Can I carry my relative's ashes on board an aircraft?

In many cases human ashes can be carried in the passenger hold on an aircraft. You must ask the airline directly if they will allow it.

Can I travel on the same flight as my deceased relative?

If you inform us that you wish to travel on the same flight as your relative we can advise what you should do. In some cases it is better to get confirmation that your relative is booked on the flight before booking tickets.

Always check with us before you book your own tickets.

Do I require a Funeral Director to arrange a repatriation?

Only Funeral Directors can issue a Funeral Directors declaration, one of the required documents for repatriation. Funeral Directors are also able to arrange other required documentation.

A relative has died overseas. What should I do?

When you are faced with the death of a loved one overseas you should contact their insurance company first. They may be able to take care of all the arrangements for you. You can also contact the British Embassy in the country. They may also be able to assist in appointing a local Funeral Director.
If you cannot get any help through the insurance company or the Embassy, we will be able to assist you directly.

Documentation & Customs

Do I require an Export License to repatriate Human Remains from the UK?

You do not require an Export License to repatriate Human Remains from the UK. You will require a Customs Entry.

How do I arrange X-Ray Screening?

X-Ray Screening would automatically be arranged by your repatriation agent.

What documentation is required to repatriate Human Remains from the UK?

In most cases the only documentation you require is The Death Certificate, The Free from Infection Certificate, Out of England, Embalming Certificate and Funeral Directors Declaration. There are some countries where you will need additional documentation and even the passport. Call us or e-mail for more info.

Are there any Customs requirements for Repatriation into the UK?

Human Remains arriving from outside the EC require Customs Clearance before they are released from the airport.

Human Remains arriving from the EC can be removed from the airport without Customs Clearance after any applicable charges have been paid.

Airline Requirements

Do you require a Zinc Lined Coffin to repatriate Human Remains?

Most Airlines insist on Zinc Lined Coffins for repatriating Human Remains. The exception is when Repatriating Human Remains within the UK or to Ireland.

Do coffins need to be wrapped in Hessian?

Airlines will insist on coffins being wrapped in Hessian with sufficient protective packing such as bubble wrap. Alternatively a Flight Tray may be used.

How long does it take to get flight confirmation for a repatriation?

The time an airline takes to confirm flight details for repatriation differs from airline to airline. If there are family members traveling on the same flight this may speed up the process. It is not always possible to get the Human Remains booked on the same flight as the passengers. In these cases it is better to get the confirmation for the repatriation before booking tickets.

How long before the flight should the deceased be delivered to the airline?

Most airlines insist on the deceased being delivered no later than 6 hours before the scheduled flight departure time.

What is the maximum weight an airline will accept for a Human Remains and coffin?

The maximum weight depends on the airline and the aircraft that is being used.

Repatriation of a deceased body into England or Wales

If a death occurs abroad, the death should be registered according to the local regulations of that country.

To bring a body back to England or Wales the Death Certificate and a translation, together with a 'risk of free from infection certificate' and an 'Embalming Certificate' must be produced.

The registrar in the district in which the funeral is to take place has to issue a 'Certificate of No Liability to Register', however, please note that the body must be in the United Kingdom prior to the application for this certificate. Chelsea Funeral Directors will help you with this procedure.