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Emergency Services

Disposition of Remains Report

January, 2012

Part I. Name of Country: Estonia

Part II. U.S. Embassy Information
U.S Embassy
Address:  Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn, Estonia
Phone: Country Code 372 Area Code 668-8100 (24 hr Switchboard)
Fax: Country Code 372 Area Code 668-8297 (American Citizen Services)
After Hours Phone: Country Code 372 Area Code 509-2129

State Department Country Specific Information:

State Department Travel Information:

Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP):

Part III. Profile of Religions of the Host Country and Religious Services available to visitor

Country Profile: Visit the State Department’s website “Background Note: Estonia” 

Religions: The main religious groups are as follows:  The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church; the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, subordinated to Constantinople; the Estonian Orthodox Church, subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate; Roman Catholic; Baptist; and other. There are also small Jewish and Muslim communities in Estonia.

List of Places of Worship in Tallinn

Part IV. Funeral Directors, Mortician and Related Services Available in Estonia and its vicinity

DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Embassy, Tallinn, Estonia, 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.

  • Kristin Funeral Home (Matusebüroo Kristin OÜ)
    Tel. from the U.S. 011- 372- 620 7283
    Fax from the U.S. 011 -372- 620 7281
    Ravi 18, 10138 Tallinn (Webpage provides information in English.)
    Cremation/shipment can also be arranged.
  • Tallinna Matusebüroo
    Paldiski mnt. 68
    Tel from the U.S. 011-372 -650 7372 (There is no information in English on this webpage.) 
  • Tallinna Krematoorium
    Pärnamäe tee 36
    Tel from the U.S. 011-372- 623 8808 (24h)
    Fax from the U.S.011-372- 623 8804 (Webpage provides information in English.)
    Tallinn Crematorium organizes cremation funerals as well as graveside funerals.
    They provide 24-hour transport from anywhere in Estonia. 
  • Tartu Krematoorium
    Jaama tn. 122
    Tel. from the U.S. 011- 372-748 7108 (24 h)
    Fax from the U.S.011-372- 748 7104 (Webpage provides information in English.) 

Tallinn Crematorium organizes cremation funerals as well as graveside funerals.

Part V. Profile of services available in Estonia regarding preparation and shipment remains

1.   Maximum Period Before Burial

Neither local nor national law places time limits on burial whether the remains are embalmed or not.  Although, the law states that the deceased must be buried or cremated without unreasonable delay.  Usually, burial or cremation is performed within approximately 10 days of death.

2.   Embalming

Embalming, as done in the United States, is not actually performed.  The common practice is to treat the body with alcohol. 

3.   Cremation

The cremation process may commence after the appropriate documentation has been issued by the local medical authorities regarding the cause and nature of death. Cremation services are ready available in Tallinn.  The result of the cremation is fine ash.

4.   Caskets and Containers

Export-quality caskets and shipping containers which meet the requirements of the U.S. Public Health Service and U.S. port authorities are readily available. Containers for human ashes are also available.

5.  Exportation of Remains

Procedures and documents for the exportation of human remains are as follows. Except as noted, all meet shipping company or U.S. requirements:

Embalmed Body:

  1. Embalming of the remains  ( or properly treated remains )
  2. Enclosure of the remains in a metal lined casket
  3. Consular Report of Death
  4. Death certificate from the local government authority
  5. Mortician's embalming certificate*
  6. Mortician's statement of placement of remains in the coffin *
  7. Copy of the deceased’ passport
  8. Regular customs declaration

*The information requested in items 5 and 6 is often included on a single certificate.

According to Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affair Circular Note No. 9.4-1/9990, in order to transfer the corpse from Estonia to another country, the coffin must be impervious; the inside must contain absorbent material.    

The hermetically sealed zinc coffin has to be placed in an outer wooden coffin. Where the cause of death is a contagious disease, the body itself shall be wrapped in a shroud impregnated with an antiseptic solution.

In case the Health Department should receive information about a contagious disease spreading in the territory of Estonia, the Health Department will contact the Embassies and provide specific guidelines for preserving and transferring the corpses from Estonia to another country.  

Human Ashes: (air freight)

  1. Cremation certificate
  2. Consular Report of Death
  3. Death certificate from local government authority
  4. Consular Mortuary Certificate
  5. Affidavit from local funeral director concerning contents of urn
  6. Copy of the deceased’s  passport

Human Ashes: (mail)

There are no special regulations covering such shipments. The only document required is the customs declaration, and the package is handled in the same manner as an ordinary parcel.

