There are three types of repatriation -
(1) Importation of human remains to Trinidad and Tobago – deceased nationals
If a Trinidad and Tobago national dies overseas and the family wishes to have the body shipped to Trinidad and Tobago for burial, the following procedures would apply:
- The family/Importer of Human Remains needs to contact a Funeral Home in the country where the death took place;
- Documents required for shipping Human Remains are as follows:
- A letter issued by the competent Authority from the place of death stating the authenticity of the documents produced for the transportation of the deceased person
- Death Certificate
- Letter of non-contagious diseases issued by the Health Department abroad
- Permit to dispose of or Transport Human Remains
- Embalming Certificate from the funeral home abroad
- A copy of the deceased person’s cancelled passport bio-data page (showing the deceased’s nationality)
- The Funeral Home submits the above original documents to the nearest Trinidad and Tobago Overseas Mission/Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authentication;
- The official stamp of the Trinidad and Tobago Mission/Ministry of Foreign Affairs is affixed to each document and initialled by the authorised officer of the Mission/ Ministry. A copy of the documents is sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Trinidad and Tobago) via fax to (1868) 624-8837 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Similar documents are forwarded to the local Funeral Home selected by the person/family/importer. The Consular Unit can be contacted at (1868) 623-6894.
- If the deceased national dies in a country of which English is not the first language, please note that all authenticated documents are required to be translated into English.
- The local Funeral Home submits the authenticated documents listed at 2 above to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago to be processed;
- The representative of the local funeral home will be provided with the necessary documentation to be presented at the Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Security and the Customs & Excise Division;
- Approval from the Ministries at 7 above, a letter is issued to the Customs and Excise Division requesting authorisation to import the body. A copy of the letter is given to the person/family/agency importing the body.
- The procedures at nos. 1-5 are to be followed by Funeral Homes based outside of Trinidad and Tobago
- The procedures at nos. 6-8 are to be followed by Funeral Homes located in Trinidad and Tobago
EXPORTING HUMAN REMAINS
When human remains are being exported, the Consular Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be required to authenticate the Death Certificate which may be submitted by the local Funeral Home or Exporter. The local Funeral Home is advised to contact its counterpart in the foreign country for further guidance.
(2) Repatriation of cremated ashes to Trinidad and Tobago - deceased nationals
Please note that to repatriate cremated remains (ashes) to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the procedure to be followed is similar to that for the importation of human remains.
The under-mentioned documents should be obtained when processing a request for the repatriation of cremated remains (ashes) to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago:
- Copy of Death Certificate
- Certificate of Cremation
- Funeral Director’s Statement of Death
- Letter from the Funeral Home confirming that the urn contains only the cremated remains (ashes) of the deceased
The documents must be taken to the nearest Trinidad and Tobago Overseas Mission or Trinidad and Tobago Honorary Consul to be certified. In the event that there are none present, the documents should be submitted to the nearest British Embassy or to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that country to be authenticated.
Ensure that the receiving agency certifies the above-mentioned documents. This means that the official stamp of the Mission is to be affixed on each document and initialled by the authorized officer. A covering letter listing the documents which were seen and certified should also be provided.
If the deceased national dies in a country of which English is not the first language, please note that all authenticated documents are required to be translated into English.
A copy of the documents should then be forwarded to the Consular Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via fax to (1868) 624-8837 or emailed to email@example.com to be processed.
The Ministry then informs the Ministry of Health and National Security as well as the Comptroller of Customs of the circumstances under which the cremated remains (ashes) are being returned to Trinidad and Tobago. Please note that all applications for permission to repatriate cremated remains MUST obtain the approval of the Comptroller of Customs before making travel arrangements to transport the ashes to Trinidad and Tobago.
Persons repatriating ashes must declare the urn containing the cremated remains (ashes) to the Customs Officials on arrival at the port of entry into Trinidad and Tobago.
(3) Importation of human remains to Trinidad and Tobago – deceased non- nationals
The immediate relative of the deceased must have ties to Trinidad and Tobago and is required to submit a letter addressed to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security. The information provided must include the name of the deceased, his/her nationality at time of death, relationship to the deceased and reason for requesting that the deceased be interred in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The letter must also state what ties the deceased had to Trinidad and Tobago.
Please note that approval to import human remains of a non-national MUST be granted prior to making travel arrangements to transport the deceased to Trinidad and Tobago.
Once approval has been granted, the steps as outlined at No. 1 - Importation of human remains to Trinidad and Tobago – deceased nationals – should be followed.
Where to get more information
For more information or assistance, please contact the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy, High Commission or Consulate nearest to you. Please follow the link below for a list of overseas missions. The Consular staff will be pleased to help in any way they can.
Trinidad and Tobago Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates