Disposition of Remains Report

The following information is submitted in accordance with the referenced requirements. Various area mortuaries were surveyed in order to compile this data. The laws cited are from the national law of the Republic of Armenia. Embassy Yerevan submits the following 7 FAM 261 update of current procedures in the Republic of Armenia for the disposition of human remains. On March 29, 2006, the Government of Armenia formally adopted the Law on Funeral Ceremonies, Use of Cemeteries and Crematoriums which governs the disposition of human remains in Armenia. On January 16, 2007, the Government adopted Resolution 1910, which provides further regulatory guidelines.  In practice, however, Armenian mortuaries follow procedures first established by the Soviet Union and sanctioned by the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Part I. Republic of Armenia

Part II. U.S. Embassy Information

Embassy of the United States of America
1 American Avenue
Yerevan 0082, Republic of Armenia
Phone:           (+374-10) 46-4700
Fax:                (+374-10) 46-4742

After hours:   (+374-10) 46-4444
E-mail:            acsyerevan@state.gov

Part III. Profile of Religions and Religious Services Available:

Armenia is ethnically homogeneous, with approximately 98 percent of the population classified as ethnic Armenian. About 90 percent of citizens nominally belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, an Eastern Christian denomination with its spiritual center located at the cathedral and monastery of Etchmiadzin. The Government generally permits comparatively small, but growing, communities of other faiths to hold religious services.

Of the numerous churches in Armenia, most are Armenian Apostolic. That being said, there are also many other local congregations including Russian Orthodox, Baptist, and other protestant Christian, Catholic, Seventh-Day Adventist, and Latter-day Saints (Mormon). There is one Jewish Synagogue, and one Mosque.

Yerevan ACS can provide contact information for those who would like to arrange a funeral.

Part IV. Funeral Directors, Mortician and Related Services Available:

DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Embassy Yerevan assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the service provider.

Bisharyan Mher is chief of Forensic Medicine at the Armenian Ministry of Health, Scientific Research Center for Forensic Medicine.

Contact information: Office Phone: (374-10) 56-71-08; E-mail: Info@formed.am

Speaks Armenian and Russian, English.

Armen Sukiasyan is chief of the Yerevan Funeral Home, at the Yerevan Municipal (Bureau of Burials Tel 374-10-70 40 22), in Yerevan, Armenia.

Part V. Profile of services available in the host country regarding preparation and shipment of remains:

There are few mortuary professionals in the Republic of Armenia. Embalming is available in the capital and some regional centers; quality, however, varies significantly. In most cases, embalming does not meet U.S. standards. Autopsies are required in all death cases.

Transportation and preparation services usually associated with US funeral homes are provided by individuals on an informal basis. The contact below is also able to prepare remains and process documentation for exportation, to obtain casket shipping containers, and transportation to the airport on request.

  • Leben Yerevan Medical Center
    POC: Samvel Dilaryan
    : (374 99) 209025; (374 93) 541515

(1) Maximum Period before Interment

Under Armenian law, interment should be done not sooner than 24 hours after the death. According to the Ministry of Health, Armenia’s few mortuaries may, and in certain circumstances do, store remains for several weeks.

(2) Embalming

Armenian law does not require embalming. In general practice, the decision to embalm depends upon familial tradition and logistics, ranging from the (un)availability of embalming services in the locality, to the financial situation of remaining family, and seasonal temperatures.

For Remains Shipped Abroad: If remains are shipped to the United States, the state-side funeral home should check the condition of the remains before viewing by family. Embalming is not generally up to U.S. standards. Consular officers have observed unnatural skin tone and hues, as well as blood on clothing.

For Remains Interred Locally: If desired, embalming is generally performed immediately after an autopsy, which is required in all cases. Elapsed time between death and autopsy varies with the availability of competent authorities, services, and facilities in the locality.

(3) Cremation

Due to religious and cultural reasons, cremation is not practiced in Armenia. Local law does not provide for cremation, and Armenia does not have a crematorium. Families desiring a cremation will need to arrange for the transportation of the remains to the United States and perform the cremation there.

(4) Caskets and Containers

Locally-produced caskets of varying qualities range in price from approximately USD 40 to USD 2000. Some family members, seeking to reduce funeral and transportation costs to an absolute minimum, have purchased the materials independently and constructed crates that pass casual visual inspection by workers at the Scientific Research Center for Forensic Medicine. The crates are generally oversized, providing larger storage space than required by the caskets and significant area for the contents to shift while in transit. Upon inspection of the remains, the ACS officer instructs workers at the Scientific Research Center for Forensic Medicine to brace the casket in the crate to avoid damage.

