When someone dies in Jamaica – GOV.UK

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Find out about local procedures, burials and cremations, and returning the body to the UK
If you are dealing with the death of a child, multiple deaths, a suspicious death or a case of murder or manslaughter, call +1 876 936 0700 if you are in Jamaica, or 020 7008 5000 if you are in the UK.
If the person who died had insurance, contact their insurance company as soon as possible. Insurance providers may help to cover the cost of repatriation. Repatriation is the process of bringing the body home. Insurance providers may also help with medical, legal, interpretation and translation fees.
If the person who died had insurance, the insurance company will appoint a funeral director both locally and in the UK.
If you are not sure whether the person who died had insurance, check with their bank, credit card company or employer.
If the person who died did not have insurance, a relative or a formally appointed representative will usually have to appoint a funeral director and be responsible for all costs. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides a list of UK-based international funeral directors.
The FCDO cannot help with any costs. In some cases, funeral directors and lawyers may provide services on a pro bono basis. Pro bono work is done for free or for a reduced cost depending on your circumstances. This is decided on a case by case basis.
Some UK-based charities and organisations may be able to offer assistance, support and information to people affected by a death abroad. The FCDO provides a list of UK-based charities and organisations.
You must register the death in the country where the person died. In Jamaica, deaths must be registered within 5 days unless the coroner is investigating the death.
You will need a Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death (MCCD) to register the death. You can get the MCCD from the doctor who last saw the person who died.
The death must be registered in the district in which the person died. The MCCD should be taken to the Registrar General’s Department, or the Local District Registrar in that district. You can do this yourself or you can appoint a funeral director to do this on your behalf. A Burial Order After Registration will then be issued.
You can apply for the death certificate from the Registrar General’s Department after the death is registered. It usually takes about 6 months to complete the registration process, and can take up to 2 years.
Check that the death certificate is correct when you get it, as changing it later will cause further delays.
You do not need to register the death in the UK. The local death certificate can usually be used in the UK for most purposes, including probate.
If you wish, you can register the death with the Overseas Registration Unit. You can buy a UK-style death certificate, known as a Consular Death Registration certificate. A record will be sent to the General Register Office within 12 months.
If the person who died suffered from an infectious condition, such as hepatitis or HIV, you must tell the local authorities, so they can take precautions against infection.
The next of kin for the person who died needs to carry out these legal procedures. Under Jamaican law the next of kin is defined as their married partner or closest living blood relative.
Same-sex partners, whether married or not are not recognised under Jamaican law as next of kin.
If you are not the next of kin, you may need authorisation from that person to carry out legal procedures.
Cold storage mortuary facilities are available in Jamaica. You may be charged a fee for storage of the body.
Post-mortems are carried out by forensic doctors appointed by the court. Cultural or religious sensitivities may not be taken into account. The FCDO cannot stop or interfere with the process.
A post-mortem will always be carried out in the case of a sudden death, or a suspected violent death. Sudden deaths are categorised as those where the person who died had not been seen by a doctor within 6 weeks of the death.
During a post-mortem, small tissue samples and organs may be removed and retained for testing without the consent of the family. You will not automatically be told if this happens.
Post-mortems of foreign nationals are usually carried out within 2 weeks. If the investigation cannot determine the cause of death, a post-mortem report will not be issued and the death certificate will state the cause of death as ‘pending’. Samples will be taken from the body and further tests will be carried out.
You can apply to the local police for a copy of the post-mortem report. It can take between 3 to 9 months for reports to be complete, and longer if a toxicology report is also carried out.
If the person who died had insurance, find out if their insurance provider can help cover the cost of repatriation. Repatriation is the process of bringing the body home. If so, they will make all the necessary arrangements.
If the person who died is not covered by insurance, you will need to appoint an international funeral director yourself.
A relative or a formally appointed representative must appoint a UK-based international funeral director for the person who died to be repatriated to the UK. The FCDO provides a list of UK-based international funeral directors.
Local funeral directors will work with UK-based international funeral directors to make sure all the necessary requirements are met both locally and in the UK. This includes providing documents such as a local civil registry death certificate, a certificate of embalming and a certificate giving permission to transfer the remains to the UK.
There are UK organisations and charities that may be able to offer assistance with repatriation.
If you want to have a post-mortem in the UK after the body has been repatriated, you can request one from a UK coroner. The coroner will then decide if a post-mortem is needed. If you want the person who died to be cremated, you need to apply for a certificate from the coroner (form ‘Cremation 6’).
You should not have the person cremated abroad if you want a UK coroner to conduct an inquest into their death.
If you choose local cremation and wish to take the ashes back to the UK yourself, you can usually do so. Check with your airline about specific restrictions or requirements, for example whether you can carry the ashes as hand luggage. You will need the following documents to leave Jamaica with human ashes:
You will also need to fill in a standard customs form when you arrive in the UK
To get a transit certificate, contact the public health department in either Kingston or Montego Bay. You will need the cremation certificate and death certificate to get the transit certificate.
If it is not possible for you to transport the ashes yourself, a funeral director will be able to make the necessary arrangements. The FCDO provides a list of UK-based international funeral directors.
To have a local burial or cremation, a relative or a formally appointed representative needs to appoint a local funeral director.
The FCDO provides a list of English-speaking funeral directors in Jamaica.
The funeral director will be able to explain the local process.
If a local burial or cremation takes place, there will not be a coroner’s inquest carried out in the UK.
Personal belongings found on the person who died at the time of death are given to the police if the family is not present.
If you choose to repatriate, instruct the local funeral director to collect all personal belongings from the police or court and ship them together with the body.
If there is an investigation into the death, clothing may be retained as evidence and will not be returned until the court case is finished.
The FCDO cannot help with the cost of returning personal belongings to the family.
You can apply to appoint a lawyer in certain circumstances, such as a suspicious death. The FCDO provides a list of English-speaking lawyers in Jamaica.
To avoid identity fraud, the passport of the person who died should be cancelled with His Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO). To do this, you need to complete a D1 form.
If you plan to repatriate the person who died to the UK, you may require their passport to do this. In these circumstances, you should cancel the passport after they have been repatriated.
Check this step-by-step guide for when someone dies to make sure you have done everything you need to do in the UK. You can find information on:
Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.
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