This is an overview of what happens if you unfortunately experience a death in Abu Dhabi of a spouse or loved one as an expat.
It is by no means comprehensive.
Obviously it is recommended that you follow the guidance and instructions of the local law enforcement, your Embassy and any legal institution involved in the process and get support from friends and family as soon as possible.
A death must be registered in the country where the person died.
The Embassy of the deceased in Abu Dhabi is likely to handle the registration of the death and should be informed as early as possible.
You will need to register the death with the UAE authorities and obtain an UAE death certificate before you can apply for a consular death registration should you require one. The deceased’s original passport would be required.
In the event of a death in Abu Dhabi there are a number of procedures that need to be followed (that your Embassy and the local law enforcement will advise you of).
If the death in Abu Dhabi occurs at a Hospital the Hospital Administration will provide a death report and the body will be transferred to the local mortuary.
If the death in Abu Dhabi does not occur at a Hospital, call the Police (Tel: 999). An initial death report will be provided by police and the body will be transferred to the local mortuary.
The mortuary determines the cause and issues a report called a Death Certificate Declaration.
The cause of death should be stated and the document will need to be stamped by the police.
If the event occurred under suspicious circumstances or as the result of an accident, then the process to obtain a Death Certificate Declaration may take longer.
If the deceased was employed in Abu Dhabi, employers usually deal with some of the local paperwork on behalf of the next-of-kin, so ensure that they are notified of the death at the earliest opportunity.
If the deceased has insurance, notify the insurance company as soon as possible. Note that they may have special documentation requirements for Expats dying abroad.
Take the following to the local Police Station (this should usually be done within 24 hours):
The police then issues a No Objection letter.
If the deceased is to be repatriated to their country of origin, No Objection Letters are also required for the airport, the mortuary and for the hospital granting permission to release the body.
NOTE: The local death certificate is issued in Arabic but there is the option to have an English version prepared as well for repatriation and for insurance purposes, which must be done by a legal translator and will incur additional fees.
On reporting the death to the Embassy, the following step are then taken:
Once the official death certificate has been issued, and the death has been registered with the appropriate consulate (if required), the death must be registered with the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must then attest the death certificate and the translation
The Department of Naturalisation and Residency cancels the visa.
Each part of the process incurs a fee.
Once the death has been registered with the appropriate authorities, it is then possible to organise either funeral arrangements within Abu Dhabi or repatriation.
Depending on the religion and the nationality of the deceased, the procedures for burial or cremation differs.
For all burials and cremations however, the following documents are required:
For a Muslim burial to take place the next-of-kin or guarantor should take their passport to the Police. As Muslim burials must take place quickly, it may be possible for the death registration procedures to be carried out after the burial. The deceased's passport is kept by the Police until all the documentation has been completed.
Before repatriation, it is an international requirement that the deceased be embalmed.
Transportation to the airport also needs to be arranged and paid for.
For repatriation all the relevant documents need to be translated into the appropriate language and multiple photocopies and translations will be required for each document.