Repatriating a loved one involves a series of detailed steps and coordination with various entities to ensure a respectful and compliant return to their home country. This guide outlines the essential steps involved in the repatriation process.

1. Initial Arrangements

Contact the Relevant Authorities:

  • Immediately inform local authorities in the country where the death occurred. This typically includes the local police or medical examiner, who will issue a death certificate.

Notify the Embassy or Consulate:

  • Contact your home country’s embassy or consulate in the foreign country. They can provide guidance and assistance, including helping with necessary documentation and local regulations.

Choose a Repatriation Service Provider:

  • Select a reputable repatriation service provider. These professionals handle logistics and coordination with local authorities, funeral homes, and airlines. They offer expertise and support throughout the process.

2. Documentation

Obtain a Death Certificate:

  • Secure an official death certificate from the local authorities. Multiple copies may be needed for various steps in the process.

Legal Documentation:

  • Depending on the country, additional documents might be required, such as a coroner’s report, embalming certificate, and transit permit. Your repatriation service provider and the embassy can help identify these requirements.

Authorization Documents:

  • Obtain authorization from the receiving country’s authorities. This might include import permits for the remains and approval from the local health department.

3. Preparation of the Remains

Embalming and Preparation:

  • In many cases, embalming is required for international transportation of human remains. Ensure that this process is done according to both the local and international regulations.

Casket or Container:

  • Choose a suitable casket or container that meets international shipping standards. Some countries have specific requirements regarding the type of container used.

4. Transportation Arrangements

Flight Arrangements:

  • Coordinate with airlines for the transport of the remains. Not all airlines provide repatriation services, so it’s important to work with your service provider to find a suitable carrier.

Handling and Shipping:

  • Ensure the remains are handled with care and respect throughout the transportation process. This includes secure packaging and appropriate labeling as required by international regulations.

Customs Clearance:

  • Prepare for customs inspections both in the country of departure and arrival. This involves presenting all necessary documentation to customs officials.

Legal Compliance:

  • Adhere to all legal requirements in both countries to avoid any delays or complications. Your service provider will typically handle most of this process.

6. Arrival and Local Arrangements

Receiving the Remains:

  • Upon arrival in the home country, the remains will need to be cleared by local authorities. Ensure that you have a local funeral home or service provider ready to receive and handle the remains.

Final Arrangements:

  • Complete any remaining local arrangements, including transportation from the airport to the final resting place, funeral services, and burial or cremation.

7. Support and Aftercare

Emotional Support:

  • The repatriation process can be emotionally challenging. Seek support from family, friends, and professional counselors to help manage grief and stress.

Financial Assistance:

  • Investigate any financial assistance options available, such as insurance policies that may cover repatriation costs. Some governments and NGOs offer support for repatriation in specific circumstances.


Repatriating a loved one is a complex and sensitive process that requires meticulous planning and coordination. Working with experienced professionals and maintaining open communication with relevant authorities can help ensure that the process is conducted smoothly and respectfully. Always seek guidance from your country’s embassy or consulate and consider hiring a reputable repatriation service provider to navigate the logistics and legal requirements.

For more detailed information and personalized assistance, consider consulting with professional repatriation service providers who specialize in handling these sensitive processes.