Repatriation of bodies to Scotland

Deaths Abroad

From 13 May 2015, the new Death Certification Review Service run by Healthcare Improvement Scotland will be responsible for checking relevant paperwork and authorising burial or cremation of people who have died outside of the UK and have been transported to Scotland.

The process

The person applying for authorisation to bury or cremate (often a funeral director or arranger) must supply the review service with the following pieces of documentation.

  1. A completed declaration.
  2. A completed request for disposal after transportation form.
  3. The death certificate (or equivalent) issued by country where the person died.
  4. Passport (or equivalent identification).
  5. A completed application for post-mortem (if required).
  6. A completed Form A (for cremations only - application for cremation), and
  7. Any other relevant paperwork.

Electronic copies of the above documentation should be submitted to the review service.

One of Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Medical Reviewers will assess the application and check that the documentation is in order. Where a request has been made to authorise a cremation the Medical Reviewer will also carry out additional checks to make sure this can be carried out safely.

What happens next?

When the Medical Reviewer is satisfied that the documentation is in order, they will issue the following to the person applying for authorisation to bury or cremate.

  1. A certificate declaring documentation in order.
  2. A certificate authorising cremation (if applicable).
  3. A general information letter.

The original death certificate from the country where death took place will also be returned. This process will normally be concluded within five working days from receipt of the application.

What happens if the documentation is not in order?

If the Medical Reviewer finds that the documentation is not in order they will attempt to obtain any missing documents and make reasonable enquiries to allow the case to be concluded as quickly as possible.

For requests to authorise a cremation, if the Medical Reviewer is unable to conclude that it is safe to cremate, they will only be able to authorise a burial.

Assistance with post-mortem examinations

For some deaths that occur outside the UK the documentation provided by the country where the person died may not contain information on the cause of death. In these cases, if the body is transported to Scotland, the family can apply to the review service for assistance (including financial assistance) to arrange a post-mortem examination.



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