Tell us what you think about our site...

Repatriation of a deceased body

Repatriation of a deceased body

When a death occurs in the United Kingdom and it is desired to take the body abroad to hold a funeral service, there are a number of administrative and practical issues to deal with.

Some of these requirements may apply for burial in another part of the United Kingdom. There is no restriction on moving bodies within England and Wales, but you need to notify the coroner for the district in which the body is lying if you want to move the deceased to Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, or overseas. This procedure applies to all cases where the body is to be moved out of England and Wales, not just when the death was reported to the coroner.

The death must be registered in the usual way, but before attending the register office, you must contact the coroner's office to make them aware that you wish to move the body abroad. To do this, you will need a form 104 (form of notice to a coroner of intention to remove a body out of England), which can be obtained from any registrar or a coroner. You will also need to give the form 104 to the coroner at least four working days before the body is to be moved so that any necessary enquiries can be made. You should enclose any certificate for burial or cremation already issued.

The coroner's office will guide you through what needs to be done and what documents will be required. You may contact the North Derbyshire Coroner’s Office either directly on 01246 201 391, or through your funeral director.

Once the documentation is received, the coroner will contact you, usually within four days, to let you know when the body can be moved. In urgent situations, it may be possible to bring this forward. You will be given a removal notice, part of which is sent to the Registrar of Births Deaths & Marriages. To make arrangements for transporting the body, it is best to consult a funeral director; most carriers who permit the transportation of human remains will deal only with a funeral director.

Cadaver certificates

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 occurred in the borough for some three months preceding the death.

The funeral director, making the arrangements on behalf of the relatives, usually handles the formality of obtaining the cadaver certificate. However, anyone can apply. The environmental health officer for the council in whose area the person died or from which they are to be exhumed before reburial elsewhere, issues the certificate.

The funeral directors will also help with anything requested by the coroner and with the requirements of the authorities in the overseas country to which the deceased is going.

Repatriation of a deceased body from abroad to England or Wales

The death of a loved one is a distressing time, and the thought of registering the death and making funeral arrangements can be daunting. If the deceased was not a resident of the country in which they died, this process can seem all the more complicated, especially where it is the wish of the family that the deceased be returned to their home country.

Your tour operator, the local police or the British Consul can advise you on how to register the death and make arrangements for a local funeral or repatriating the deceased to the UK. The British Consul can also help if you need assistance communicating in a foreign language. Where the deceased had a valid travel insurance policy, repatriation and its costs may be arranged and met by the insurers if specified in the cover document.

When a death occurs abroad (including in Scotland or Northern Ireland) and it is desired to bring the deceased back home and hold a funeral service in in England or Wales, there are a number of administrative and practical issues to deal with. The death should be registered according to the local regulations of that country and a Death Certificate should be obtained along with an authorisation for the removal of the body from the country of death from the coroner or relevant authority.

To bring a body back to England or Wales you will need:

  • an authenticated translation of a foreign Death Certificate, or a Death Certificate issued in Scotland or Northern Ireland, showing the cause of death, or an authorisation for the removal of the body from the country of death by someone authorised to do so
  • a Certificate of No Liability to Register from the registrar in England and Wales in whose sub-district it is intended to bury or cremate the deceased. This is the document that will be given to the funeral director in order to allow the funeral to proceed. It is the duty of the registrar to make preliminary checks regarding the place and cause of death and to issue the necessary documentation. This certificate is not required if a coroner has issued a certificate for cremation (form 6) or an order for burial.

If you require any further information please contact:

The Registration Service
New Beetwell Street
Chesterfield
Derbyshire
England 
S40 1QJ
Tel: 44 (0)1246 234 754

Burial of those deceased abroad

You can arrange a local burial or cremation in the country where the death occurred, should you wish. The British Consul there can register the death and record it at the register office. In the case of a cremation, the cremated remains can be repatriated to the UK following the cremation service.

For the burial of a person whose death occurred abroad to take place in the Borough of Chesterfield a death certificate issued by the registration authority of the country of their demise is required. This should be taken to the to the registrar of the district in which the burial is taking place, as they will need to issue a Certificate of No Liability to Register.

Those who have deceased abroad can be buried in:

  • Boythorpe Cemetery
  • Brimington Cemetery
  • Staveley Cemetery
  • Spital Cemetery

Cremation of those deceased abroad

To arrange the cremation in England and Wales of a person where the death occurred abroad (outside England and Wales) you will need a certificate (form Cremation 6) from the coroner. This dispenses with the need for the two doctors' certificates for cremation (forms Cremation 4 and 5). If the deaths occurred in Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Channel Islands the local equivalents of forms 4 and 5 may be acceptable.

Because the normal certification required for cremation is not available for a death overseas, the coroner will issue a certificate to enable the medical referee to allow the cremation without the statutory certificates (or ones to like effect). In all cases the final decision whether to permit the cremation still rests with the medical referee.

It is advisable not to make funeral arrangements until the coroner's certificate has been issued, in case there are any difficulties with the application. If the death was from natural causes, the coroner will require all the original documentation from the country where death occurred. The application must be accompanied by an original document (or certified copy of an original document) that gives a specific cause of death. This does not necessarily have to be a death certificate. A number of different official documents may be acceptable, including a consular death certificate, a doctor's certificate, or a mortuary certificate. It is sensible to submit all of the official overseas documentation accompanying the body. If you are unsure, you should contact the coroner's office in advance for advice.

If you do not have originals or certified copies of the relevant documents, you should contact the funeral directors that assisted with the deceased in the country where he/she died, or contact the issuer of the documents and ask them to send you a certified copy. In certain circumstances the Consular Division Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Tel: 0207 270 1500) may be able to assist.

If the cause of death is not natural, or is one that, had the death occurred in England or Wales, would have been referred to the coroner, the coroner will open an inquest to investigate the cause and circumstances of death. Once the coroner's investigations are complete he will issue a certificate in form Cremation 6. If the cause of death stated is generic, for example heart attack, respiratory failure or natural causes, it may not be possible to issue a coroner's certificate until a more specific cause is ascertained. Alternatively a more precise cause of death may be obtained by contacting the relevant foreign authority.

If documents are in a foreign language, it is for the applicant to have the documents officially translated. However, documents in most West European languages will usually be accepted without translation. If in any doubt, you are advised to contact the coroner's office in advance.

If you require any further information please contact:

The Manager at Chesterfield and District Crematorium
Tel: 01246 345 888
Fax: 01246 345 889
Email: bereavement.services@chesterfield.gov.uk


Last updated on 18 October 2017