in church, if requested.
Cremation itself follows the funeral service without the presence of the next of kin. The urn and the cremation certificate are usually issued on the following work day at the facility and are released to the next of kin.
Part IV. Funeral Directors, Mortician and Related Services Available in the Host Country
The very first step in arranging funeral services in Slovakia would be to contact a Slovak Funeral Home. The major two Funeral Homes plus two other undertakers are listed below. Slovak Funeral Homes are either operated by the local government or private companies, and there are relatively few of them. All Funeral Service providers must be officially established and operate under the provisions of the Slovak law on funeral services No. 131/2010. The services provided usually include all parts of the funeral or preparation for transportation. Once the services are ordered, the funeral home will arrange for transportation, cooling, packaging of the remains before transportation or the wake, funeral ceremony, flowers, burial or cremation in Slovakia.
821 09 Bratislava
Tel: (421)(2) 5070 0140, 5070 0141, 5070 0142, Director: 5070 0100
811 08 Bratislava
Tel: (421)(2)5292 2837, Fax: 5556 1532, Mobile: (421)(903)708 689, (421)(903)706 161
Funeral Service Ladislav Striz
Trojicne namestie 12
821 06 Bratislava
Tel: 00421 2 455 241 24, Fax: 452 480 71
DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Embassy Bratislava 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.
Part V. Profile of services available in the host country regarding preparation and shipment of remains
Maximum Period Before Burial
Human remains must be buried or cremated.
The maximum period before burial of remains not stored in a cooling device is 96 hours after passing. Burial cannot occur earlier than 48 hours after passing.
The maximum period before burial if remains are stored in a cooling device is 14 days.
Slovak law does not specify the maximum period before burial specifically for embalmed remains.
Embalming of the deceased is possible upon request of the next of kin. Embalming is usually mandatory in cases of international shipment of remains. Requests for embalming must be made at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, Sasinkova St., 811 08 Bratislava, tel: (421)(2)5292 1974 or 5292 1975, contact person MUDr. Mego. The approximate cost is $1250.
Slovak law allows cremation and cremation facilities are available in all districts in Slovakia. The cost begins at about $1000 and may be more depending on the type of casket and urn selected. Shipment of an urn with ashes to the eastern seaboard of the U.S. typically costs around $430, but may be more depending on weight, packaging, express service, and final destination. The size of the ashes is not specified in the law or set by the regulations.
Caskets and Containers
Caskets and containers are available through the licensed funeral homes. Funeral homes in Slovakia normally provide the whole range of services from transportation, contacting local administration for issuance of death reports and other documents necessary for either local burial or transportation of remains, contacting customs authorities for issuance of transportation permit, as well as contacting the airlines/cargo company.
Exportation of Remains
European Union regulations prevail.
The family or legal representative must pay all funeral and (if applicable) transportation costs noted here. Note that the following costs relate to preparation and transportation from Slovakia. Costs billed by the receiving funeral home in the United States will be in addition to these.
The cost of a local burial is from approximately $1200 or more, depending on services selected and the type of casket, grave site, gravestone, etc.
The cost of cremation in Slovakia is about $1000. The actual cost may vary depending on the type of casket and/or urn selected.
Caskets and Containers
The prices of caskets suitable for local burial or cremation range from $172 to $1500.
The prices of caskets and containers suitable for international shipment range from $350 to $1000.
Transportation of remains
The cost of transporting remains from Bratislava to the eastern seaboard of the United States is approximately $4000 (depending on weight.) Embalming costs and the cost of casket/container are additional. Additional costs may also be incurred for transportation within the United States.
Transportation of cremains
The cost of transporting ashes in an urn from Bratislava to the eastern seaboard of the United States is approximately $1200, and may vary depending on the weight of the urn selected.
Embalming is generally required for international transportation. The next of kin can specifically request embalming. Requests for embalming must be made at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Sasinkova St., 811 08 Bratislava, Tel: (421)(2) 5292 1974 or 5292 1975, contact person MUDr. Mego. Approximate cost is $1250.
Exhumation and Shipment
Slovak law No. 131/2010 effective from January 1, 2011 applies. Disinterment is subject to issuance of a permit by health authorities. Disinterment of remains of persons who died of dangerous communicable diseases is not permitted.
Shipment of remains is regulated by international treaties. Generally, shipment of a casket containing remains must be ordered by a funeral service and the addressee must also be a funeral service. A private person may request transportation of ashes only.
An autopsy can be ordered by the medical examiner who views the body at the place of death. The law requires an autopsy in all cases of death in hospitals, in order to confirm the cause of death, and in all cases of death where the cause is unclear or there is possible external involvement/foul play. It must always be ordered by the medical examiner and confirmed by the District Supervisory Medical Authority (UDZS).
If within 96 hours of death no one orders the burial of the deceased, or if within 7 days of the death identity of the deceased is not confirmed, the municipality in which the death occurred will provide for the burial of such a person.
If the deceased is a foreign citizen, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the foreign diplomatic mission in question are notified. If the municipality does not receive instructions for transportation or consent for local burial, then the law requires that the burial be organized and provided for by the municipality.