Profile of Services Available

  1. Profile of Services Available
  2. Addis Ababa Based Funeral Homes

Funerals are generally held within 24 hours of death and the body is usually buried in a local cemetery immediately afterward. Ethiopians do not cremate remains, and there is only one crematorium in Addis Ababa, which is managed by the Hindu community.

A formal memorial service is not customary in Ethiopia. More likely, close relatives and friends gather and remember the deceased for a number of days after the funeral.

The information is updated twice a year. The next update is scheduled for January 2023.

Services available in Ethiopia regarding preparation and shipment of remains

a.   Disposition of Remains (general):  There are six (6) refrigerated morgues in the country, all of which are located in Addis Ababa:  Bethel Hospital, Korean Hospital, BeteZata Hospital, St. Gabriel Hospital, Kadisko Hospital and Hayat Hospital. Embalming and autopsy services are available at the Menelik II and St. Paul’s Hospitals, in Addis Ababa. Both hospitals require copy of the U.S. citizen’s passport biographical information page and a police report from the Addis Ababa Police.  The fee for autopsy and embalming services is ETB 20,000.00.  Many entities discussed in this report have no written rules and regulations. Hence, some of the above rules and regulations may be subject to change.

The Hindu community in Addis Ababa performs cremation for Indian and foreign nationals upon the request of their embassy.  For more information on cremation please visit the following website:

b.   Local authorities responsible for licensing funeral directors and morticians:

The Ministry of Trade and Industry licenses funeral homes and morticians in Ethiopia.

c.   Local authorities responsible for making findings regarding the cause of death and for issuing death local certificates:

The Ethiopian Police are responsible for making findings regarding the cause of death.  Death certificates can be obtained from the Kebele (local government office) where the death occurred.  The Kebele needs a death certificate from the hospital.

d.    Detailed information on disposition of remains in Ethiopia:

(1) Maximum period before burial of remains:

Local law prescribes that human remains are buried within 24 hours after death regardless of whether or not the body has been embalmed.  Local authorities will allow bodies embalmed within 24 hours of death to be held in cold storage for two to three days.  There have also been occasions when embalming services have not been available within the 24-hour period.  In previous cases, remains that have been kept in cold storage for several days pending availability of services have later been shipped out without difficulty.

(2) Embalming:  The body must be embalmed at the respective hospitals, which issues a mortuary certificate.

Cold storage is available in Addis Ababa (please see prior list of hospitals in Part V(a)) if necessary while flight arrangements are made.

  • At Korean Hospital, the charge per night for cold storage is ETB 2,500
  • At Hayat Hospital, the charge per night for cold storage is ETB 2,500.
  • At Bethel Hospital, the charge per night for cold storage is ETB 2,500.
  • At BeteZata Hospital, the charge per night for cold storage is ETB 1,600.
  • At St. Gabriel Hospital, the charge per night for cold storage is ETB 2,500 (and they do not accept remains not admitted in as a patient).

(3)  Cremation:  Cremation is allowed in Ethiopia; if the next-of-kin (NOK) opts to have the body cremated please contact Mr. Ramendra Shah (President) or Mr. Devang Shah (Secretary) at the Hindu Community (+ 251 911-512550, + 251 911-200157) E-mail –

The Hindu Community requires the following documents:

  • Death Certificate
  • Copy of passport biographical information page
  • Letter from the deceased person’s next of kin stating that they want the person to be cremated
  • Letter from the deceased person’s Embassy requesting cremation service
  • Copy of passport and Id of next of kin
  • Letter from Embassy of India requesting cremation, and payment of:
  • ETB 60,000 (sixty thousand) to pay for the services.

Since the Hindu Community does cremation only on Saturdays, they require the documents to be submitted to them by the Tuesday before the requested date.  Please visit their website for more information:

After submitting the body, the ashes can be collected the following day.

(4) Caskets and Containers:  Some of the funeral service providers in Addis Ababa have caskets that meet international standards for shipment out of the country.  The funeral service provider can collect the body from morgue, transport it to the airport, comply with the airline regulations, and submit the casket to the airline ready to be transported.

(5) Exportation of Human Remains:  It is possible to export remains out of the country.  However, the body must be embalmed and the following documents are required: a mortuary certificate issued by the hospital, consular report of death abroad (CRDA), a local death certificate, the address where the body should be shipped, and a color copy of the deceased’s passport.  The casket should be zinc-lined as per the airline standard.

The remains of persons who have died of the following causes may not be embalmed or exported (unless immediately cremated and the ashes exported) and must be buried in a cemetery nearest the place of death: anthrax, malignant pustule; plague; Asiatic cholera; exanthematic typhus; and smallpox.

(6)  Exportation of Human Cremains/ Ashes: It is possible to export human cremains out of the country.  However, the Hindu Community who does the cremation does not facilitate exportation of the ashes.  The total amount of the ashes varies from 100 kg to 200 kg.  The next of kin will decide the amount of ashes to be transported.  If there are any remaining ashes, the Hindu Community can arrange for disposal.

To ship human ashes, the airlines require the following documents from the Embassy.

Death Certificates (hospital, local and CRDA)

Mortuary certificate

Certificate from the Crematorium

Letter from the Crematorium confirming the contents of the urn are the ash from the cremated body.

(7)    Costs:  Charges are based on the exchange rate of July 20, 2022:  $1.00 = 52.09 ETB and are estimated and subject to change.  The average weight of casket and containers required for export of remains is 250 kg (550 lbs).  The following rates pertain to air shipment from Addis Ababa to various points in the continental United States.  All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars.

Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Service rates per kilo for human remains (Coffin/Ashes)

  • Fuel and insurance surcharge is USD 0.86 per kg.
  • Air Waybill charge is USD 20.00 per Air Waybill.

Addis Ababa to all Ethiopian destinations (Washington, DC, Newark, New Jersey and Chicago, Illinois):

Coffin                    Ashes

Minimum charge         USD 400.00           USD 300.00

Normal charge            USD 14.33/kg        USD 14.33/kg

(8)  Exhumation and Shipment:  The procedure for exhumation and shipment starts from the Kebele (local authority) and police station where the remains were interred.  Once the Embassy receives authorization from both the Kebele and local police station, the remains may be taken to Menelik II Hospital for embalming.

Exhumation can be done no earlier than two (2) years from the death of a person dying of a non-contagious disease and not earlier than three (3) years if the cause of death was one of the contagious diseases: anthrax, malignant pustule, plague, Asiatic cholera, exanthematic typhus, and smallpox.

Cost of shipment of exhumed remains cannot be estimated, as this service has not hitherto been provided.  Presumably, costs would approximate those cited above for preparation and shipment of remains, in addition to costs associated with exhumation.

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

These customs vary from place to place and from religion to religion.

A formal memorial service is not customary in Ethiopia.  More likely, close relatives and friends gather and remember the deceased for a number of days after the funeral.

Most of the time the funeral happens within 24 hours of death and the body is usually buried in a local cemetery.  Ethiopians do not cremate the body.