Repatriating Human Remains

Get Free Information About Repatriating Human Remains

Contact our specialist team right away for expert advice and professional support

We can support you through the process of repatriation of human remains to ensure you avoid careless customs dealings.

Contact our specialist team right away for expert advice and professional support

Professional Expertise & Compassion

Getting everything right first time is vital for anyone whose business involves importing. Customs problems have to be avoided because delays can be disastrous.

Diligence, Sensitivity & Urgency

At Aerona (Air & Sea) Customs Clearing we have acted on behalf of a number of bereaved families and funeral directors to repatriate both human bodies and cremated ashes. It is a service that we fully understand and one that we treat with diligence, sensitivity and urgency to avoid any upsetting delays.

Helping make this difficult time as stress free as possible

If death has occurred outside the EU we are still able to arrange the customs clearance of human remains at either Manchester or London Heathrow airports. Please be assured that at all times we endeavour to treat families and their loved one with the utmost dignity and respect.

A Few Words From Our Customers

“I have been working with Anthony, Paul and Pauline at Aerona CCA since 2006 and have found them to be courteous and professional at all times.

I think both our companies have learnt from each other over the years, and it has been a very rewarding experience. Well done Aerona!"

A Little More About Us

We are a privately owned and based in Greater Manchester, England and we have many years experience working with large and small importers and exporters ranging from major blue chip international organizations, to private individuals who need expert help in sending consignments abroad or bringing them into this country.

All business is handled personally by our experienced managers and staff, who over the years have established a unique network of contacts including direct access links to all UK ports and airport terminals.

Our worldwide customs clearance services incorporate forwarding, logistics, Air and Sea freight to and from virtually all the major nations, including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, plus countries throughout the Middle East and Africa.

With an international network of agents in 84 countries, we are able to offer a global solution and total reassurance to all our customers that their shipments will arrive on time.

Every customer’s needs are different, therefore, in addition to our structured services; we provide a flexible, personalized partnership that can be tailored to meet any need.


It is crucial that every company establishes a policy of social, financial and environmental responsibility.
At Aerona Customs Clearing Agents Ltd it is a commitment we take very seriously.


As a company we believe that everyone should be respected. This includes our staff, our customers, all our business associates around the world, plus the wider community within which we live and work.


We also believe that we should be a financially responsible organisation. That means, whilst operating in a businesslike way, we should always conduct ourselves in a fair, honest and trustworthy manner. As a company we are also committed to supporting a number of charities and worthwhile causes.


Our corporate responsibility also applies to the way we view and treat our environment and we do our utmost to minimise waste and pollution and try to be at all times ecologically aware. Whenever possible we also encourage our fellow business colleagues to adopt a similar environmental agenda.

Case Studies

Mr. S found himself in a difficult situation following the passing of his wife after a brief illness. Still grappling with the emotional weight of his loss, he reached out to us at Aerona Customs Clearing Agents. His wife, hailing from St. Petersburg, Russia, had expressed her desire to have her ashes returned to her homeland.

Navigating the complexities of shipping to Russia and handling customs procedures, especially for human remains, is no simple feat, but it’s a challenge we’re well-equipped to tackle.

We promptly provided Mr. S with the necessary guidance and instructions, including details for contacting the Russian embassy and preparing all relevant documentation translated into Russian. Despite facing setbacks such as appointment cancellations by the embassy, Mr. S persisted. Tragically, his efforts coincided with the onset of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, leading to an immediate halt in flights to Russia.

With our unwavering support, Mr. S managed to overcome these obstacles. We assisted him in navigating customs procedures, ensuring the smooth transit and delivery of his wife’s remains to her family in St. Petersburg.

In times of grief and adversity, we at Aerona Customs Clearing Agents stand committed to providing compassionate assistance and practical solutions to our clients.

Ms. G, residing in France, found herself facing the challenge of transporting her late mother’s ashes from Austria to the UK, where her sister lived. Their mother, a long-time resident of Austria, had passed away in a nursing home there. Ms. G wished to honour her
mother’s wishes by scattering her ashes at her favourite childhood spot in the UK.

With our assistance, we liaised with the funeral director and cremation company, ensuring they were aware of the necessary documentation. Our local agent arranged for the collection and shipment of the ashes to our facility. Upon arrival in the UK, we handled the customs clearance process and promptly delivered the ashes to Ms. G’s sister in Devon.

