What Arrangements Do You Make to Have a Body Returned From Another Country?

Monday, September 28, 2020

Have you recently lost a loved one while they were in another country? 

Each year hundreds of Americans lose their lives abroad. Loss is devastating in any circumstance. But, navigating the repatriation of remains from another country can make the process more difficult. 

Planning in advance for the deceased's return is key to ensuring a smooth process and ease of mind. Read on for a guide to successful repatriation.

Contact a US Consular Officer

While the repatriation process can be confusing, you don't have to do it alone. Contacting a consular officer is the first step in returning your loved one's remains from another country.  

They are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day and can help you transfer funds and prepare legal documents. They can also operate as legal representatives of the deceased in the foreign country. 

Check for Travel Insurance 

If the deceased purchased travel insurance that covers repatriation, this can streamline the process and reduce costs. 

Insurance can cover the majority of services needed including transportation, post mortem exams, and communication with various officials. 

Obtain All Necessary Paperwork

One of the more challenging steps in arranging for the deceased's return is ensuring you have the correct documentation.  

You'll at least need a death certificate, an affidavit from the foreign funeral director, and a transit permit. 

To make sure you've fulfilled all documentation requirements, check with your consular official and the US embassy of the foreign country.

Meet US Entry Requirements

Depending on the method of transportation and state of the remains, you'll need to meet certain entry requirements. 

Embalming requires the least amount of paperwork. Yet, depending on the country this may not be possible. Or, the Postal Service can ship cremated remains. Both cremated and embalmed bodies may enter the country without a death certificate.

Transportation of an entire body is more complicated. You'll need to meet specific container regulations. These must be leak-proof and the body checked for disease. 

Finally, you will want to ensure you meet the requirements of whichever airline you choose

Understand Repatriation Costs

Without travel insurance, the cost of transporting human remains from another country can cost $3,000 or more. 

Besides shipping costs, you'll need to pay for the proper containers, paperwork, and associated fees. 

Having to endure these costs while grieving can be challenging, but with help from your preferred funeral home, you can reduce stress and get the support you need. 

Planning for the Return of Remains From Another Country 

“We never truly get over a loss, but we can move forward and evolve from it.”

Author Elizabeth Berrien illuminates the healing process and encourages us to move forward even through grief.

Despite the challenges that repatriation might bring, once plans for returning your loved one from another country are underway, you'll want to make arrangements back home. 

Whether you desire a full ceremony, veterans' services, or local transportation, Schumacher & Benner can help meet your needs. 

We are a Veterans & Family Memorial Care provider and offer an Armed services commemoration program. Benefits feature: an American Flag Embroidered In Casket Panel; appropriate Armed Services Emblem custom embroidered with names and dates on blanket; triangular display case for the American Flag; custom engraved name plate with American Services Emblem; and authentic Presidential Certificate signed in ink by the President of the United States; and in addition full military honors at the place of burial with Funeral Hearse emblem depicting branch of service; and the Patriot's walk of Honor. 

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