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Repatriation & Costs

Repatriation is returning a body back to a specific country It does mean additional costs, for example caskets and embalming used in repatriation have to conform to high specifications. There is also the cost of the flight and costs in the destination country. A less expensive alternative is to have the cremation in the country with repatriation of the ashes/cremated remains. Cremated remains may be carried to some countries in hand luggage (with a death certificate and a certificate from the crematorium and sometimes a consular seal). Check with the funeral director or consulate as regulations vary by country.

Moving a Body ‘Out of England’

There are special regulations concerning moving a body over the borders between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands or overseas. Only a coroner is authorised to permit the body to be moved out of England with the issue of a Removal Notice (Form 104). You will then need to give the completed form to the coroner, and enclose any certificate for burial or cremation that has already been issued to you. Notice to the coroner should be given at least four working days before the body is to be moved. This is to enable sufficient time for any necessary enquiries to be made. Under certain circumstances this can be fast tracked.

Funerals Overseas

If the funeral will be taking place abroad, there are certain legal requirements that need to be fulfilled. Some countries require a certificate before they will allow a body into the country for burial. The certificate would confirm that no epidemic or infectious disease occurred where the person died for some three months preceding the death. These requirements are normally dealt with by the funeral director.

Specialist Repatriation Funeral Directors

You can do the repatriation of the body yourself. However it can be a complicated task. Whilst it could be done by a local funeral director there are a number of organisations that specialise in repatriation. They have useful expertise and knowledge of what is required by particular countries and airlines. Some also offer dedicated online tracking services which enable you to track the progress of repatriation. Local consulates and embassies should be able to provide details of suitable funeral directors.

Repatriation from France

A useful guide to Death and Dying in France can be found here. In addition to guidance on repatriation of a bocy it also covers how and where to report the death, how to arrange a burial or cremation, and where you may scatter ashes.

Repatriation Checklist

  • Select a suitable funeral director to handle the repatriation.
  • Obtain necessary repatriation documentation, (varies by country) and coffin requirements for:
    • UK authorities
    • Embassy and/or Consulate involved
    • Carrier airline
  • Ensure that official documents, i.e. death certificates, reports and invoices are properly translated.
  • Selection of and liaison with the funeral director in the destination country.
  • Suitable preparation of the body that meets the requirements of the airline and destination country.
  • Use of a coffin that meets international shipping regulations (zinc lined).
  • Use of an urn suitable for international shipping. This will include zinc lining of wooden urns.
  • Booking of freight carrier and obtain air way bill.
  • Arrangements for collection of the repatriated body. This will be normally handled by the local funeral director.

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