Dying Abroad and Repatriation
When someone dies abroad it is often unexpected and can be a particularly difficult and confusing time for friends and family. The death may have occurred in a country where people speak a different language and there are some unfamiliar procedures that may need to be adhered to.
In some cases, many costs are covered by valid travel insurance but in other situations you may be responsible for paying for repatriation. The costs can be significant and we would suggest that you make sure that people are clear with you about the costs of any service they are offering. We have provided some basic information below but please contact us if you have more specific questions or would like our support.
Dying abroad and returning to Britain
If a British resident has died abroad then the death must be registered abroad, in accordance with local policy. This can only occur once a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been issued by local medical staff or a local coroner.
It is possible to also register the death with the British Consulate abroad and to request a UK death certificate (for which there may be a charge). A foreign certificate confirming that the death has been registered abroad is recognised by all the necessary UK organisations (like banks etc).
It is possible to arrange for a burial or cremation to take place abroad with the support of the British Consulate and a local Funeral Director. If cremation has taken place abroad you may wish to bring the cremated remains back home.
Alternatively, you may wish for burial or cremation to take place at home and in that case, the British Consulate and a local Funeral Director will support you to arrange for you and your loved one to return home.
In this case we could support you by liaising with a local Funeral Director, British Consulate staff, your travel insurance company and airlines. We could arrange to meet you immediately upon return to England and then support you with the remainder of the funeral arranging process.
Dying in Britain and wishing to be repatriated elsewhere
If a foreign resident has died in Britain then it is compulsory that their death is registered in the place where they have died. This is only possible once the coroner has provided permission for the repatriation to take place. We would suggest liaising with the relevant consulate abroad to see whether they recommend registering the death with them.
You may prefer for your loved one to be buried or cremated in Britain. Alternatively you may like to return home before making funeral arrangements. In that case, we can support you to liaise with your Consulate, insurance company, airlines, Funeral Directors in your home country.
If you wish to return home with your loved one then we can support you by making sure that all the necessary processes are adhered to and relevant people informed. For example, the individual who has died must be embalmed and placed in a special coffin for repatriation. Also, we will can ensure that the coroner, the Environmental Health professionals, the embalmer and medical staff complete all the relevant paperwork.