For the interment of the deceased (remains) a graveyard for 2.5 sq.m is provided (2,20m. x 1,0m.). For family grave-yard the maximal space provided is up to 12,0 square m. In case more space is requested the service will be charged (payment will be required). The fee for service is regulated by the Government of Armenia.

(5) Exportation of Remains

To export human remains, Armenian authorities require the following documents: (Note: Officially, documents may only be obtained on regular work days. Payment of unofficial fees, however, may expedite issuance, or result in the issuance of documents outside of regular workdays and working hours.)

(a) Official Death Certificate (issued by the Ministry of Health);

(b) Medical Death Certificate (usually issued by the hospital or coroner);

(c) Shipment authorization letter from Regional Health Department or a competent authority at the Scientific Research Center for Forensic Medicine stating that the remains are not infectious and therefore released for transportation.

(6) Exportation of Human Remains/Ashes

There are no regulations or standards for the exportation of human ashes.

(7) Costs

All fees are approximate. The provision of services by undertakers’ offices, cemeteries, ritual services providers, and other “death and burial services providers” is value-added (VAT) tax-free under Article 15, Section 5 (PRIVILEGES AND ZERO RATE TAXATION) of the Law of Republic of Armenia on Value Added Tax ratified April 15, 1997. Exchange rates and value of the Armenian Dram can changes quickly and significantly.

Local Burial without Embalming (Minimum Cost: USD 150-275): Fees include transportation (USD 40 – USD 70), standard casket (USD 80), and official fee for the service (USD 60) in one of Yerevan’s 20 public cemeteries. (Note: Municipalities wave funeral home and burial plot charges for paupers.)

Local Burial with Autopsy and Embalming (Minimum Cost: USD 115):


In addition to fees noted directly above, autopsy, embalming and doctor’s or funeral director’s certification (USD 100), plus storage fees (USD 13-15 per day).

Preparation of Remains and Shipment to the United States (Minimum Cost: USD 4000-5000, depending on airline, plus USD 13-15 daily storage charge):

(a) Preparation

Autopsy and embalming (USD 100)

Daily storage fee (USD 13-15)

Wood casket, shipping container and transportation to the airport (USD 800)

(b) Airfreight charges (USD 1700 – 3800, depending on airline) Airfreight charges vary significantly and can change quickly based on a variety of factors and must be confirmed with the air carrier on a case-by-case basis. The shipment cost is determined by the airline after the remains are accepted for shipment according to a special cargo rate. The approximate weight of typical caskets and crates prepared for shipping is 200 kilograms (adult) and 100 kilograms (child):

Airlines with Cargo Services to the United States:

Aeroflot: +374-10 53 21 31

Austrian Air: +374-60-612201, +374-60-612202

Cargo transportation: +374-60-612232

(8) Exhumation

According to the 2007 Law on Funeral Ceremonies, Use of Cemeteries and Crematoriums, exhumation is permitted only after three years from the date of interment and approval of the local government. The government must receive a notarized request from the next-of-kin in the U.S. (authenticated by the Armenian Embassy in Washington or Armenian Consulate in Los Angeles, CA) and agreement of all close relatives. In case relatives request the exhumation or transfer of the body to another cemetery, the expenses for exhumation should be covered by the relatives. The exhumation is to be permitted by the cemetery administration upon the request of the relative of the deceased and based on the decision by the regional authorities of the department of state hygiene and anti-epidemic of the Ministry of Health. If a transfer to another cemetery is required, the relative of the deceased should provide written acceptance from the cemetery administration where the remains are to be transferred.

Note: The regulations on exhumation may change in the near future. According to the Resolution 1910 of the Government of Armenia, signed on January 16 2007, Minister of Health is required to develop and present to the Government of Armenia the following within next 6 months:

  1. a)           The regulation on the “rendering harmless” and removing the cemeteries and cremation of the deceased in case of sanitary epidemic situation present danger.
  2. b)   The regulation of the exhumation

(9) Local Customs Regarding Funerals, Disposition of Remains, Mourning, Memorial Services

According to cultural and traditional norms, however, human remains are quickly claimed by family members for display (up to three days) in the family’s household before final interment. Funeral and interment is initiated by the police in cases of paupers. Unclaimed remains may be cremated in cases where storage may present a threat to public health.

(10) Remarks

Last update: 11 June 2018