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What to do first

You must register the death according to the laws of the country where the person died.

If the death happens in England, Wales or abroad, you can either:

  • arrange a local burial or cremation in the country where they died
  • bring the body back to Scotland

Get a death certificate

If you want to bring the body back to Scotland, you'll need a death certificate (or equivalent) and permission from the appropriate authorities to move the body out of the country.

Once you have a death certificate, you can use it in Scotland if you need to confirm the person has died – such as with a bank or a funeral director. You may need to get a certified translation of the death certificate if it's not in English.

Help from the British embassy

If the death happened abroad you can also apply to your nearest British embassy to register the death in the UK. This means a record of the death will be sent to the National Records of Scotland.

If the death was suspicious, the British embassy will help you speak to local police and get legal advice.

Being told about the death

If the person dies abroad while you're at home and the death has been reported to the British Consulate, they'll ask the police to tell the next of kin.

If you hear about the death from anyone else (for example, a tour operator), you should contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 0207 7008 1500 (24 hours) for help with arrangements.

In England or Wales

If someone dies in England or Wales, you need permission from a coroner to move the body for a funeral outside the country. You need to apply at least 4 days before you want the body to be moved.

Find a local coroner using the Coroners' Society of England and Wales website.

You can choose to arrange a local funeral if you want to.

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