Testimonial from Gillian in France:

“Hello Anthony,
I wanted to express my gratitude for your invaluable assistance in safely delivering my mother’s ashes to my sister in the UK. The process was fraught with paperwork and challenges, but your guidance and support made all the difference. Thank you to Aerona and especially to you for helping us navigate through this difficult time.
Warm regards,
Gillian – France”

Mr. M reached out to us regarding his recently deceased neighbour, Mr. Xian Wu. Mr. Wu, who had no relatives in the UK, had entrusted Mr. M with the task of ensuring his remains were sent back to a relative in China in the event of his passing. In fulfilling this solemn duty, Mr. M contacted us to navigate the process.

He explained the circumstances surrounding Mr. Wu’s passing, including the funeral arrangements coordinated by the council, and sought assistance in fulfilling his obligation to his late neighbour.

Drawing on our network of associates in China, we sought clarity on the rules and regulations governing the transportation of human remains. With their guidance, we provided Mr. M with a comprehensive list of required documents and their necessary formats. Upon completion of the translations, we arranged for the collection of Mr. Wu’s ashes and facilitated their journey to Qingdao, where he would find his final resting place among family.

A funeral director based in the Midlands, Owen, reached out to us late on a Friday afternoon with an urgent request. He needed assistance with the import clearance of a deceased individual who had passed away while on holiday in Turkey.

Despite Owen’s efforts to find a solution, he had encountered reluctance from other agents who were unwilling to process the entry until the following Monday. Understanding the gravity of the situation and the distress it caused the family, leaving their loved one in a freight warehouse over the weekend was simply not an option.

Recognizing the urgency, we made the decision to open our office on Saturday to facilitate the import clearance process. Owen, the funeral director, described our intervention as nothing short of lifesaving.


“Good morning, Anthony,
I wanted to extend my heartfelt gratitude for your exceptional assistance and service in handling a recent repatriation from Turkey over the weekend. We had encountered significant difficulty securing this service from other providers, but you handled it swiftly and professionally, despite encountering a few complications and an extended timeframe.
I will not hesitate to recommend your services to all our colleagues and associates.
Warm regards,
Owen Phelps”

A solicitors’ firm based in London reached out to us to coordinate the transportation of the ashes of Ms. R, who hailed from Austria but had resided in the UK for over 50 years. Understanding the importance of this task, we provided our assistance to T.S., the solicitors’ firm, every step of the way.

We facilitated the booking of the flight, ensuring all necessary documentation was in order, and coordinated the collection of the ashes. Through our local agent, we arranged for the freight of the ashes to Austria. Our agent also handled the customs clearance process, ensuring a smooth transition, and delivered the ashes to the deceased’s nephew, fulfilling our promise to T.S. and ensuring Ms. R's final wishes were honoured.

Contact our specialist team right away for expert advice and professional support.

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Important requirements when transporting human remains.

We are a recognised associated member of FIAT-IFAT (Federation Internationale des Associations de Thanatologues (FIAT) – International Federation of Thanatologist Association (IFTA). The only internationally recognised funeral federation with members in over 80 countries to ensure your loved one are in good hands. 

We have handled and assisted hundreds of customers to repatriate their loved ones to and from the UK and internationally. 

Below are just some of cases studies and testimonials of some of our work.

As a repatriation freight agent, we are experienced, professional, and passionate about what we do. We listen to you, our customers; in your hour of need, guide and help you to make sure your loved one is returned to you with care and consideration. 

At Aerona, we have extensive experience in arranging the repatriation of your loved one from anywhere in the world and thanks to our experience, reliability, plus dependable associates of funeral directors both locally and internationally. 

When your loved One Dies Abroad

If your loved once dies abroad, you must register the death with the local authorities in the country where the person died. This must be done within 5 days, 9 or 8 days in Scotland – this includes weekends and bank holidays. 

Bringing the body home 

To bring the body home you must:
Get a certified English translation of the death certificate.
Get permission to remove the body, issued by a coroner (or equivalent) in country where the person died
Tell a coroner in England if the death was violent or unnatural 

Contact a register office – Once the body is home.

Once the body is home, take the death certificate to the in the area where the funeral is taking place.

As the death has already been registered abroad, the registrar will give you a ‘certificate of no liability to register’. Give this to the funeral director so the funeral can go ahead.

If you’re arranging the funeral yourself, give the certificate back to the registrar after the funeral’s taken place. You must do this within 96 hours of the funeral. 

Case Studies and Testimonials 

Case Study 1 – Overcoming a problem in Russia. 
The wife of Mr S sadly passed away after a short illness. He contacted us at Aerona Customs Clearing Agents, whilst still emotionally challenged about the loss of his beloved wife. As his wife was from Russia (St. Petersburg) he wanted us to send her ashes to Russia on his behalf. 

Shipping to Russia and arranging customs is generally not an easy task, sending human remains is daunting and should only be undertaken by the most experienced agents. 

