Posthumous repatriation from Russia to Finland

Step-by-step guide: how to return the remains of a Finnish citizen to their homeland

Below is a general plan of action in case a Finnish citizen dies on the territory of the Russian Federation and his body / remains have to be transported back to homeland. Specific issues and subtleties of this difficult process will be discussed in the second part of this article.

Step 1 - Notify the deceased's insurance company

According to the migration legislation of the Russian Federation, a Finnish citizen must have a сertificate of insurance in order to enter the country. In most cases, it will cover expenses associated with basic medical services. These include emergency health care, medical treatment due to imminent life-threatening health issues, as well as transporting back home due to medical reasons, which also include posthumous repatriation.

In order for the insurance company to start organizing the transportation of the deceased to their homeland as soon as possible, immediately contact its call center by the phone number indicated on the insurance certificate.

It must be noted that Russian insurance policy when dealing with foreigners is based on the principle of reciprocity. To obtain a Schengen visa, one needs to take out insurance for an amount of 30 thousand euros or more, and the same requirement is imposed for Europeans who decide to visit Russia.

Without a medical insurance certificate, the presence of a foreigner on the territory of the Russian Federation is considered illegal and entails administrative liability in the form of a fine and subsequent expulsion from the country. If the deceased Finnish citizen stayed in the country without an insurance certificate, all the costs of repatriating his body/remains will be borne by his family.

Step 2 – Contact the embassy or the nearest Finnish consulate office

If a citizen dies abroad, the Finnish mission can provide his family or other interested persons with the necessary assistance and support related to the repatriation of his body / remains to their homeland. Therefore be sure to notify the call center of the Finnish embassy in Russia.

Embassy can:

  • Assist a citizen who became a victim of an accident in obtaining urgent medical help;
  • Help with the preparation of the documents required to return the body of the deceased / his remains to the homeland. This includes issuing a new passport to replace the lost or destroyed one;
  • Provide a list of translators accredited by the representative office;
  • Contact the insurance company on behalf of the victim's family.

The embassy staff can NOT:

  • Pay any expenses related to medical care, posthumous repatriation, burial, and cremation of the deceased;
  • Intervene in a lawsuit and act as a legal advisor.

Step 3 – Conclude an agreement with a funeral agency

Even in a case where the Finnish office and the insurer company both provide all possible assistance to the relatives of the deceased, the posthumous repatriation is in itself a very complex procedure. Organizational and bureaucratic aspects of this task require a lot of time and effort for the whole thing to work out.

Due to these reasons, the Finnish Foreign Ministry recommends Finnish citizens who found themselves in this unfortunate situation to delegate the organization of posthumous repatriation to a local qualified ritual company. Thanks to their high qualifications and knowledge of local legal nuances, funeral agents of these companies will be able to speed up the process and ensure the fast and safe arrival of the remains to the homeland.

Documents required to arrange a posthumous repatriation

One will need to have all documentation translated into Finnish, Swedish, or English. The translation must be certified by a Finnish embassy representative.

Please be sure to check the up-to-date list of required documents at the Finnish diplomatic mission.

1. Documents proving the identity and citizenship of the deceased, as well as the applicant. In case of loss/theft/destruction of the deceased's documents, you must contact the Finnish mission officials as soon as possible. To speed up the process of identifying a deceased Finnish citizen, you can attach a photocopy of the lost or destroyed passport, driver's license, or anything that will help to identify the deceased, to the application.

2. Medical certificate of death. You can get a medical certificate of death at the medical facility where the deceased was treated at the time of death, or in the morgue.

3. Finnish certificate of death. As a rule, information about the death of a Finnish citizen abroad is sent to the diplomatic mission by the honorary consul, the representative of the insurance company or the authorities of the host country. In this case, the certificate will be issued by a Finnish medical examiner. A death certificate is essential in order to transport the deceased back to Finland. Please note that if the burial of a Finnish citizen is planned to take place in Russia, the relatives of the deceased must submit a death notification to the foreign mission of Finland. The notification form can be found at

4. Documents confirming the compliance of the cargo with the rules for the transportation of mortal remains across the border. These include:

  • embalming certificate;
  • coffin / zinc box sealing certificate;
  • a certificate confirming the absence of foreign objects in the coffin/urn;
  • a certificate of the absence of infectious diseases (in case of transportation of the remains in a coffin). To obtain these documents, you must contact the morgue where the body of the deceased is stored.

5. Permission to export body or ashes from Russia.

6. Notarized copy of the official police report (optional). This one is needed if death occurred as a result of external causes.

Mortal remains cross-border transport regulations

There are various ways to organize the transportation of the body/remains of the deceased across the border. Air transportation is by far the fastest and safest, but its cost significantly exceeds other types of transport. Transportation of the deceased via railroad is cheaper but generally takes longer.

It is also possible to transport the remains in a car – this method compares favorably to the others at a low price and the ability to bring the body/urn immediately to the burial without spending money on hearse transport. However, it should be taken into account that the road in this case can take up to several days, which means that the driver will have to independently organize accommodation and meals. In addition, various external circumstances – for example, ice or heavy snowfall – can delay the car or even cause an accident.

Important! Transportation of the deceased requires compliance with a number of specific rules, requirements, and regulations.

In the case of transportation of the body in a coffin, the deceased must be put in a hermetically sealed zinc container.

In the case of transporting cremated ashes, the urn should also be sealed and packed in a shipping box lined with a soft cloth from the inside. It should not be shielded from X-rays so that customs officials can make sure that there are no foreign objects.

What are the estimated posthumous repatriation costs from Russia to Finland?

The costs of transporting the body of a deceased Finnish citizen from Russia to his homeland are determined by many factors, such as:

  • The remoteness of the place of death of the deceased Finnish citizen from the Finnish mission, as well as the airports of departure and arrival;
  • Distance from the airport of arrival to the burial place;
  • Transportation method: by plane, train, car;
  • Is it a coffin or an urn.

When calculating the transportation costs, one must also take into account the paperwork, preparation of the body for transportation, and the services of a funeral organization expenses.

Useful links

You can get detailed information on the rules for processing documents and organizing posthumous repatriation at the following links:

Public services


Address: Moscow, Kropotkinskiy lane, 15-17;

Phone: +7 495 787 4174

Consulate General of Finland, St. Petersburg

Address: St. Petersburg, Preobrazhenskaya square, 4;

Phone: +7 812 331 7603;



Embassy social media pages:




Office of the Consulate General of Finland in Petrozavodsk

Address: Petrozavodsk, Gogol street, 25;

Phone: +7 8142 555 025;


Office of the Consulate General of Finland in Murmansk

Address: Murmansk, Zavodskaya street, 2;

Phone: +7 815 228 0030;


See Also