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Death - repatriation of bodies - England and Wales
If someone you know dies abroad, you may wish to return their body back to its original country for burial or cremation. If you wish to repatriate a body to England or Wales, most funeral directors will be able to advise you on how to do this and the likely costs, which may be covered by the insurance of the person who has died.
If a death occurs abroad, or on a foreign ship or aircraft, the death should be registered according to the local regulations of that country and a death certificate obtained; this must show the cause of death. If the death certificate is not in English, you will need to obtain an authenticated version translated into English.
In addition, the British Consul in the country concerned may register the death and a record will then be kept at the General Register Office. You will also be able to obtain a copy of the death certificate from the consulate later or from the overseas registration section of the General Register Office.
To bring a body back to England or Wales, you need the removal of the body to be authorised. Such authorisation comes from the coroner or other relevant authority.
You can find more information on what to do when someone dies abroad on the when someone dies abroadpage of the Directgov website.
To arrange a burial in England or Wales for the repatriated body, you will need a 'Certificate of no liability to register' issued by the registrar in whose area it is intended to hold the funeral, plus an authenticated translation of a foreign death certificate, or a death certificate issued in Scotland or Northern Ireland, depending on the place of death.
This certificate is also provided for the cremation in England or Wales of the body of a person who died in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. However it is not, in itself, sufficient authority for the cremation of a body and you should check with your funeral director or the cremation authority with regard to other required documentation.
To arrange a cremation in England or Wales for the repatriated body, you will need a cremation order from the Home Office or a 'Form E' from the coroner.
If the death was from natural causes, the Home Office requires the following documents:
If the death was not due to natural causes, it will be referred to the coroner who will open an inquest and issue a 'Form E' for cremation.
Alternatively, you may wish to arrange a local burial or cremation in the country where the death occurred. This avoids the expense of repatriation.