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What is repatriation? 

Everything you need to know about how to repatriate someone who has died in Tenerife

It’s probably the last thing you want to think about when you’re enjoying your new life in the sun – but if you’re a British expat living in Tenerife, you need to think about what would happen if you or someone close to you passed away.

Would your loved ones know how to arrange a funeral in Tenerife? And if you want to be laid to rest in the UK, would they know where to start with repatriation?
Repatriation is the process of moving someone who has died from one country to another for their funeral. It’s common for expats who want their final resting place to be in their country of birth, rather than the country they’ve moved to.
Repatriation from Tenerife to the UK can be complicated and expensive, so it’s important that you and your family know all the facts. That means that when the time comes, they’ll be more prepared for what’s involved.

What’s involved in repatriation?
The first step, before you can repatriate someone to the UK, is to register their death with the local authorities in Tenerife. You’ll be issued with a local death certificate, which you’ll need to obtain in English as a certified translation.
You’ll need to find a local Funeral Director in Tenerife. They’ll take the person who has died into their care and keep them in the mortuary until everything is ready for transportation.
However, be aware that traditionally, funerals in Tenerife often happen within 48 hours. Any extra delay will mean extra mortuary fees paid by the day. Make sure to check with the Funeral Director if you’re going to need extra time and what their daily charge is.
To begin the repatriation process, you’ll also need to choose a Funeral Director back in the UK. Be aware that not all Funeral Directors provide repatriation services, so you may need to look for a specialist with experience of repatriating British expats.
The Funeral Director in Tenerife will help you with paperwork, booking flights, and sourcing a regulation coffin. The British Funeral Director will be there to receive the coffin when the flight lands and to arrange the burial or cremation in the UK.

How much does repatriation cost?
The cost of repatriation can vary depending on the cost of flights, where you’re flying to and from, and the type of funeral you have once the person is repatriated. Individual Funeral Directors also often have different fees, so it can pay to shop around.
Bear in mind that in the UK the average cost of a cremation is £3,311 – and you will need to pay for flights, an extra Funeral Director and a special regulation coffin on top of that.

Can I repatriate cremation ashes?
A more affordable and less complicated option is to have a local cremation in Tenerife, then have the ashes repatriated to the UK. This means you won’t have to pay for a separate flight, regulation coffin or a second Funeral Director.
Many airlines will now let you bring an urn containing ashes onto a flight. If you choose to do this, make sure you check your airline’s guidelines. Some will let you put them in your carry-on bags, but for others you may have to check the ashes in with your hold luggage. As an extra precaution, it’s always a good idea to carry copies of the death certificate and cremation certificate.
Once back in the UK, you could always hold an extra memorial service to remember the person who has died. You can scatter the ashes, keep them in an urn at home, or inter them in a burial plot in a cemetery.

Can I make plans in advance for my own repatriation?
If you want to make things less complicated for your family, a prepaid funeral plan lets you arrange and pay for your funeral in advance.
Avalon Funeral Plans offers plans specially designed for expats living in Tenerife. You can choose between a local burial or cremation, or full repatriation to mainland Great Britain. When the time comes, all your loved ones have to do is call the 24/7 bereavement help line and Avalon will set things in motion.
You can pay in Euros or Sterling, in one lump sum or affordable monthly payments. There are no health questions – just choose the type of funeral you want and Avalon will help make a difficult situation more simple for your loved ones.
Avalon is the UK’s most trusted funeral plan provider, with a five-star rating on Trustpilot. Find out more about Avalon’s expat funeral plans online or call our office in Spain now on +34 922 014 389.