When someone dies abroad, concerns about dealing with another country’s rules and processes and perhaps an unfamiliar language can make a bereavement feel more difficult, but there is help available.
Who to contact if someone dies abroad
If a family member or friend dies abroad, the first thing to do is to contact the British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in the country where the death took place for advice on what to do and information on the support they can offer. Visit the UK Government website to find a British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
If the person who has died had travel insurance, get in touch with the insurance company. It may be that the insurance policy covers things such as repatriation costs (if the person is to be brought back to the UK), legal and translation fees.
Deciding on place of burial or cremation
The next of kin of the person who has died will usually need to decide if the person is to be buried or cremated locally, or brought back to the UK (this is called repatriation). The options available will depend on the circumstances of the death, along with the laws and customs of that particular country.
If the person is to be brought back to the UK you will need an international funeral director. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has a list of UK-based funeral directors for British nationals whose family member or friend has died abroad.
For more advice on repatriation, see our publication, ‘Flying home: helping patients to arrange international travel’. Repatriation can be very expensive and the cost usually has to be met by the deceased person’s family or by an insurance policy.
For more detailed advice on what to do when someone dies abroad, see the guidance from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Citizens Advice also explains how to register a death and make arrangements when a person dies abroad.
Download our resource 'Flying Home', which has information about making arrangements for overseas travel for people with life-limiting conditions.