The following general information is provided to assist families in making initial decisions. Indicated costs are estimates, based on deaths with no unusual circumstances, and should be considered as guides only. These estimates also relate only costs incurred in Taiwan. U.S. funeral home costs would be handled separately.
Disposition of Remains
All of the larger cities in southern Taiwan have publicly-owned and operated funeral parlors. Remains can be preserved in good condition for a maximum of 10 days and an extension may be granted upon request. Funeral parlors in southern Taiwan are unable to prepare remains for return to the United States. Shipment must be arranged with an undertaker who will work with the funeral home or crematorium to prepare the remains and also prepare required shipping documents such as cremation, quarantine, embalming, inspection certificates, and export permits.
Maximum Period before Burial
No local law exists concerning burial. However, administrative and health regulations require burials to be accomplished within one month. There are fees associated with holding remains at a public mortuary.
U.S.-quality embalming is not available in Taiwan. In Southern Taiwan, there are no undertakers who can perform embalming on their own. Undertakers have to make special arrangements with physicians at the Kaohsiung Medical University, Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital, or the Taipei City funeral parlors for assistance. Though this preparation does not meet U.S. standards for embalming, it is only adequate for shipping the remains. NOK are cautioned that preservation of remains may not be entirely satisfactory and an open-casket ceremony may not be advisable.
Cremation is the norm in Taiwan and is mainly due to lack of available burial plots throughout Taiwan, which can be very expensive. Kaohsiung has two public crematoriums which is equipped with a total of 20 incinerators. The first one is Kaohsiung First Funeral Parlor, at No. 20, Lane 600, Main Building Road, Sanmin District, Kaohsiung City. The other one is Kaohsiung Second Funeral Parlor – Renwu Branch, at No. 167, Wen Hsueh Street, Renwu District, Kaohsiung City. It usually takes two to three days to complete cremation from registration to ready for shipment preparation. The undertaker will arrange for cremation, and a signed authorization from the NOK is required by local law. In some cases, the authorization document will require notarization by a U.S. notary public and authenticated by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.
Casket and Containers
Regular wooden caskets are available. A simple, lighter, cloth-lined wooden box, which is less expensive to purchase and to ship, is also available. It may be used for burial in the U.S. or replaced in the U.S. with a more elaborate coffin. More elaborate coffins are not recommended because they are expensive and difficult to obtain in Taiwan.
Exporting of Human Remains
Human remains can be shipped only to major international airports from the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Whole remains must be contained in a hermetically sealed coffin/casket and covered with another wooden box to meet export requirements. For shipment, the lightest possible coffin will be used. The coffin is suitable only for shipment and generally not as a viewing casket. To facilitate the export of whole remains from Taiwan to the United States, the American Institute in Taiwan prepares a Consular Mortuary Certificate to accompany the remains. It provides the flight details, name of the consignee, and the following documents:
- Local death certificate
- Certificate for the Exportation of Human Remains issued by the Center for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health and Welfare
- Affidavit from the funeral director stating that the remains have been properly packed for shipment
- Embalming certificate
Exporting of Human Ashes
Ashes can be shipped only to major international airports from the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Cremated remains may be exported if accompanied by a certified copy of the local death and cremation certificates. We recommend that airline passengers carrying cremated remains to the United States declare the nature of the package to U.S. customs and use a non-metallic urn to allow screening. Unaccompanied remains must be sent by air freight and the U.S. funeral home should work with U.S. custom broker to go through a custom clearance in order to claim the urn upon arrival.
All prices are based on the exchange rate on July 18, 2019: USD $1.00 = NTD $31.054 (local currency) by International Currency Exchange (http://ice.cgfs.state.sbu)
Local burial is not recommended unless the NOK has a contact in Taiwan to assist with locating a burial site. Local burial is expensive as available land is at a premium.
The following costs are estimates and may be helpful in making plans for burial:
- A grave plot starts from USD $48,000.
- Funeral costs and preparation of remains cost approximately USD $11,000.
Cremation and Air Shipment of Human Ashes
Cremation and air shipment service fees include: a simple, light, cloth-lined wooden coffin or cardboard box, an undertaker’s handling fees; collection and local transportation of ashes to the Taoyuan International Airport, crematorium fees; and other administrative fees. In total, this costs approximately USD $3,000.
Shipping the ashes to the United States requires an additional charge, which includes packaging and forwarding to the consignee by air freight for collection at the airport. This costs approximately USD $1,500.
Air Shipment of Human Remains
The cost of preparing remains for shipment – including local collection of remains, embalming, provision and preparation of a lightweight coffin in accordance with international standards for shipment – administration of flight arrangements, preparation of documentation, international airfreight (see below airfreight for major U.S. airports), and notification of consignee and delivery to the airport costs is approximately USD $12,000. No flights can take human remains from Kaohsiung International Airport. Remains will be shipped by hearse to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for customs declaration and depart from there for the United States. The cost for domestic shipping to Taoyuan airport is about USD $200.
The approximate airfreight costs to a consignee in some major cities within the United States for a box weighing 300 kilograms are below:
Taoyuan to Honolulu USD $4830
Taoyuan to San Francisco USD $5800
Taoyuan to Seattle USD $5800
Taoyuan to Chicago USD $5800
Taoyuan to Houston USD $5800
Taoyuan to New York City USD $5990
Taoyuan to Atlanta USD $5990
The NOK or proxy will need to provide the contact information for the receiving funeral home in the United States to the funeral home and custom broker in Taiwan in order to arrange shipment.
According to the Communicable Disease Control Act and the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Taiwan, cremation is mandatory if the death was a result of a communicable disease.
An autopsy is mandatory in Taiwan when the death is sudden and the cause is unknown or there is reasonable cause to suspect that the deceased died of a violent or unnatural death.
The American Institute in Taiwan assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability, reputation of, or the quality of services provided by the following businesses. The following are listed in alphabetical order. The NOK or the proxy should directly contact the specific company for the details of the arrangements.
Chuan Chiu Funeral Home
Heng An Funeral Service
Tel: +886-2-2502 5822 or +886-2-2517-1621
Lung Yen Funeral Service
Sing-On Funeral Home
Last modified: July 18, 2019