Repatriation of bodies
England and Wales
Information on how to bring a body back to the UK if the death happened abroad.
If a death occurs abroad, you will need to register the death according to local regulations and get a death certificate. The local police, British Consul or tour guide can advise you on how to do this.
How to repatriate a body
To bring a body back to England or Wales you will need to get in touch with an international funeral director. British Consular staff can help you to arrange this.
Before the body can be brought home, it must be embalmed and placed in a zinc-lined coffin. The process may take some time to organise, especially if a post-mortem examination is needed.
You will also need the following documents:
- A certified English translation of the foreign death certificate from the country in which the person died
- Authorisation to remove the deceased's body from the country
- A certificate of embalming.
Arranging a funeral in the UK
You will need to take an authenticated translation of a death certificate showing the cause of death to the register office in the area in which you intend to hold the funeral.
The register office will then issue a Certificate of No Liability to Register, which is usually given to the funeral director to enable the funeral to go ahead.
The certificate is not required if a coroner has issued a Certificate for Cremation or an Order for Burial.
How to repatriate a body outside of England and Wales
To repatriate a body outside of England and Wales, you will need to:
- Tell the coroner by completing a Form of Notice (Form 104). This is available from a registrar or a coroner
- Make sure you include the Certificate for Burial or Cremation (already issued by the registrar or the coroner) with the notice.
The coroner will tell you when they have received the notice and let you know when the body can be moved.
Arranging a funeral abroad
Some countries require a Cadaver Certificate before they will allow a body into the country for burial.
The certificate, if issued, confirms that no epidemic of infectious disease has taken place in the borough in the three months leading up to the death. This is usually done by the undertaker making the arrangements on behalf of the relatives.