Johannesburg, South Africa to London, UK

In 2021, Homeland International were contacted by a family who were interested in support in South Africa; looking for assistance with an exhumation in Johannesburg followed by a repatriation of remains back to the UK. Homeland International has extensive worldwide experience in this specific support and were able to explain the process and provide detailed quotes to the family, enabling them to confidently make an informed decision as to how they wished to proceed.

Following our initial consultation, the family instructed Homeland International to proceed, setting the well-oiled wheels in motion; all the necessary documents were curated and the family were supported throughout.

Paperwork processes overseas can be complicated, however with the support of Homeland International’s experienced team, this paperwork was completed and returned quickly.

As with every repatriation case, unexpected challenges can present themselves at any time meaning adaptable processes and flexibility is required in every single repatriation case, to ensure a smooth process is followed even when something unexpected occurs. The challenge on this particular occasion was that it was elections week in South Africa, meaning there was a likelihood of a sudden change of office mid-way through the process. It also meant that government and cemetery administrative staff were either not working, or completing election work instead of their usual roles. This made the situation slightly unpredictable and also meant there were some delays. Our team helped alleviate these delays by preparing the next steps early, so that once the green light for exhumation was secured, the team could proceed right away, wasting no further time.

The paperwork was checked over by the local government in Johannesburg and our risk assessments and exhumation plan was agreed with the cemetery. Once the exhumation was complete, we cared for the remains at our facility in Johannesburg before preparing the remains for international repatriation back to the UK. Despite the death taking place some years ago, we are still required to obtain the usual repatriation paperwork.

Everything was then complete and ready for the flights back to London Heathrow. The family had appointed a funeral director in their home town in England and we provided them with all the information and paperwork they would need for the funeral to proceed. We tracked the flight until arrival in London and then cleared customs before collecting and safely transporting to the family’s Funeral director.

More often than not families face barriers whilst trying to find a company who can support with both the exhumation and then the repatriation of remains to a final resting place. Usually, they may have to use two different companies for each part of the process which can be difficult to manage and expensive to complete. Homeland International unlike many others, can support with any funeral related service and the repatriation of remains, anywhere worldwide.