How To Repatriate a Body From Abroad?

How To Repatriate a Body From Abroad?

Following the death of a loved one abroad, the body must be repatriated quickly to be buried in its native land. For some, this is a custom or a religious obligation. It is a financial concern for others, as burial in another country is expensive. In any case, the repatriation of the deceased is a process that must follow several steps. This is why it is strongly advised to call upon a funeral company to carry out the operation.

The Administrative Steps

The repatriation of the body must comply with the laws of the country of departure. Likewise, transport conditions must comply with international regulations, particularly in terms of health.

Thus, to repatriate a body, it is necessary to request the authorities concerned. To do so, certain documents are required:

  • The death certificate and the death certificate (from the town hall of the place of death)
  • The notice of non-contagion and the certificate of non-epidemic (from the Regional Health Agency)
  • Authorization to seal the coffin
  • The funeral contract or insurance in case of death

It should be noted that the administrative procedures require the intervention of a funeral company.

Transportation of the Body

Whether by land or air, it is essential to respect the sanitary measures concerning the body’s transport.

The Placing of the Body in the Coffin

The burial is essential to prevent the body from deteriorating during transport. If the death occurred in a hospital, hospital professionals would place the body in the coffin.

However, if the person dies at home, it is the responsibility of the funeral home to do it.

The casketing of a repatriated body must be done with particular attention, especially concerning the mandatory health standards.

If the transport is done by air, the required thickness for a coffin is 22 mm for international transport depending on the place or country where the burial will take place; 18 mm for a transport duration of fewer than 2 hours or 4 hours with specific conservation care.

Moreover, the casketing must obtain specific authorization from the local authorities (city hall, prefecture, or consulate). Also, the transport must be done only in a leaded coffin. This metal casket is hermetically sealed with a specialized resin, also known as cold sealing. An airtight envelope is also placed in the casket under the padding.

Transporting a Funeral Urn

Transporting a funeral urn is a less restrictive alternative to repatriating the body. This option is chosen when the family wishes to cremate the body and return the ashes to the country of origin.

Documents Required to Transport an Urn From Abroad

To transport an urn, the following documents are required:

  • A copy of the death certificate of the person
  • The original passport of the deceased or a photocopy certified by the local city hall
  • A certificate stating that the person in question did not die of a contagious disease.

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The Case of Transport by Plane

It is also possible to transport a funeral urn by plane. In this case, it is essential to inform the airline company. The measures differ from one airline to another. For some airlines, transporting the urn in the cabin is authorized as long as the required dimensions are respected and kept discreet from other passengers. For others, only the transport in hold is authorized.