Repatriation

When Someone Dies Abroad

The passing of loved ones isn’t easy. However, things can become more complicated, and bereavement can be even more difficult if your loved one passes away while abroad. We can offer help both in repatriating non-UK citizens to their home country as well as bringing UK citizens home who have passed away while abroad.

If your loved one passes away whilst abroad, they can be repatriated back to their home country if needed. Repatriation can be to and from the UK. We offer guidance and help throughout the entire repatriation process to ensure that your loved one is brought back to be buried or cremated.

For UK residents passing away while abroad

In the event of a UK resident passing away while abroad, the first step will be for the deceased’s travel insurance provider to appoint a local funeral director. The local funeral director should work alongside the family to arrange transport of your loved one and necessary documentation back to the UK. In the absence of valid travel insurance, you will need to instruct a local funeral director to arrange care before returning to the UK and cover the costs of repatriation.

The process will entail the following:

Step 1: Registering the death

When someone dies abroad, the death must be registered in the country of the person’s passing.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office, British Embassy, High Commission, or British Consulate can all advise on how to do this. Once the death has been registered, the local funeral director in association with the local authority in that country will arrange for the necessary documentation to proceed with repatriation. If at any time you are unsure about the next steps, please rest assured that you can contact us at any time to help guide you through the process.

*Please note that the deceased’s passport is essential to this process. Although each case is unique and timescales may vary, it is not unusual to face significant delays.

Step 2: Obtaining a death certificate

The death certificates will be issued in the language of the country of death. We understand that this can cause confusion and extra administration. If needed, we could gladly arrange for the certificate to be translated into the required language.

Step 3: Making funeral arrangements

Our team is well-experienced in repatriating residents to and from the UK. Regardless of whether we are instructed to repatriate to or from the UK before funeral arrangements can be finalised, authorisation will be required from the local authorities in the destination country. Although we try our best to consider every detail, repatriation also involves various third-party services, such as airlines, ferries, and trains whose timetables and schedules can be subject to last-minute changes.
Therefore, we strongly advise that no funeral arrangements are finalised until the deceased and the paperwork has arrived in the destination country.

Step 4: Returning ashes to the UK

In the case of returning the ashes of your loved one to the UK, you will require both a death certificate and a certificate of cremation from the country where the death occurred. Each country has its own set of regulations about departing with human ashes. To ensure that you’re up to date with the latest requirements, be sure to give us a call and we’ll guide you through every step of the journey. On arrival to the UK, expect to complete a standard customs form. It is also worth checking with your transport provider to find out how you can carry the ashes safely and securely.

Step 5: Notifying the authorities

We understand that the process can feel overwhelming and confusing, especially at such a difficult time. To streamline the process, we recommend using the Tell Us Once service. This service can be used if the person died in a Commonwealth country, a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland. Using the deceased’s National Insurance number, central and local Government agencies are informed of the death and centrally update records relating to council tax, passport, state pension, benefits, disability blue badge, and driving licences. For more information about this service, feel free to contact us.

Non-UK citizens being repatriated abroad

We pride ourselves on our expertise in repatriation and ensure that every case is handled with respect and care. We treat each repatriation case individually to ensure that we cover all the details and the process goes as smoothly as possible. However, it’s important to mention that invariably, much paperwork and consultation is required, so be prepared for this. We are also familiar with the specific requirements of various countries around the world, some of which can take over two weeks to complete. During this period, the deceased will remain in our care. Once the deceased has been returned to your chosen destination, funeral arrangements can be finalised in the normal manner in that country.

Leaving the UK with ashes

We believe that the best way to repatriate ashes is to travel with them.
If this is not an option, they may need to be sent by air as cargo. Currently, courier and postal services no longer repatriate ashes. Each country has its own rules for the repatriation of ashes from the UK. We can assist with all necessary documentation and practical arrangements. You will always require at least a death certificate, a certificate of cremation, and a customs disclaimer. On arrival at the destination country, expect to complete a standard customs form. It is also worth checking with your transport provider to find out how you can carry the ashes safely and securely. If you’re feeling uncertain or anxious about any of the above, please be reminded that we’re more than happy to speak to you in person about the requirements for your specific case.

If you’re looking for someone to assist you personally, please give us a call on 01279 422123 and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. We’re here for you.

Testimonial (1)

Helen O'Driscoll

I cannot recommend FJ Pinnock and Son enough.

Today we got to say goodbye to and celebrate the life of our best friend who passed suddenly, I can’t thank the team at FJ Pinnock and Son enough especially the wonderful Jenna, nothing was too much trouble, she was always so caring, and showed our friend the utmost respect, dignity and love whilst she was in her care, every single detail of today was perfect, from allowing us to walk with our friend one last time, to all the small details. They are truly amazing and genuinely care not just about the person who has passed but about each family they take care of.

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