Key messages

  • The department issues repatriation certificates to certify that there is no objection to the removal of remains from Victoria.
  • Repatriation certificates are usually required by foreign embassies as part of their own procedures to approve the repatriation of remains.

Repatriation certificates

The department issues repatriation certificates to certify that there is no objection to the removal of the remains in question from the state of Victoria and that there is no indication that the direct cause of death was due to an infectious disease.

Issuing repatriation certificates is not a statutory requirement under Victorian law, but they are usually required by foreign embassies as part of their own procedures to approve the repatriation of remains.

To receive a repatriation certificate, a member of the public or a funeral director must email the following documents to cemeteries@dhhs.vic.gov.au:

  • A letter addressed to the manager of Cemetery Sector Governance Support requesting a repatriation letter be issued.
  • The death certificate.
  • A medical certificate stating that the direct cause of death was not an infectious disease or an Order for Release of Body issued by the Coroners Court of Victoria which states that there is no indication of infectious diseases.

Documentation should be provided to the department at least 48 hours in advance if possible. If all documentation requirements are met, a repatriation certificate will be emailed to the requester. 

Repatriation of remains into Australia

All enquires related to the repatriation of deceased persons into Australia, regardless of nationality (including Australian), should be directed to the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Reportable deaths

Under the Coroners Act 2008, there is an obligation for any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that a reportable or reviewable death has not been reported to report it without delay to a coroner or the officer in charge of a police station.

Reportable and reviewable deaths are defined under ss. 4-5 of the Coroners Act.

Reportable deaths include:

  • those that are unexpected, unnatural or violent or arise from accident or injury
  • those that happen unexpectedly during or following a medical procedure
  • those that happen when the person who died was in 'custody or care'
  • when a doctor is not able to sign a death certificate
  • when the identity of the person is not known
  • a death that occurs at a place outside Victoria if the cause of death is not certified, or likely to be certified, by someone authorised to certify the death under the law in force in that place.

All enquiries about reportable and reviewable deaths should be directed to the Coroners Court of Victoria.

Radiopharmaceuticals in bodily remains

Bodily remains containing therapeutic amounts of radiopharmaceuticals are rarely encountered because treatment with radiopharmaceuticals is usually only given to patients who are not expected to die shortly after treatment. However, cemetery and crematorium workers, funeral directors, embalmers and coroners may occasionally be required to handle the remains of deceased persons who have recently been treated with a therapeutic radiopharmaceutical.

For information about radiation risks, recommended work practice and current radiation legislation in Victoria, contact Radiation Safety.

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