Sadly the loss of a child can happen whilst abroad. We wanted to detail below the procedures that have to be followed so that you can bring your child home to the UK. Repatriation simply means returning your child's body back to the place of origin or citizenship if they have died in a foreign country.
You will need to register the death with the British Consulate. They will be able to advise you on all the practical aspects of repatriation and help you work with the local authorities; they will also help and advise how to book transport back to the UK for you and the body. Click Here to find the British Embassy/Consulate in the country you are in.
To register the death you will need:
Full name of the child
Date of birth
Passport information – When and where issued and passport number
Next of kin
The death will be recorded in the General Registry Office and you will be able to obtain a death certificate from them if needed:
General Register Office
If the child was from Scotland you will be able to gain a copy of the death certificate from:
General Register Office for Scotland
New Register House
3 West Register Street
Tel: 0131 334 0380
If the child was from Northern Ireland you will need to contact:
General Register Office
49 Chichester Street
Tel: 028 9027 0274
You may wish that your child has a local burial or cremation abroad. The British Consulate can register the death and a record will be held at the offices above.
However, should you wish that your child be moved to the UK for a cremation or burial, check with the funeral directors on the practicalities and costs, as they can add up with the coffin, embalming and flights. Also check that the cost of repatriation is covered by your travel insurance; if not then you may be liable to cover the costs yourselves.
Before the body will be allowed to be brought home, it will have to be embalmed and also secured into a zinc lined coffin. You will also have to have a full English translation of the death certificate, with written authorisation from the local authorities to remove the body, together with a certificate of embalming.
Another option and a much cheaper one (if your costs are not covered) would be to have a cremation in the country of death and then some countries will allow for the cremated remains to be carried in your hand luggage home; providing it is accompanied with an English translated death certificate and a certificate from the crematorium and in a few cases you may find that you will have to have the remains consular sealed. All this can be checked with the funeral director or the British Consulate as each country will have their own laws and regulations.
Also be aware that many countries will need a signed document from a doctor to confirm that the child was not suffering from a condition that may cause a public risk.
Any funeral director can arrange repatuation but some do specialise with very detailed knowledge of the laws in each country, one we are aware of is Rowland Brothers International – Tel: 0208 684 2324. These companies will then be able to either arrange the funeral for you back in the UK or, transfer the body to a funeral director of your choice.
Funeral trade associations will also be able to advise and help you find a Funeral Director specialising in Repatriation in your area:
National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD)
618 Warwick Road
Funeral Standards Council (FSC)
30 North Road
Tel: 029 2038 2046
Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)
Tel: 01279 726777