When you have suffered a bereavement it is very difficult to know what to do first
and how to cope with the legalities and paperwork that a death causes. The following
information has been written to guide you through the process at this difficult
If you are travelling with someone who dies abroad, you should contact the nearest
British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. They will be able to give you advice
on what you need to do and help you with arrangements that need to be made.
Registering the death
All deaths must be registered in the country where the person died. The British
will tell you how to do this. You can also register the death at the British Embassy,
High Commission or Consulate. This means you will get a UK style death registration
When registering the death, you will be asked to provide the following information
about yourself and the deceased:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Passport number
- Where and when the passport was issued
- Details of the next of kin (if you are not their closest relative)
You can arrange to have the funeral overseas or for the body to be returned to the
UK. This is known as repatriation. If you would like the funeral to be held in the
UK, you will need to use an International Funeral Director who can help you with
You will need to provide the following documents:
- An English translation of the foreign death certificate from the country where the
- Authorisation to remove the body from the country
- A certificate of embalming
The British Consulate or an International Funeral Director will be able to tell
how to get these documents.
If the body is to be returned to Scotland, the Scottish Government must give permission
and issue an order to allow the funeral to take place.
Once the body is home, the death certificate must be taken to the Registrar in the
area where the funeral is taking place.
The order from the Scottish Government must be given to the council where the funeral
is taking place. You must also give them the burial or cremation paperwork and a
copy of the death registration.
When a coroner will be involved
A coroner will usually be involved if the cause of death is unknown, sudden, violent
or unnatural. You will require a certificate from the coroner if the deceased is
to be cremated.