Repatriations

Repatriation involves returning a deceased to their country of birth for burial or cremation there.

Repatriation involves embalming the deceased, and packaging them in hermetically sealed containers (polyurethane or zinc linings - depending on the requirements of the receiving country) inside coffins, which are then packaged and shipped by air on packing crates.

Ravens is a repatriation specialist, having done hundred's of repatriations all over the world. Most for immigrants who have been living in Australia for many years, but far too many for backpackers or guest workers who have been killed in accidents, or died from unexpected illness. (Repatriation fees are often covered by Transport Accident Commission, or by Crimes Compensation Commission grants. Please contact us to check if this might apply in your case.)

The legal documents needed for repatriation can be quite complex and very time consuming. They include some, or all, of: Certified Death Certificates from the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages; Embalming certificates, often endorsed by a Notary Public; permissions from the Victorian Health Department to allow exporting of human remains; Freedom from Infectious Diseases certification; often 'Postiles' from the Australian Federal Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; permissions from the embassy of the receiving country (sometimes including certified translations of all documents and embassy officials inspecting and sealing the coffin with embassy stamps); permission from the Health Department of the receiving country; authorisations from participating airlines; and approvals from intermediate shipping ports if the route requires multiple connections. 

The process of collating all the correct documents, getting the correct certification, and arranging appointments and permissions from State, Federal, and international government departments, is not one that most families (or even most funeral directors), are ready to attempt for themselves without guidance. Raven's acts as agents for many smaller or country funeral directors who lack the resources for this specialist task.

Most repatriations take 4 to 7 days to organise. One of the most complex repatriations Raven's handled, involved trying to get a deceased back to Cuba (before the US would allow connecting flights through US territory). Eventually we had to fly the Cuban ambassador from Japan; get him to personally seal the coffin with embassy stamps; and then fly the deceased via Manila and Madrid (each of which had different packaging requirements) through to Cuba. The process took 7 weeks.

If you have a query about repatriation, please call and ask for one of our specialists.