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Tourism: what to do when a parent or relative dies abroad?

You are travelling abroad. A family member or close relative (or anyone you know) dies, the first thing to do is to inform the French consular authorities of the country where the death occurred.

Local actions in the event of the death of a parent or relative:
If the relatives have not been directly informed of the death of a French national, the embassy or consulate will collect as much information as possible about the person and the circumstances of his death. They then contact the police or gendarmerie in France so that the family and relatives residing in France can be informed as soon as possible of the death and take the necessary decisions quickly.

If you live abroad, the French consular services of the country where you are located will be contacted to inform you of this death.
Death during a trip sold by a tourism professional:
If you learn of the death of a loved one through a travel agency, the media or any other means, we invite you to contact:
The Crisis Centre of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 59 59 11 10, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The official announcement of the death and the handing over of the body to the family require that the identity of the deceased be established with certainty. Depending on the circumstances of the death (e.g. following a terrorist attack or a collective accident), identification procedures may include
take time.

In certain circumstances, in order to protect you, the authorities may choose not to make a visual presentation of the body to families.

In addition, the scientific technical identification services may ask you to provide personal details relating to the deceased person. You may be asked to provide information on its physical characteristics or to lend objects that have belonged to it for sampling purposes.

The consular services and the Crisis Centre will not fail to inform you of the progress of the repatriation of the deceased to France. In particular, they will issue an authorization to transport bodies or ashes allowing mortal remains to legally leave the foreign country and return to France.

In most foreign countries, the death of a French national must be declared to the local civil registry under the same conditions as the death of a national of that country.

A local death certificate is then drawn up. The French consular services will then be able to transcribe the foreign death certificate into the French civil register. You may be given about ten copies of death certificates certified as true to the original. You can then obtain this document from the central civil status office in Nantes or from the diplomatic and consular post.

The establishment of the French death certificate is not mandatory, but strongly recommended, because it will allow you to carry out a certain number of procedures in France (successions, retirement pension or salaries, loans, etc.)

What can French consular services provide?

You specify, as an indication, the cost of burial, local cremation or repatriation to France of the deceased person.
To provide you with the contact details of local and French funeral companies operating abroad. They can assist you at local funeral homes if they do not speak French.

All costs related to the repatriation of the remains or ashes, as well as the cost of burial on site, are the responsibility of the family.

Help you make money transfers to the country where the death occurred.
Give the deceased’s identity documents to the issuing authorities when the deceased leaves personal belongings and/or luggage. They will return his valuables to you. However, the repatriation of any other effects will remain at your expense or that of the insurance company concerned and under its sole responsibility.