6.       Cost

All dollar costs have been converted from the cost in local currency at the rate of exchange of 0,95 Euros to one dollar, which prevailed on February 16, 2016.




a) Local interment fee, cost of permanent grave plot and gravestone 


$ 1768

b)  Partial Embalming fee:


$ 11

c) Cremation without a casket :


$ 305

d) Preparation for shipment:


$ 189

1) Including Embalming, documentation, casket, storage, Local transportation


$ 1600

 2) Including cremation, documentation, coffin, local transportation and urn


$ 1157












e) When death occurs outside of Tallinn,

Under these circumstances, the following additional transportation fees may be charged by Tallinn's undertakers for the round trip from Tallinn to the location of the remains:




Transport outside of Tallinn (1km)     

1  EUR


$ 1.50

Transport from Keila, Valkla, Kehra, Kose, Ravila      

70 EUR


$ 74


f) Air Freight: Airline freight charge per kilogram is uniform – 30 Euros ($ 32) to the West Coast and 21,6 Euros ($ 23) to the U.S. East Coast.

Human Remains: Average weight of an export type casket with human remains is 230 kilograms. Costs for air freight shipment from Tallinn to various points in the United States are as follows:

Tallinn to:


Total Euros

Total Dollars

New York  (JFK)

21,6 ($23)

3429 EUR

$ 3610

Los Angeles  (LAX)

30 ($32)

3800 EUR

$ 4000

Chicago  (ORD)

 23,8  ($25)

3737 EUR

$ 3934


 23,8  ($25)

3737 EUR

$ 3934


 25,2  ($27)

4045 EUR

$ 4258

In addition to the above, there are security surcharges, fuel surcharges, and handling and airway bill charges totaling approx.  363.22 EUR ($462.02).

Human Ashes: Ashes in an urn are shipped at the same rates as bodies. Average weight of an export type urn with human ashes including packing material is 9 kilograms.  Costs for air freight shipment from Tallinn to various points in the United States are as follows:


Tallinn  to:


Total Euros

Total Dollars

New York (JFK)

13.05  ($16.60)

117.45 EUR

$ 149.42

Los Angeles (LAX)

16.35  ($20.80)

147.15 EUR

$ 187.20

Chicago (ORD)

14.67   ($18.66)

132.03 EUR

$ 167.96

In addition to the above, there are security surcharges, fuel surcharges, and pickup, handling and airway bill charges totaling 46.91 EUR (59.69).

  • Air Mail:  Ashes that are appropriately packaged may be shipped to the United States by air mail through Estonian postal facilities.  Air mail service accommodates up to 30 kilograms with the approximate cost of 1kg = 3.07 EUR ($3.91)
  •  APO Mail:  Persons entitled to use U.S. Army postal facilities may ship cremated human remains by APO parcel post provided that ashes are packaged in an appropriate container.  The average cost of a 9kg package via express mail is approximately $76.55.

(g) Total Cost:

Below are prices for preparation and freight of air shipment of remains from Tallinn to several U.S. cities.

Embalmed Remains:

Tallinn to:


New York


Los Angeles




Cremated Remains:

Tallinn to:


New York


Los Angeles




7.  Exhumation and Shipment

An application to exhume remains may be submitted to the local government authorities.  In this case, applicants are responsible for paying all the fees associated with exhumation.   The approximate fee is 420 EUR ($442).   

The disinterred remains may be sent to the U.S., taking the necessary precautions, depending on the state of the remains.

8.   Autopsies

The necessity for an autopsy and its extensiveness is determined by medical authorities.   

Although, the decedent’s family may request an autopsy be performed.

For consent autopsy, the family has to pay its cost which will be approximately is 175 EUR ($ 222.71) 

Judicial Autopsy

When the cause of death is unknown or due to unnatural causes, a legal protection agency (the police) may, on the basis of specific indications, refer a deceased individual for forensic medical examination or investigation in order to establish the cause of his or her death.  An autopsy is then performed by the regional forensic examination department of the Estonian Forensic Science Institute. 

After the autopsy a medical death certificate which states the cause of death is issued to the relatives of the deceased.

The holding of deceased individuals referred for forensic medical examination or investigation is free of charge.  

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

A funeral can be held in many different ways. Depending on the person’s beliefs and the wishes of the departed, there are two primary ways of burial available: 

  • Casket burial.
  • Cremation.

Funerals are one of two types: religious and secular. A religious funeral may take place in a house of worship, chapel or by graveside. The same applies to cremation ceremonies.

The difference between secular and religious funerals is solely in the fact that the secular ceremony is not carried out by a minister of religion. Religious grave burials have been preferred in Estonia to this point. The number of urn funerals has grown significantly in recent years.

10.   Remarks

Please be aware that most funeral homes employees speak a limited or no English.  The Embassy can assist you if you need help with communication.

Useful Websites:

          Plot Prices in Tallinn Cemeteries

          (There is no information in English on this webpage.) 

          Estonian Forensic Science Institute

          (Webpage provides information in English.)