Repatriating Human Remains Overseas

Sending human remains to other countries

Sometimes, when people die in Australia their family choose to send their body or ashes overseas. This may because the person was only temporarily staying in Australia (ie, on holiday), originally came from another country (ie, migrated to Australia), this was the person’s wish (ie, in the will) or a religious / cultural expectation, or simply the family’s decision. Regardless of the reasons for sending someone’s remains overseas, the process generally involves documents having to be notarised to ensure that the proper health and regulatory steps have been followed according to the laws in Australia and of the destination country.

For example, official documents such as death certificates, travel documents and documents issued by the mortuary or crematorium regarding the treatment of the human remains must be notarised by a notary public. After those documents have been notarised, they must also be stamped with an apostille or be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and legalised by the foreign office of the intended destination country. In all cases, it is important to process these documents properly, and they must be in order to avoid issues and delays with customs or problems in breaching various health regulations.

Given the sensitive (and often urgent) nature of repatriating human remains, we have in the past worked closely with a number of mortuaries and crematoriums to ensure that all documents are notarised in a timely fashion. We can also assist clients with arranging for the apostille or the authentication with DFAT.

If you need our assistance in repatriating human remains overseas, especially if it needs to be done urgently, we recommend informing the mortuary or crematorium to help you to arrange for their paperwork to be completed and sent to us – or be available for us to be able to verify the information provided in documents that you provide to us. If you inform us of the intended destination country at the time you make your appointment for notary services, we can then advise you of the appropriate process that would need be undertaken and if you require our assistance the processing times and associated costs. We appreciate that this would be a difficult time for you to be trying to sort through these administrative issues but we can easily assist you with a little preparation and notice.

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Do you have any questions regarding this article?

If you have never had to have a document notarised before, you may find our role as a notary public, the notary public services that we provide, and this whole process (especially authentication, legalisation and apostille) to be confusing and daunting. Do not worry! We are here to try to simplify it, make it easy for you to understand, and to guide you or assist you with achieving your desired goal.

Please contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information regarding this article or our notary public services.

Click here to see the flowchart that we created to help you understand the process regarding notarisation, apostille, authentication and legalisation.

So, what next?

If you are now ready to proceed with having your document notarised, please visit our Notary Fees page for a FREE quote on our notary public services or just call us on 02 9687 8885 and speak to our friendly staff about your requirements.

Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?

We are a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney known for our low-cost fixed fee notary services, our availability to provide notary public services on short notice, and our focus on personal and timely notary public services. With our offices conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area, our notary public assists clients from across all suburbs of Sydney and beyond.

Ern Phang, Notary Public


Notary Public

This website is maintained by Phang Legal, an incorporated legal practice in Parramatta and a leading provider of notary public services to clients across Sydney. Extensive experience and low-cost fixed prices ensures quality services and satisfied clients.

is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the kinds of issues faced by his clients in sending documents overseas.

All information contained in this article is for general purposes only and correct as at the time of publication. You should only rely on information and advice that is specific to your situation and current at the time you wish to rely on it.

Posted: 2015-05-25 08:00:55 / Last edited: 2018-05-26 15:09:09