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What to do after a British person dies in Uganda

If the person who died is not covered by insurance, you will need to appoint an international funeral director yourself.

If you are arranging for the funeral to take place in the UK, you may need to provide additional information, for example the UK town where the body will be buried.

You must register a death in the country where the person died. In Uganda, you need to register the death on the National Identification & Registration Authority (NIRA) website or through a funeral director.

What to do if the person who died didn’t have insurance

Check this step-by-step guide for when someone dies to make sure you have done everything you need to do in the UK after someone has died. You can find information on how to tell the government about the death, UK pensions and benefits and dealing with the estate of the person who died.

Post-mortems are normally performed when the cause of death is unknown, unnatural, sudden or violent. Post-mortems in Uganda are carried out by forensic doctors or pathologists appointed by the hospital or court. Cultural or religious sensitivities may not be taken into account. The FCDO cannot stop or interfere with the process.

For organisations and charities that may be able to offer assistance with repatriation, see information on LBT Global in Coping with death abroad: specialist support and advice or repatriation charities in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Charities and organisations that offer support

You should not have the person cremated abroad if you want a UK coroner to conduct an inquest into their death.

Register the death and obtain a death certificate

If there is an investigation into the death, clothing and belongings may be retained as evidence and will not be returned until the court case is finished.

You do not need to register the death in the UK. The local death certificate can usually be used in the UK for most purposes, including probate.

  • outside of a hospital, Form 12 (Notification of death form)
  • at a hospital, both Form 12 (Notification of death form) and form 13 (Certificate of cause of death)

The FCDO cannot help with any costs.

If it is not possible for you to transport the ashes yourself, a funeral director will be able to make the necessary arrangements. The FCDO provides a list of UK-based international funeral directors.

In Uganda, the cause of death does not appear on the death certificate.

If a local burial or cremation takes place, there will not be a coroner’s inquest carried out in the UK.

If you choose to repatriate, instruct the local funeral director to collect all personal belongings from the police or court and ship them together with the body.

If the person who died had insurance, the insurance company will appoint a funeral director both locally and in the UK.

Deal with a local post-mortem

If the person who died did not have insurance, the next of kin will usually have to appoint a funeral director and be responsible for all costs. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides a list of UK-based international funeral directors.

Personal belongings found on the person who died at the time of death are given to the police if the family is not present.

If you are using a funeral director, they will tell you what other documents and information you need to provide.

If the person who died had insurance, contact their insurance company as soon as possible. Insurance providers may help to cover the cost of repatriation. Repatriation is the process of bringing the body home. Insurance providers may also help with medical, legal, interpretation and translation fees.

Some UK-based charities and organisations may be able to offer assistance, support and information to people affected by a death abroad. The FCDO provides a list of UK-based charities and organisations.

  • ask the UK coroner (in the case of a repatriation to England and Wales), who will contact the British High Commission Kampala
  • instruct your lawyer in Uganda, if you have one

If you are not sure whether the person who died had insurance, check with their bank, credit card company or employer.

Bring the body home

You can apply to appoint a lawyer in certain circumstances, such as a suspicious death. The FCDO provides a list of English-speaking lawyers in Uganda.

The funeral director will be able to explain the process. The FCDO provides a list of English-speaking funeral directors in Uganda.

During a post-mortem, small tissue samples and organs may be removed and retained for testing without the consent of the next of kin. You will not automatically be told if this happens.

Find an international funeral director

The person who died can be buried or cremated in Uganda, or returned to the UK, before tests on removed organs are completed. Any organs removed are kept during the tests, and are then stored for a period of time before being destroyed.

If you want a copy of the post-mortem report, you must apply through the coroner in the UK (in the case of a repatriation) or to the local court dealing with the death.

Advice and financial assistance for repatriation

If you choose local cremation and wish to take the ashes back to the UK yourself, you can usually do so. Check with your airline about specific restrictions or requirements, for example whether you can carry the ashes as hand luggage. When leaving Uganda with human ashes you will need to:

If the person who died suffered from an infectious condition, such as hepatitis or HIV, you must tell the local authorities, so they can take precautions against infection.

Bring the ashes home

If you want to have a post-mortem in the UK after the body has been repatriated, you can request one from a UK coroner. The coroner will then decide if a post-mortem is needed. If you want the person who died to be cremated, you need to apply for a certificate from the coroner (form ‘Cremation 6’).

If you use a crematorium, you will need to provide a British High Commission authorisation letter of no objection, and pay a fee. To get this letter, you must provide a medical certificate showing cause of death to the British High Commission in Kampala.

  • show the certificate of cremation
  • fill in a standard customs form when you arrive home

If you wish, you can register the death with the Overseas Registration Unit (ORU). You can buy a UK-style death certificate, known as a Consular Death Registration certificate. The ORU will send a record to the General Register Office within 12 months.

Bury or cremate the body locally

If you wish to recover the organs you can either:

Local funeral directors will work with UK-based international funeral directors to make sure all the necessary requirements are met both locally and in the UK. This includes providing documents such as a local civil registry death certificate, a certificate of embalming and a certificate giving permission to transfer the remains to the UK.

The repatriation process usually takes 7 to 10 days.

If the person who died had insurance, find out if their insurance provider can help cover the cost of repatriation. Repatriation is the process of bringing the body home. If so, they will make all the necessary arrangements.

Retrieve belongings

To have a local burial or cremation, you, a relative or formally appointed representative may wish to appoint a local funeral director.

If you plan to repatriate the person who died to the UK, you may require their passport to do this. In these circumstances, you should cancel the passport after they have been repatriated.

The British High Commission or your lawyer will make a formal request to the relevant Uganda court asking for the return of the removed organs, on behalf of the family.

Complete the following forms from the ‘Services & Forms’ section of the NIRA website, if the death occurred:

Find a lawyer

The FCDO cannot help with the cost of returning personal belongings to the family.

Cancel a passport

A relative or a formally appointed representative must appoint a UK-based international funeral director for the person who died to be repatriated to the UK. The FCDO provides a list of UK-based international funeral directors.

If you are dealing with the death of a child, multiple deaths, a suspicious death or a case of murder or manslaughter, call +256 312 312 000.

Check you have done everything you need to do in the UK

To avoid identity fraud, the passport of the person who died should be cancelled with His Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO). To do this, you need to complete a D1 form.


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