If a British citizen dies abroad, local procedures should be followed and a death certificate obtained from the relevant authorities in the country concerned. The General Register Office (GRO) in the UK is not automatically notified or sent a copy of the certificate.
It is also possible to register the death with the local British authorities overseas. Contact the nearest British consulate. The benefit of doing this is that a record of the death will be sent to the GRO within 12 months. This means that further death certificates can be provided by the GRO to the family in the UK.
Below is a list of the countries where it is not possible to register with the British authorities because death certificates from these countries are accepted in the UK for probate and other purposes.
- Ascension Island; Australia
- Canada; Christmas Island; Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands
- St. Helena; South Africa
- Turks and Cacos Islands
- Virgin Island (UK)
If you would like to register an overseas death (in a country not named in the above list) with British authorities after a return to the UK, please contact:
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
+44 (0) 20 7 008 0186
Registering with the local British authorities overseas or after return to the UK is not mandatory.
Many people choose to get authorised translations of the foreign death certificates and this may allow legal processes to begin rather earlier. Please call us for further information on this.
The two processes are not mutually exclusive and you may choose to obtain a translated death certificate while waiting for one to be issued from the General Register Office.