How to Arrange for a Body’s Return to Home Country

In an earlier post, we shared about how to arrange a Christian burial in Dubai, in case of death of a friend or family member. But what if you prefer to have the deceased returned or repatriated to his or her home country? What are the steps that you should take?

To return the deceased to his or her home country, you will need to make arrangements for embalming and shipping. Today’s article presents the requirements, fees, and procedure involved in arranging the deceased’s repatriation to his or her country of origin.

How to Arrange for a Body's Return to Home Country 1

Guide to Arranging for a Body’s Return to Home Country

Embalming of the body can be arranged through the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). Meanwhile, shipping is handled by dnata, which is an Emirati airport services provider that manages all air cargo departing from Dubai International Airport.

Although handling of the body is taken care of by dnata, you will still need to make arrangements with the airline that will transport the body to the home country. This includes reserving cargo space on an airline and buying flight tickets for yourself.

On the other hand, you can also make arrangements for a funeral company to receive the body in the home country, in case you are not planning to accompany the deceased.

Before anything else, make sure that the following conditions have been met:

  • Death certificates from home country embassy and Dubai authorities
  • Registration of death with home country embassy and Dubai authorities
  • Advanced confirmation with airline that will transport the deceased
  • Confirmed ticket (of accompanying passenger)
  • Advanced confirmation (for unaccompanied coffin)

Required Documents
Prepare the original and seven photocopies of:

  • Cancelled passport
  • Local death certificate
  • Embassy/Consulate death certificate
  • NOC from Dubai Police
  • NOC to embalm body

NOTE: The accompanying passenger should also present a confirmed ticket (plus two photocopies).

How to Arrange for a Body's Return to Home Country 2

You will need to prepare:

  • AED 210 – transportation of body from hospital to Sonapur Medical Fitness Centre (for embalming)
  • AED 1,010 – embalming fee
  • AED 1,200 – coffin (may be more depending on material and design)
  • AED 1,000 to 3,000 – cargo fee (may be more depending on destination)


  1. Make shipping arrangements with dnata.
  2. If you are accompanying the deceased, book a flight ticket. Otherwise, make arrangements for the body to collected at the destination.
  3. Obtain an NOC from Cargo Village police station. Make seven photocopies.
  4. Obtain an NOC from the deceased’s home country embassy regarding repatriation to country of origin. Make seven photocopies.
  5. Submit all documents to dnata Export Office, Cargo Village. The accompanying person or undertaker should provide a confirmation letter accepting the coffin.
  6. Obtain an NOC from Dubai Police to embalm the body.
  7. Submit the deceased’s passport copy, death certificate, and NOCs from home country embassy and Dubai Police to Al Maktoum Hospital Mortuary.
  8. The mortuary will provide and NOC to the hospital where the deceased is located. The body will then be transported to Sonapur Medical Fitness Centre for embalming.
  9. Before embalming, the body must be identified by the person making the arrangements. The embalming process would take about two to four hours.
  10. Obtain the embalming certificate. Wait until the body has been transported to dnata Export Office, Cargo Village. This should be done at least four hours before departure.
  11. Submit all documents to dnata Export Office.
  12. Wait for the coffin to be weighed in the export cargo department. Pay the cargo fees.

ALSO READ: Why Every Dubai Expat Needs to Draft a Last Will & Testament

As soon as all the documents, fees, and processes have been settled, the body will be flown home. It may be accompanied by a passenger, or received by a funeral company upon arrival at the country of origin.

DISCLAIMER: The above details are presented for information sharing purposes only. For more information about arranging for a body’s return to the country of origin, please visit the Dubai Government website as well as the dnata official website.