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Repatriation of a Loved One for a Funeral Abroad

How to arrange a funeral for your loved one outside the UK

Last updated: 15 July 2020


If your loved one died in the UK, but expressed a wish to be buried in another country, you will need to make arrangements both at home and in the funeral destination abroad.You will encounter a number of legal requirements that need to be met before you make these arrangements.

Repatriation of a loved one abroad for a funeral

Although you can ask any funeral director can assist you with these arrangements, some firms specialise in repatriation and have extensive experience of working with certain countries, airlines and the paperwork involved.

Before you can repatriate someone who died in England, Wales or Northern Ireland abroad, you must notify the coroner who oversees the local area where your loved one died. The first step in to fill in a Removal Notice (form 104), which you can find on local authority websites. In Scotland, the Procurator Fiscal should be notified.

It is a good idea to check with your funeral director before you make any arrangements.

To find the correct authority in your region, visit the below links:

Approval is also needed whenever you want to transport a loved one between countries within the UK. For example, if you are in England or Wales, you would need permission to fly your loved one to Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Bear in mind that you may need to allow time for a post-mortem examination if required.

There is a legal requirement for your loved one to be embalmed before they can be transported. Other conditions include transporting your loved on in a zinc-lined coffin. Again, this is a legal requirement and can be very costly.

There are different rules and requirements, however, for different airlines. As with any flight, the prices can vary depending on the destination, the time and date of the flight and the airline.

The cost of the documentation needed to transport your loved one can vary significantly. Beyond your local coroner’s approval, the embalming certificate and other documents, you will need to collect the correct documentation from the destination country. The documentation is usually required on arrival at the destination country. Failure to provide these documents may result in your loved one being detained.

Repatriation of ashes abroad for a funeral

Repatriating the ashes of a loved one from one country to another is a more affordable alternative. By sending the ashes of a loved one, you forego the expenses of embalming and transporting them in a zinc-lined coffin.

What’s more, this alternative is more convenient, as some airlines even allow you to transport your loved one’s ashes in passenger aircraft as part of your hand luggage.

Despite this relative convenience, you may still need to some documentation, including the Death Certificate, the certificate from the crematorium and authorisation from the consulate of the destination country.

The repatriation documentation required is dependent on the laws of the destination country. Therefore, it is advisable to discuss your plans with your funeral director and the consulate of the country to which you want to transport your loved one.

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