Post-mortem repatriation from Russia to the UK

A British national died in Russia – what to do:

1. Notify the insurance company

To enter Russia, every British citizen must have an insurance. The insurance company bears the expenses on returning the body home.

2. Register the death

Obtain death certificate from the local Russian authorities, then obtain a British death certificate at the British Embassy, as well as remains import permit.

3. Find a funeral home with experience in international transportation of remains

Arranging repatriation from the Russian Federation to the United Kingdom may be quite complicated because formal procedures differ greatly between the two countries. The British Consulate recommends entrusting the collection of documents and arranging of post-mortem repatriation to a qualified funeral home.

Help from the British Embassy

The British Embassy will provide general advice on local law, burial or repatriation of the remains, as well as contacts of certain funeral homes. All relevant information is available on the UK Government website and in this article.

The UK Government will not:

  • Provide any legal advice;
  • Pay any of the burial or repatriation expenses;
  • Intervene in the enquiry into the death / conduct an independent investigation.

Post-mortem repatriation to the UK: Specifics

The Russian death certificate will be accepted by the UK authorities only after translation into English. Issuing a British death certificate is not required although recommended: this will eliminate death registration procedure when the deceased is brought home.

To have a British consular death registration certificate issued you'll need to:

1. Submit the required documents;

2. Complete an application;

3. Pay the fee.

The death of a British national may be registered by their heir or other official representative (including a funeral home).

Documents for obtaining a consular death registration certificate

All documents must be translated into English and notarized. The UK Government provides a list of authorized legal translators throughout Russia: https://www.gov.uk

Document Where to get it
Original Russian stamped death certificate; Municipal services center or registrar office
Photo or scan of the deceased person’s passport photo page You can do it without assistance
Original documents confirming the deceased person's British citizenship: passport or birth / naturalization / registration certificate Documents must be kept with the deceased or their legal representative.
Contact the British Embassy if the documents are missing.
Written permission to represent the interests of the heir / legal representative Is required if the registration procedure is carried out by another representative.
You can execute it without assistance, in any form.
Completed death registration application https://www.gov.uk

Death registration and consular death registration certificate issue fee

The charges include the following:

  • Death registration – £150;
  • Copy of consular death registration certificate – £50 per each;
  • Return mailing of documents (if required) – depends on the region:

Across the UK or to a British Forces Post Office £5.50
Europe
(except for Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Northern Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, Montenegro)
£14.50
Other countries £25

You can pay the fee online at the UK government website.

Direct link: https://pay-register-death-abroad.service.gov.uk/start

You can register death at the embassy or by sending documents to:

Overseas Registration Unit
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Hanslope Park
Hanslope
Milton Keynes
MK19 7BH
United Kingdom

Post-mortem Repatriation – Whether to Transport the Body or Ashes?

Russia and Great Britain allow exporting and importing remains in the following forms:

  • The body in a sealed container;
  • Cinerary urn.

Ashes shipment is always cheaper and easier to arrange.

Requirements for remains transportation from the Russian Federation to the UK

To ship a body or an urn you will need to:

1. Collect the documents;

2. Sign a shipping contract with the airline;

3. Hand over the remains to the airline for shipping to the UK.

Documents for the deceased person's body shipment from Russia to the UK

Document Where to get it
Russian death certificate Municipal services center or registrar office;
Translation of the Russian death certificate into English Any translation agency
The UK government recommends contacting verified attorneys and translators from the list below:
https://www.gov.uk
Certificate of Encasement (certifying that the container is sealed and contains no extraneous objects) Morgue or funeral home that is arranging the repatriation
Embalming certificate Morgue or funeral home that is arranging the repatriation
Only required for body shipment
Certificate of no communicable diseases Rospotrebnadzor
Application for customs declaration Funeral home that is arranging the repatriation
When you arrange remains shipment without assistance, you must complete a declaration at the airport or when you hand over the body or the ashes to the carrier

You can collect the documents without assistance. It may take up to 1-2 weeks.

A funeral home will do it in 2-3 business days.

Rules of importing remains into the UK

  • The container with the body or the ashes must be sealed.
  • The body must be embalmed for transportation;
  • The cinerary urn must be transparent to X-rays.

Choosing the airline to transport the remains to the UK

According to Russian Ministry of Transport decree 82 dated 28.06.2007, and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) international regulations, it is the airline itself who determines the the body carriage rules.

Russian airlines only allow to carry the body or the ashes in the luggage compartment.

Some non-Russian carriers, e.g. British Airways may allow the ashes in hand luggage.

Make sure that you check the details on the rules and applicable fares with the chosen airline representatives – this information may often not be publicly available.

The cost of transporting remains to the UK

The cost depends on:

  • Weight of remains;
  • Travel distance;
  • Carrier rates.

It is always cheaper to ship ashes than a body.

Many airlines require an attendant on board the aircraft. This applies to both the body and the ashes. A family member of the deceased or a funeral home representative can be such an attendant. The attendant must have a flight ticket. Some airlines (e.g. Lufthansa) have special rates for shipping remains and attending persons.

Make sure you check the rates at each specific airline.

Useful Links

1. Public Services

Russian Federation Public Services Portal Here you can find how to get various documents required to arrange remains transportation.

Website: https://www.gosuslugi.ru/

2. Rospotrebnadzor

Address: Vadkovsky Pereulok 18, buildings 5 and 7, Moscow, 127994

Phone: +7 (499) 973-26-90

Website: http://www.rospotrebnadzor.ru/

3. The UK Government

Website: https://www.gov.uk/

4. British Embassy in Russia

Address : Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya, 10,  Moscow, 121099

Phone: + 7 (495) 956 72 00, +7 (495) 956 72 50

Open hours: 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM (except weekends)

Official Vkontakte Group: https://vk.com/ukinrussia

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ukinrussia

Website: https://www.gov.uk

5. Death in Russia: Bereavement Pack 2018

Link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk

6. Death overseas: registering the death of a British national

Link: https://www.gov.uk

7. Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Death Overseas information

Link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk

8. Authorized translators in Russia (recommended by the UK Government)

Link: https://www.gov.uk

Ritual.ru – Assistance in the post-mortem repatriation to the UK

With our vast experience, knowledge, resources, and status of the official state funeral service, Ritual.ru can quickly arrange post-mortem repatriation to the UK. To arrange bringing a deceased British national back home, call Ritual.ru hot line +7 (495) 100-3-100.

27 june 2019

See Also