Repatriation for a funeral overseas

If the funeral will be taking place abroad, there are certain legal requirements that need to be fulfilled.

If a body is to be moved from England or Wales to Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, as well as elsewhere abroad, you will need to notify the coroner for the district in which the deceased is lying and complete a Removal Notice (form 104).

The funeral director will usually deal with this form on your behalf. Often this authorisation has to be requested at least 4 days before the person is to be moved to give time for any enquiries. Repatriating someone who has died from Scotland to elsewhere may not need the authority of the Procurator Fiscal. Please check with your funeral director who can advise on your specific circumstances.

Repatriation may mean additional costs, for example caskets and embalming for repatriation have to conform to high specifications as well as the cost of the flight itself and costs in the destination country. A less expensive alternative is to have the cremation in this country with repatriation of the ashes/cremated remains. The funeral director will be able to advise on these choices and help with the necessary documentation.

Cremated remains may be carried to some countries in hand luggage (with a death certificate and a certificate from the crematorium and sometimes a consular seal) but please check with the funeral director or consulate as each nation has its own regulations. Not everyone will be comfortable to carry cremated remains, but this is also a matter of personal choice.

Many countries require signed documents from an appropriate doctor that the deceased was not suffering from any condition that might pose a public health risk. A funeral director can arrange this.

Any funeral director can organise a repatriation but some specialise in this type of work and have expertise in particular counties and airlines. You may wish to contact your country's consulate for their recommendation.

Call us if you need help obtaining the number of your country's consulate.

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