Repatriation for a funeral in the UK

Repatriation can be a confusing and emotional process. Having to organise the transport of the deceased’s body back to the UK can be daunting, however there is help and support available.When a person dies abroad, the British Consul in the area of the death will be able to help you navigate the process and advise how to:
  • Register the death
  • Arrange the funeral
  • Bring the body back to the UK
A tour operator or the local police can also advise on how to make arrangements to repatriate a loved one to England or Wales. Arrangements for the reception of the body in the country of destination need to be made prior to departure.Most funeral directors in the UK will be able to offer assistance on the process and the likely costs, which may be covered by the insurance of the person who has died.

Documents Required

To bring a body back into the UK, you will need:
  • A certified English translation of the death certificate
  • Permission from a coroner (or equivalent) to remove the body
  • Any other documentary evidence of the death that you may have

If the death occurred in Scotland, you will need:
  • The death certificate (alternatively a letter from the Procurator Fiscal giving both the place and the cause of death may be acceptable)

If the death occurred in the Isle of Man:
  • A form of acknowledgement given by a coroner in the Isle of Man after notification to them of the intention to remove the body from the island

The foreign registration authority will issue a death certificate that needs to be taken to the registrar of the district in which the burial or cremation is taking place.The registrar will issue a document called a 'Certificate of no liability to register'; this must then be given to the funeral director in order to allow the funeral to proceed. This form is not required if a coroner has issued a certificate for cremation or an order for burial.


The costs and paperwork associated with the repatriation can be a considerable amount.All relevant costs must be met by the next of kin or the deceased’s travel insurance company. British embassies and consulates will not help financially, and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) does not cover repatriation to the UK. Check if the deceased had a valid travel insurance policy as repatriation of bodies or ashes may be included in the cover under medical expenses. Click here for more information.

Additional costs for repatriation may be incurred, for example the deceased will need to be embalmed and secured in a zinc lined coffin. You will also need to consider the cost of the flight and any fees that need to be paid in the destination country. Depending on the circumstances of repatriation, costs may be reimbursed from the estate of the deceased.

If a cremation can be arranged in the country where the death occurred, the cremated remains can be repatriated to the UK following the cremation and incur considerably less cost.

Click here for more information on how to cope with a death abroad:
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