|10 March, 2018

How to repatriate Indian expats' remains from UAE

Expatriates are mostly unaware of the procedures to repatriate bodies of their loved ones.

Dubai Marina's tower blocks rise over the Shoreline Apartments on Nakheel's Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, November 26, 2009.

Dubai Marina's tower blocks rise over the Shoreline Apartments on Nakheel's Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, November 26, 2009.

REUTERS/Steve Crisp

Death comes to everyone - it pays no heed either to time or place. Morbid as it may sound, expatriates living in the UAE and their families here or back home should be ready for this eventuality.

To put it bluntly, someone has to take care of your remains when you die. It pays to know the paperwork, mortuary charges (including embalming or autopsy, if needed), transportation cost and other fees to take your body back to home country. Learn the process and know the legal requirements and at least a part of the emotional ordeal will be satisfied.

Ashraf Thamarassery, an Indian volunteer who was in the media limelight recently for helping to send the remains of the late Indian actress Sridevi back home to India, said expenses vary as the cost of moving mortal remains depends on body weight and destination.


In the past 17 years, Thamarassery has helped repatriate around 4,700 bodies from the UAE and sent to various countries of origin. He said in the course of death, someone has to call the police to report the incident. "The police will talk to Rashidiya Hospital mortuary and the forensic doctors will check and provide the report to the police station on how the death happened," he told Khaleej Times.

"From the police station, the paper will be sent to Al Baraha Hospital, where the death certificate will be collected and submitted to the Immigration (General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai) for visa cancellation. Next stop is the embassy or consulate for passport cancellation. You then come back to the police station to get three reports - for the airport, embalming centre and police mortuary - before the body is released," Thamarassery explained.

"Then someone has to go to the cargo section at the airport to book a ticket and to Sonapur Embalming Centre and provide the report from the police station. From there, get another report to get the body released from the police mortuary. Afterward, go to cargo village, submit the paper, pay the fees and the work is done," he added.

According to Thamarassery, for India-bound remains, "the fee varies between Dh5,000 to Dh5,500, depending on the weight of the body. There is also a Dh50 fee for the issuance of the death certificate; Dh1,000 charge for the preparation of the body in the coffin and Dh100 for transport from the mortuary to the airport."

"If the death does not have to be investigated, a letter of no objection (NOC) from the embassy and a letter from the airline handling transport is all that is required. It will take around two-three days to finish everything," Thamarasherry said.

"But if there is a police investigation, the process will require more paperwork. A NOC from the police station is must to release the remains of the deceased," he explained.

"Every month, I help send around 50-60 remains to different countries," he concluded.

Requirements for sending human corpses to India

> Death certificate in original and seven copies thereof

> Embalming certificate in original and seven copies thereof

> Certificate from the Directorate of Preventive Medicine, Ministry of Health, for the transportation of the body and seven copies thereof

> A letter from the sponsor requesting facilitation of dispatch of the body to India for last rites as required by the next of kin

> Original passport of deceased with two photocopies of first 2, last 2 and visa pages

> Two photocopies of passport (of first 2, last 2 and visa pages) of the person accompanying the body

> Person accompanying should be present at the time of registration for signing the death register

> A letter from the sponsor of the deceased person with details of outstanding dues to the deceased person in the proforma prescribed

> Confirmation from the airline about the booking of space

> Authorisation from the next of kin of deceased, authorising a designated representative to receive the body.


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