Posthumous repatriation from Russia to Australia

About 1,000 Australians die overseas every year. The loss of a loved one is an ordeal in itself, but the one that happens abroad is associated with organizational and legal problems in addition to emotional suffering. Though technically it is possible to hold a funeral in Russia, few would wish their loved one to find their final resting place so far from home.

Step-by-step instruction on how to return the remains of an Australian citizen to their homeland

Step 1. Notify the insurance company

Russian legislation clearly states that a valid certificate of insurance is compulsory for all foreign citizens moving into the Russian territory for any time period, for any purpose, with a visa, or on a visa-free travel basis alike. Based on the principle of reciprocity, the minimum insurance coverage for Australians will be at least 2 million rubles (roughly equivalent to 35,000 Australian dollars) as of March 2021. This amount is derived from the expected costs of a full set of emergency medical treatments, which includes the repatriation of the victim / deceased to their homeland. In case of an insured event, the insurance company will be responsible for paying and organizing the transportation of the deceased back home. Generally speaking, the insurance company will:

  • Take on all organizational and financial issues related to posthumous repatriation;
  • Provide relatives with a list of reputable local funeral agencies;
  • Explain the specifics of local funeral legislation.

As soon as you find out about the death of your relative or friend, who happens to be an Australian citizen, you should immediately inform his insurance company by calling the number indicated on the certificate of insurance. To avoid complications and give the insurance company some breathing time, it is preferable to do this within 24 hours after death.

Step 2. Contact the Australian Consulate

Generally speaking, all Russian executive agents are obliged to immediately inform the consulate staff about it after they’ve registered the death of an Australian citizen. The Consulate then will notify the deceased person’s relatives back in Australia about the tragic event. Relatives of the deceased then must provide the Consulate with the following information:

  • Full name and birth date of the deceased;
  • Number, place, and date of issue of his / her passport;
  • Family members or close friends contacts;
  • Information about the certificate of insurance. 

Step 3. Agree with the funeral agency

The next thing to do for the family or friends of the deceased is to find a local funeral agency. Without significant knowledge of the local migration and funeral laws, it will be difficult to return the deceased to his homeland – so it is better to get this case to the professionals.

Note! Though the repatriation of the deceased Australian citizen can be organized by the Russian funeral agency, it will be necessary to negotiate with the Australian funeral service to arrange the burial.

Step 4. Body/ashes transportation

When organizing the transportation of mortal remains, one should know that it must be done according to the Russian legislation and import/export regulations. All necessary documentation that confirms the right to ship off the so-called «cargo 200» (mortal remains) out of Russia must be gathered, their list will be given below. So, to transport the remains of a deceased Australian citizen from Russia back home, his representative will have to obtain all of the following documents:

Medical certificate of death. Issued in a morgue or medical facility where the deceased was undergoing treatment at the time of death;

  • Stamped death certificate;
  • Applicant’s identification document;
  • Documents confirming the citizenship of the deceased;
  • Cargo compliance documentation (certificate of sanitization of the body, certificate of airtight sealing of the coffin, certificate confirming the absence of contagious diseases).
  • A document clarifying that the deceased did not suffer from any form of a dangerous virulent disease, in particular – COVID-19

Rules for the transportation of human remains

A dead body poses a threat to the health and life of others. Therefore, its transportation requires certain precautions. International standards establish that in the case of transporting the body of the deceased in a coffin, the deceased must be pre-embalmed and placed in a hermetically sealed zinc container or coffin with a zinc capsule. The container must not contain any extraneous attachments. To ensure that the integrity of the coffin/container is not compromised during transportation, it should be packed in a durable wooden box.

The requirements for transporting cremated ashes are much less complex. The representative/relatives of the deceased must make sure that the urn with the ashes transmits X-rays so that the customs officers can make sure that there are no foreign objects inside. It must be hermetically sealed and free of traces of soil, seeds, plant debris, etc. Also, for safety reasons, many carriers require to pack the urn in a box lined with soft fabric from the inside.

Step 5. Receive the remains at the Australian airport

All insurance service / foreign funeral agency duties end upon the arrival of the container with the body/ashes of the deceased at the Australian airport. Therefore, you should pre-order a hearse transport and all the necessary ritual accessories. It makes sense to agree with an Australian funeral service beforehand.

Note! Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a mandatory two-week quarantine has been introduced for all citizens entering Australia.

Please note, that upon arrival in Australia, both the coffin and the urn of ashes must be submitted to the Department of Agriculture's Biosafety Section for import approval. – assistance in posthumous repatriation to Australia

Vast experience, knowledge, resources, and status of the state funeral service allow to quickly and efficiently organize posthumous repatriation from Russia to Australia. To arrange transportation of a deceased citizen of Australia, call the call center at +7 (495) 100-3-100 .

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