Repatriation in this context means – bringing the mortal remains of the loved one back from a foreign country (where the death has occurred) to the home country. No repatriation can be done without the help and involvement of various government agencies, especially the Embassy. Last Rites undertakes to provide repatriation services and liaise with various agencies involved in a foreign country on your behalf for arranging a quicker, faster and time bound repatriation.

  • When a relative die abroad the following questions are automatically asked:
    1. Role of an Embassy in transporting mortal remains?
    2. If no one is available to arrange transportation of mortal remains, can the Embassy help?
    3. Does Embassy assist in dispatching mortal remains if we are unable to pay for transportation cost?

For the purpose of bringing back the mortal remains of a citizen, registration of death at the concerned Embassy is necessary, for which the following documents are required:

  1. Medical report / death certificate issued from a hospital
  2. Copy of detailed police report (with English translation, if report is in some other language), in case of accidental or unnatural death
  3. Consent letter from next of kin of the deceased for local cremation / burial / transportation of mortal remains, duly attested by a notary
  4. Copy of passport and visa pages

In addition, other documents such as clearance and arrangements for embalming of mortal remains, clearance from local immigration/customs department, etc. are required. These procedures may differ from country to country. While there is no undue delay in cases of natural deaths, the time taken in transporting the mortal remains is longer in the case of unnatural deaths, because of local procedures involved in those countries for investigating the cause of death. Generally, the embassy will remain in touch with the next of kin of the deceased national to facilitate the transportation or local burial of the mortal remains in accordance with the wishes of the deceased’s family. They also liaise with the concerned foreign officials to expedite procedures for the repatriation of mortal remains.

  1. In case no friend or relative is available to take care of the transport of mortal remains, the Embassy can be authorized to make arrangements for transport of the mortal remains.
  2. The Embassy can consider a request for assistance for transporting mortal remains on a ‘means tested’ basis. One may be required to provide additional information in support of request.

Is it possible to bury the mortal remains in foreign land particularly in Middle Eastern or Gulf countries?

It is possible but most of the Middle Eastern or Gulf countries allow this only in the case of Muslims. This would also require the consent of the legal heir(s) of the deceased for local burial. In the case of non-Muslims, the mortal remains are required to be repatriated to their home countries. In the case of unclaimed bodies, local authorities take steps to dispose of them as they deem fit.
What documents are generally required for transportation of mortal remains?
  1. Power of attorney and consent from the legal heir;
  2. Clinical death certificate;
  3. Embalming Certificate;
  4. Non-communicable decease certificate;
  5. Passport for cancellation; and
  6. No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Embassy.
How much time does it take for transportation of the mortal remains?
Local procedures for transportation of mortal remains of foreign nationals vary from country to country. In Middle east / Gulf countries, the normal time line ranges from 2 to 4 weeks due to local procedures as indicated above. If the death was due to unnatural causes and investigations are ongoing to ascertain the cause of death, it may take significantly longer, depending upon progress in the investigations. The Embassy stays in touch with the concerned local authorities to expedite the process.