Consular, Passport and Visa Division

Transfer of Mortal Remains

Q: My relative died abroad;a) What is the role of the Indian Embassy in the transportation of his/her mortal remains?b) If no one isavailable to arrange the transportation of mortal remains, how can the Embassy help?c) Does Indian Embassy/consulate assist in dispatch of mortal remains if we are not able to pay for the transportation cost?
  • For the purpose of bringing back the mortal remains of an Indian national, registration of death at the concerned Indian Mission/Post is necessary, for which normally the following documents are required:
    • Medical report / death certificate issued from a hospital
    • Copy of detailed police report (with English translation, if report is in some other language), in case of accidental or unnatural death
    • Consent letter from next of kin of the deceased for local cremation / burial / transportation of mortal remains, duly attested by a notary
    • Copy of passport and visa pages

    In addition to the above, other documents such as clearance and arrangements for embalming of mortal remains, clearance from local immigration/customs department, etc. are required. These procedures may differ from country to country.

    While there is no undue delay in cases of natural deaths, the time taken in transporting the mortal remains to India is longer in the case of unnatural deaths, because of local procedures involved in those countries for investigating the cause of death.

    Our Missions/Posts remain in constant touch with the next of kin of the deceased Indian national to facilitate the transportation or local burial of the mortal remains in accordance with the wishes of the family of the deceased. They also liaise with the concerned foreign officials to expedite procedures for the repatriation of mortal remains to India.

  • In case no friend or relative is available to take care of the transport of mortal remains, you may authorize the Indian Embassy/ Consulate to make arrangements for transport of the mortal remains.
  • Yes, the Indian Embassy can consider your request on a ‘means tested’ basis. You may be required to provide additional information to support your request.
Q: Is it possible to bury the mortal remains in foreign land particularly in Gulf countries?

Yes, it is possible but most of these countries allow this only in the case of Muslims. This would also require the consent of the legal heir(s) of the deceased for local burial. In the case of non-Muslims, the mortal remains are required to be repatriated to their home countries. In the case of unclaimed bodies, local authorities take steps to dispose of them as they deem fit.

Q: What documents are required for transportation of mortal remains to India?
  • Power of attorney and consent from the legal heir;
  • Clinical death certificate;
  • Embalming Certificate;
  • Non-communicable decease certificate;
  • Passport for cancellation; and
  • NOC from the Indian Embassy.
Q: How much time does it take for transportation of the mortal remains?

Local procedures for transportation of mortal remains of foreign nationals vary from country to country. In Gulf countries,the normal time line ranges from 2 to 4 weeks due to local procedures as indicated above.If the death was due to unnatural causes and investigations are ongoing to ascertain the cause of death, it may take significantly longer, depending upon progress in the investigations. The Indian Embassy/Consulate stays in touch with the concerned local authorities to expedite the process.