Register a death abroad for a British person and Probate issues

Register a death abroad.

You can register a death abroad with the nearest British Consulate if you live overseas or the Consular services department in London, if you live in the UK. The Coping with Death Abroad page on the FCO site also has practical advice about how to help if a relative or friend dies abroad. We are not expert in how to register a death abroad, but we’ll be happy to find a firm  help with the Probate.  Here is a special page on registering a death in the UAE.

We are used to dealing with probate issues with foreign aspects.  Please do confirm the information on this page before acting on it – it is just a general guide.

Consular death registration is not a legal requirement but it means:

  • an entry will be made in the death register by the British Consulate in the country concerned
  • you’ll be able to obtain a British style death document
  • a record of the death will be held by the General Register Office in the UK

A Consular death registration document is not a UK death certificate and should not be used as one. It should not take the place of the locally issued death certificate. You’ll need to register the death with the foreign civil authorities and obtain a full foreign death certificate before you can apply for consular death registration. The consular death document won’t include a cause of death as many foreign death certificates don’t include this detail. If you are resident overseas you can apply for a consular death document from your nearest British embassy or consulate. Check the local embassy’s website for processing times and other information.

Countries where deaths can’t be registered.

Please note that, because of their close links to the UK and local death certificates being issued in English, Consuls can’t register deaths which occurred in these countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland
  • South Africa
  • UK Overseas Territories

Registering a death at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London

If you are resident in the UK you can apply for the registration through the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. All applications are dealt with by post because they do not accept personal callers. Send your application by special delivery and include two self-addressed pre-paid special delivery envelopes so they can return your documents and registration document safely to you. Evidence to show that the deceased was British at the time of death will be required.

The FCO  send you an acknowledgment letter and return your documents to you within 20 working days. It’ll take approximately 8 weeks from receiving a complete application for you to receive the consular death document.

First, you’ll need to download and complete the Death Registration Form [Word, 45KB].

Applications should be sent to:

Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Rm K4.9, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH

Fees to register a death as at July 2012 (sorry – must update!)

It will cost you £65.00 for each additional copy of the registration obtained from them. After September of the year following the registration, copies can be obtained from the General Register Office.

Please note: the FCO  do not accept personal cheques only accept bank drafts or postal orders. The fees are closely regulated by Parliament and are set to cover administration costs.

Payment by card

You can make payment by credit or debit card. When submitting your application, make sure you include a print out of the Barclaycard payment confirmation page which gives details of your payment reference and date and time of payment. Without this information they will be unable to process your application.

Card payments are only valid for applications being made in the UK. If you are applying directly to your local British Consulate overseas, you should not use this payment method. Please contact your local British Consulate for payment instructions.

Register a death abroad.