What to do when someone dies abroad

It can be a challenging and emotional time when someone passes away. However, it may seem even more distressing if they die abroad.

This guide will advise you on what to do when someone dies abroad; whether you are at home and you find out that your loved one has died overseas, or if you are abroad with them when they pass away.

If you are abroad together

If you’re travelling or holidaying abroad with someone and they pass away, the first steps you need to take are:

  • Contact the nearest British embassy (or High Commission/Consulate)
  • If you’re on an organised tour, let the organisers know what’s happened
  • If you’re staying in a resort, let a representative know
  • Establish whether you have travel insurance and notify them

Most holiday resorts and organisations have welfare representatives who can help you during this emotional time. You can also contact family at home and speak with them if you’re at a loss of what to do.

If you are travelling abroad and staying at accommodation that is not booked through a travel company, you may want to contact your family first. The local police will be able to help you get in touch with the nearest British embassy.

If they are abroad and you are not

If a loved one dies abroad while you are at home in the UK, the British consulate is legally obligated to contact the next-of-kin. You may find out from the embassy itself, or the police force may be instructed to tell you.

If you find out through a holiday representative or tour operator, it is important to contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They will keep you up to date with what is happening and can help you decide arrangements.

Finding out about a loved one’s death when you are not with them is a confusing, difficult situation. There are steps you must take when this happens.  Remember you can always ask family or close friends to help you.

Registering a death abroad

You must register your loved one’s death in the country where they died.

If you are unsure about how to do this, your nearest British embassy will be able to help you. It is important to note that you must also register the death with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. The British embassy can help you get hold of this information.

Get in touch