What happens if a family member dies overseas?

Information in this article is provided by Smarttraveller.gov.au ยป

Under international law, the nearest Australian mission (embassy, consulate or high commission) should always be notified of the death of an Australian citizen.

If a tour company or a friend notifies us of the death of an Australian overseas, we will always confirm the information with the local authorities in that country. We will then contact the State or Federal police who will visit the next-of-kin (or other contact specified in the deceased’s passport application) to inform them of the death and provide our contact details to them. We can then provide the next-of-kin with further details about the death and advise the steps that need to be taken overseas.

It is important to understand that it is the responsibility of the funeral directors appointed overseas and in Australia to make repatriation and funeral arrangements on behalf of the next-of-kin and in accordance with their wishes.

While consular staff will make every effort to ensure that relatives do not first learn of a death via the media, this cannot always be prevented. If you hear of the death from a journalist, a tour operator or any other third party, you should contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 (anywhere in the world) or 1300 555 135 (local call cost within Australia). We will seek to confirm the death with local authorities and provide advice to immediate family on how to best manage media enquiries.

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