Death and Dying in Argentina

Find out how and where to report the death and how to arrange a burial or cremation. Plus, how to repatriate a body...

In the event of the death of a family member, friend or relative in Argentina the first thing to do is to contact a local doctor who certifies the death. If the death has occurred in suspicious circumstances or it is that of a stranger it should be reported to the police (Tel: 101).

On death, a doctor issues a death certificate (Certificado de defunción) and an Informe Estadístico de Defunción (IED) certificate. The IED contains information on the date of death and is used for statistical purposes only. A death needs to be registered within two working days at the local civil registry (Registro civil).

  • For information on the IED certificate and its purpose: Click here (PDF in Spanish)

Registering a Death

In order to register a death the following information must be submitted to the civil registry:

  • IED certificate issued by the doctor that pronounced the death (Informe Estadístico de Defunción).
  • Passport or national identity document (Documento Nacional de Identidad - DNI) of the deceased
  • An affidavit (declaration jurada) signed by a relative or a funeral home (funeraria) confirming the personal data of the deceased along with documental proof. This includes:
    • Date and place of birth, and parent's names - birth certificate
    • Marital status - marriage certificate or death certificate of spouse if a widow/er
    • Death certificate (Certificado de defunción)

The identification number of the person or funeral home registering the death is also required.

The paperwork must be submitted and signed by the civil registry before permission is granted to bury the body. There is no fee to register the death. An administrative fee must be paid in order to obtain the burial permit (licencia de inhumación).

If the deceased is to be buried in another location, copies of the paperwork are required by the civil registry in the desired resting place. There is usually a nominal administration fee for this.

If a mistake has been made in the registration of the death or supporting documentation has not been supplied, there is often a small charge. In the absence of supporting documentation, the municipality requires two people with identification that knew the deceased well to sign a declaration form.

Fetal deaths

To register the death of a newborn, the following is required:

  • Infant death certificate (Certificado médico estadístico de defunción fetal)
  • Parent's DNI or passport
  • Family Book (libreta de familia)
  • Signed affidavit

Funerals and Burial

Funerals can be arranged through a funeral home (funeraria). In most cases they guide the bereaved through the registration process, help with repatriation if necessary, as well as arranging and supplying everything required for the funeral.

Burial

A burial (inhumación) can take place in a number of locations:

  • Private cemeteries (cementerios parques privados): Often in attractive and peaceful settings, they are an expensive option as they are usually sold with ongoing maintenance fees
  • Traditional cemetery (Nicho en cementerio tradicional): Public cemetery where there is often a charge for the upkeep

Cremation

Permission for cremation (cremación), is generally given once the next-of-kin have submitted the Certificado de defunción and Informe Estatistico de Defunción to the Civil Registry office.

In the case of questionable death such as murder, suicide or an accident, the body cannot be cremated without a warrant.

Repatriation of Foreigners

Deaths of foreigners on Argentinean soil should be reported to the local embassy. The local embassy can assist, along with the funeral service in the desired destination, with repatriation of the body.

In the case that the deceased had insurance, this should be consulted. Otherwise it is up to the family or friends to cover the expenses associated with the transport and administration.

Euthanasia

Euthanasia is illegal throughout the majority of Argentina. Only in the province of Rio Negro can a person with a terminal illness refuse food and water, surgical procedures and artificial resuscitation.