When death occurs overseas

The issue of people dying abroad is becoming increasingly widespread. The government estimates the number of British passport holders who currently live abroad at 13 million.

If a person dies overseas, a local doctor should be found to confirm the death.

Local death certificate

Actual procedures involved in reporting the death will vary from country to country but in any event a local death certificate should be obtained. This document is usually acceptable for all official purposes in the UK but may need to be translated.

If the person died on a foreign ship or aircraft, you must register the death in the country the ship or aircraft is registered in.

Local British consulate

The death should also be registered at the local British consulate to ensure that the death is recorded for UK purposes. However, there is no obligation to do so.

The British consulate will also be able to provide advice in arranging a local burial or cremation or in arranging for the body to be repatriated to the UK.

For further information as provided by the British government on the repatriation of a body, please click here.

Repatriating the body

In order to arrange the repatriation of the body to the UK you will need the following two documents:

1. A certified English translation of the death certificate; and

2. Permission from a coroner (or an equivalent official) in the country where the person died to remove the body

The British Consulate can help to arrange this.

Registering the death in the UK

If the body is repatriated to the UK, the registrar for the district where the funeral is to take place must be informed.

The registrar must issue a certificate before the burial can take place. The Home Office also has to give permission if the body is to be cremated.

Please note

The information which we provide through Lasting Post is in outline for information or educational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser. We cannot guarantee that information provided by Lasting Post will meet your individual needs, as this will very much depend on your individual circumstances. You should therefore use the information only as a starting point for your enquiries.