Death Overseas help and advice

It can be distressing having to deal with any bereavement, but when someone dies abroad it can become far more complex and difficult having to deal with different procedures and authorities

 

Information

Here you will find some useful information on how to deal with a death overseas 

General information on what to do after somebody dies 

Registration

If the deceased was from England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, register the death according to the local regulations in the country in which it took place, and get a local death certificate. You can also choose to register the death with the General Register Office in the UK by applying for a Consular Death Registration.

If the death abroad occurred in particular circumstances or the information about the death abroad is incomplete, this must be reported to a coroner in the same way as if the death occurred in England or Wales.

If the deceased was from Scotland

You will be able to get a copy of the death certificate later from:

The General Register Office for Scotland

New Register House

3 West Register Street

Edinburgh EH1 3YT

Tel: (0131) 334 0380.

E-mail: registar@belfastcity.gov.uk

Web: http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk

If the deceased was from Northern Ireland

You will be able to get a copy of the death certificate later from:

The General Register Office

Oxford House

49 Chichester Street

Belfast BT1 4HL

Tel: (028) 9027 0274

Fax: (028) 9027 0520

E-mail: mailto:registar@belfastcity.gov.uk

Web: http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk

Holding A Funeral Abroad

You can arrange a local burial or cremation. 

Moving A Body

Alternatively, you may wish to repatriate the body to the UK for cremation or burial. Most funeral directors should be able to advise you on the practicalities of your particular case and the likely cost. Several firms specialise in repatriation.

You will need an authenticated translation of a foreign death certificate - which must show the cause of death - from the place where the person died, and an authorisation for the removal of the body from the country of death from the coroner or relevant authority. You must contact the registrar once the body is back in the UK.

The Consular Assistance team at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office  in London can be reached on: 020 7008 1500 (+44 20 7008 1500 from abroad). This number operates 24 hours a day.
 

If a relative or friend dies while you are abroad with them

All deaths must be registered in the country where the death occurs. Your tour guide, the local police or the British Consul  can advise you how to go about this. If you are anxious about coping in a foreign language or about any other problem, the British Consulate will be able to help. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office produce a document called Death Overseas (PDF, 1.6MB)Information for relatives and friends that may help you. Or you can go see their information on for more help and guidance.
 

You can view key information and advice on how they can help you if a friend or relative dies whilst abroad. There is also advice on what to do if death occurs in suspicious circumstances
 

Make sure you have as much documentation as possible about the deceased and yourself. This should include:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number
  • Where and when the passport was issued
  • If you are not the closest relative yourself, next of kin of the deceased person.


If the deceased was known to be suffering from an infectious condition, for example the hepatitis or HIV viruses, it is essential that the authorities be told so that they can take precautions against infection.

If a close relative or friend dies abroad while you are in the UK

If the death has been reported to a British Embassy in the county where the death occurred, they will pass the details to the UK police who will immediately visit the next of kin and break the news. If you hear of the death from a tour operator, the media, or any other third party you should contact The Consular Assistance team in London who can be reached on: 020 7008 1500 (+44 20 7008 1500 from abroad). This number operates 24 hours a day.

Consular staff in London will keep in touch with the family and the Consulate abroad until burial or cremation overseas or until the deceased has been brought back to the UK. Consular staff in London will pass on to the Consulate overseas the wishes of the next of kin about disposal of the body.

UK Embassies Overseas

You can view a list of British embassies around the world showing the contact details of the UK's embassies, high commissions and consulates (also know as 'diplomatic missions' or 'posts') overseas. Where an embassy / high commission has its own website, a link to it is provided. Streetmaps and instructions on how to reach the mission are often available on the embassy / high commission website.

Information addresses and contact details on how to Find a foreign embassy in the UK
 

Last Updated: 18 July 2018