We instructed and directed Mr S to the Russian embassy where he had to make an appointment and take with him all the relevant documentations of his beloved wife translated into Russian. 

Sadly, after being granted an appointment, which was cancelled on two occasions by the embassy, Mr S was once again recalled. Unfortunately it was during this time, that Russia invaded the Ukraine. Consequently all flights to Russia were stopped immediately. 

However, with our help and assistance, Mr S managed to get his wife’s remains into Russia, customs cleared and duly delivered. 

Case Study 2 – Bringing mother back to the UK. 
Ms. G lives in France and her sister lives in the UK. Their mother who had lived in Austria for many years passed away in a home for the elderly. Ms. G did not know how to bring the ashes from Austria to the UK for it to be scattered at their mother’s favourite place when she was growing up in the UK. 

As part of our support, we contacted the local funeral director and cremation and informed them of the relevant paperwork required. We also asked our local agent to arrange the collection and freighting of the ashes to us. 

Once the ashes arrived in the UK, we completed the customs clearance and delivered them to Ms G’s sister in Devon. 

Hello Anthony, Just to say mum is finally safe with my sister. There is a ream of paperwork attached including the elusive airway bill!
Anyway, just to say reviews done and a very big thank you to Aerona and especially you for guiding us through this nightmare. 
Gillian – France 

Case Study 3 – Shipping human remains to China. 
Mr M contacted us about his neighbour, Mr Xian Wu, who died recently after a short illness. The deceased neighbour had no relatives in the UK, but he had said to Mr M that if anything was to happen to him, he would like his remains returned back to a relative in China.   

Mr M spoke to us and explained the problem. The council arranged the funeral. Although Mr M was still having trouble trying to complete his part of the agreement he made with Mr Wu. 

We contacted our associates in China to confirm the rules and regulations regarding the repatriation of the deceased ashes. We also noted our Chinese associate’s advice on what documentations were required and in what format.  We informed Mr M, he got the translation completed and we arranged the collection of the ashes, which we sent to Qingdao for Mr Wu’s final resting place. 

Case Study 4 – Solving a problem over weekend. 
A UK based funeral director in the Midlands contacted us late on Friday afternoon to enquire about import clearance of a deceased person who died whilst on two weeks holiday in Turkey. 

The funeral director, Owen, had made several calls to different agents and no one would agree to complete an entry over the weekend. They all said that it would have to wait until the following Monday. We fully understood the grief the family were going through, and we agreed that to leave their loved one in a freight warehouse over the weekend was completely unacceptable. 

We came to the office on Saturday to arrange the import clearance and Mr Owen, the funeral director, described our endeavors as exceptional. 

Good morning Anthony, I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude for your great assistance and exemplary service with a recent repatriation from Turkey over the weekend. It was a service we struggled to obtain from other providers but one that you dealt with swiftly and professionally, even with a somewhat extended time frame and a few complications. I shall be sure to recommend you to all our colleagues and associates.
– Owen Phelps 

Case Study 5 – Repatriating remains to Austria. 
A London based firm of solicitors contacted us to arrange the transportation of the ashes of Ms R who was from Austria but had lived in the UK for over 50 years. 
We assisted T.S. – the firm of Solicitors in question – to arrange the booking of the flight, notify them of the correct documentations, collect the ashes and through our local agent in Austria, we promptly cleared the ashes through customs and delivered them to the deceased nephew as promised. 

What to do if a British person dies abroad
Information for British nationals in the event of a death abroad, including country-specific information on legal processes.

Bringing ashes Home
When leaving a country with human ashes you will normally need to show:
The death certificate.
The certificate of cremation

Each country has its own rules about departing with human ashes and there may be additional requirements.
Read to find out what you need to do.
You’ll need to fill in a standard customs form when you arrive home.

Contact your airline to find out whether you can carry the ashes as hand luggage or as checked-in luggage.They may ask you to put the ashes in a non-metallic container so that they can be x-rayed.

You should not have the person cremated abroad if you want a coroner at home to conduct an inquest into their death. 

Application to register an overseas death 

Death abroad through murder or manslaughter

Bereavement information in India

What to do after a British person dies in Thailand

Death abroad: UK organisations that can help 

What to do after a British person dies in Spain 

What to do after a British person dies in France

What to do after a British person dies in Malaysia 

What to do after a British person dies in Trinidad and Tobago 

What to do after a British person dies in Barbados 

Our extensive experience also means that we can arrange the necessary customs clearance whilst overseeing all the complex procedures and it is a service we provide 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 52-weeks a year.

If death has occurred outside the EU we are still able to arrange the customs clearance of human remains at either Manchester or London Heathrow airports.

Please be assured that at all times we endeavour to treat families and their loved one with the utmost dignity and respect.