Death of a U.S. Citizen

In the event of the death of a U.S. citizen, our American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit works closely with the family of the deceased, the deceased’s sponsoring employer, or their representative in Qatar to document the death and finalize procedures for repatriation or local burial.

The following information is submitted in accordance with referenced regulations and requirements to provide current data on Qatari law on the disposition of remains. Qatar is a traditionally Islamic country. Hamad Hospital has the only mortuary in Qatar.

Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.

  • Maximum Period Before Internment:

All remains are sent to Hamad Hospital Mortuary, regardless of where the person died, and are held there until all documents are completed. The mortuary is free of charge; regardless of how long the remains are there. Hamad Hospital assists in making the necessary arrangements for the preparation of the remains for burial according to the religion of the deceased. In keeping with local customs, burial for Muslims or non-Muslims normally takes place within 24 hours of the time of death, though this is often not possible when the remains are to be repatriated.

  • Embalming:

Embalming is normally performed only on those remains to be repatriated from Qatar. The embalming service is available only at Hamad Hospital. It is normally done 24 hours prior to the shipment of the remains. This service is free of charge.

  • Cremation:

Cremation is not available or permitted in Qatar.

  • Caskets and Containers:

When remains are to be transported out of the country, the body is first embalmed and then placed in a zinc lined, hermetically sealed casket.  Caskets and other materials are available locally on short notice. Gulf Boxes is the only company licensed to supply coffins.

  • Exportation of Remains:

To export human remains, the following documents are required by the local authorities:

  1. Official death certificate, issued by the Ministry of Public Health.
  2. Embalming and Sealing Certificate, issued by Hamad Hospital.
  3. Transfer of Dead Body Certificate, issued by the Ministry of Interior.
  4. An “Official Release of Remains Request,” issued from the U.S. Embassy.
  • Costs:

Local Burial:  Local burial for Muslims typically costs USD $100.00, which is the cost of the cloth to wrap the body for burial. The Government of Qatar provides all other facilities free of charge for any Muslim buried locally.

For non-Muslims, the government of Qatar will provide transportation and a gravesite about 90 kilometers from the capital city of Doha, free of charge.  In these cases, a grave must be dug and a casket purchased.  The price of the casket can vary from USD $250.00 to USD $1500.00, depending on individual preferences.  The local sponsor, usually the employer of the deceased, has paid these expenses.

Preparation and Shipment of Remains:

  • Total expenses:  The cost of shipping a standard coffin is  approximately USD $4,000 to USD $5,000. The airfreight charges will vary according to the destination and the airline.
  • Airfreight: The airlines use a standard weight of 150Kg to calculate shipment of remains.  Below are prices for air shipment from Doha to various points in the Continental United States.  A standard processing fee of QR 200.00 (USD $60.00 approximately) will be added to the shipment charges.

Following are the approximate costs of current (2018) airfreight to several selected destinations in the United States:

 

Destination

Airline

Qatar Airways Turkish Airlines
Dallas Approx. USD 5000 ——
Chicago Approx. USD 5000 ——
Boston Approx. USD 5000 Approx. USD 4000
Houston Approx. USD 5000 ——
New York Approx. USD 5000 Approx. USD 4000
Philadelphia Approx. USD 5000 ——
Miami Approx. USD 5000 Approx. USD 4000
Washington Approx. USD 5000 Approx. USD 4000
Pittsburgh Approx. USD 5000 ——
Atlanta Approx. USD 5000 Approx. USD 4000
San Francisco —— Approx. USD 4000
Los Angeles —— Approx. USD 4000

 

  • Exhumation and Shipment:

Exhumation is permitted in cases involving criminal charges; permission for exhumation must be obtained from the Ministry of Interior.

Note:

As a prevailing practice, the local sponsor/employer is typically responsible for total expenses including the cost of a U.S. standard casket, sealing charges and cost of shipment of remains to the destination of the deceased. Those employed in Qatar should check their contracts for specific details.

Important phone numbers and contact persons:

  1. Hamad Hospital Mortuary      : +974 4439 2594
  2. Hamad Medical Corporation   : +974 4025 3368; +974 4025 3365
  3. Ministry of  Health                  : +974 4025 3370; +974 4025 3364
  4. Ministry of Interior                 : +974 4025 3371; +974 4025 3372; +974 4025 3369
  5. Qatar Airways                         : +974 4025 3374
  6. Qatar Airways / Cargo            : +974 4407 4728
  7. Turkish Airlines / Cargo                   : +974 44368389
  8. Gulf Boxes                              : +974 4435 5460; +974 4435 1697