The death of a loved one is a difficult experience, made more complicated by the many arrangements that must be made.
In the case of tourists and immigrants who die in Greece, their next of kin must make the necessary preparations to send the body home. Here are the requirements and the process for transporting the deceased abroad.
- Death certificate
- Certificate of embalming issued by a local morgue, which states that the body has been embalmed for transportation overseas
- The certificate of embalming is submitted to the local health board
- The local prefecture office must be notified about the plans to transport the body overseas. The prefecture officials will then call a doctor who seals the casket. The sealing is undertaken in the presence of three witnesses - officials from the national narcotics, currency fraud and trafficking task forces (to ensure that there is indeed a corpse and only a corpse in the casket)
- The death certificate, the embalming certificate and a certificate issued by the local customs authorities in accordance with the regulations for transporting a corpse overseas must be translated into the official language of the destination country. The translations can be made by embassy officials or at the foreign ministry
- All the translated documents are then taken to the airline company or the shipping company (depending on how the corpse will be transported). The casket is weighed by the company to determine the cost of transport
- The consul of the destination country must also be notified. Consul officials should issue a shipping permit. The required documents include a statement as to the identity of the deceased, burial permit and a permit to transport the remains issued by local authorities, a certified copy of the death certificate, a certificate issued by local medical authorities that the death was not the result of a contagious disease and that the body has been prepared and placed in a casket as required by the medical authorities, and that no hazard to health is created by shipping the remains
Note: The body must be placed in a special wooden, metal-lined, air-tight casket, which in turn is placed in a standard wooden shipping box.
- The cost to transport a body overseas ranges between 1,500 euros and as much as 4,000 euros (depending on the destination and the type of casket the next of kin selects)
- The procedure to transport a body overseas is undertaken by funeral parlours. But not all funeral parlours perform this service. There are about two dozen in Athens and Thessaloniki and several on some of the larger islands like Crete and Corfu. To find the nearest funeral parlour, check your local advertising directory (yellow pages)