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Death, burial or cremation outside Scotland

Find out what to do if a death occurs outside Scotland or if your loved one wishes to be buried or cremated outside of Scotland.

Death in Scotland – burial or cremation in England or Wales

If the deceased dies in Scotland but wishes to be buried or cremated in England or Wales, you need one of the following documents:

  1. Certificate of no Liability to Register

    You can get this certificate from the registrar of the district in England or Wales where the burial is to take place.

    You'll need to provide a death certificate or letter from the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland and sign a declaration form at the registrar's office in England or Wales.

    There's no fee payable for this certificate.

  2. Cremation 6 Form

    This form authorises cremation and is issued by the coroner in England or Wales. If a burial is planned then the coroner will issue a Coroner's Order for burial.

    You'll need to sign a declaration form which states that no coroner's inquest is to be held. If there's to be a cremation then the authority of a medical referee at the crematorium is also needed.

Death in England or Wales – burial or cremation in Scotland

If a person wishes to remove a body from England or Wales they must give Notice of Intention to the coroner of the area where the body lies. They will need either: 

  1. A certificate given by the registrar in England or Wales that the death has been registered.
  2. A coroner's order for burial or certificate for cremation.
  3. A death extract.

The body cannot be removed for 4 days after the coroner has received the Notice of Intention.

If the coroner decides not to hold an inquest, the body can be removed at any time once the acknowledgement has been received from the person requesting to move the body, even if the 4 clear day period has not expired.

If the coroner decides to hold an inquest, it's illegal to remove the body until the inquest is completed, even if the 4 days notice has elapsed.

Once the 4 days have elapsed and you have either received the notice or the inquest is complete, the body can be removed from England or Wales.

Please note: the person who has been given authority to remove the body for burial/cremation in Scotland must keep hold of any acknowledgements or certificates. You must have these ready to produce on demand to the keeper of the cemetery or superintendent of the crematorium.

Death in Scotland – burial or cremation abroad

Some countries require a Letter of Comfort before they will allow a body into a country for burial. This letter, if issued, confirms no infectious disease was present in the body. The letter is issued by the Environmental Health Officer of the area where the person died.

For certain countries, an investigation may be required before the body can be moved. If this is the case the Procurator Fiscal will be involved. After the investigation they will issue a Furth of Scotland letter to the undertaker or person removing the body.

Please note: every country has its own regulations so it is advisable to contact the Embassy or Consulate. Any documentation issued by the Environmental Health Officer or the Procurator Fiscal must accompany the body.

Death abroad - burial or cremation in Scotland

When a death occurs abroad you should contact your nearest British Embassy. They will give you a list of recommended local Funeral Directors.

You should register the death according to the regulations of that country and purchase a death certificate. You should then register the death with the British Embassy. They will send a record of the death to Scotland. You will be able to get a copy of the death certificate from the National Records of Scotland, in Edinburgh, when you return home.

The foreign Funeral Director will liaise with the Scottish Funeral Director to bring the body back to Scotland.

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