I really wish that no one ever needs to use the information given in this particular post. Despite my initial hesitation, I thought I might as well write about it, because no other blog seems to have covered this subject. Also, lack of information in times of crisis is more dangerous than the crisis itself. Thanks to Ravi from Riyadh, who requested me to write about this subject. It took me a lot of time and effort to gather the information given here, but at the end of the day, I hope it is of help to some of my fellow expatriates in Saudi Arabia.
Expatriates working in Saudi Arabia should know that in case of death of a non-Muslim, the body cannot be disposed off in the kingdom and has to be sent back to the home country. In case of Muslims, there is a choice whether to bury the body in the kingdom or in the home country. The procedure for both are given below:
The following procedure must be followed for both Muslims as well as non-Muslims, in case of death of an expatriate in Saudi Arabia. Whether the demise is natural or otherwise, the first thing to be done is intimation to the Police, to the nearest kin and to the Embassy of the deceased person's home country. The next of the kin or legal heirs in the home country must now do the following:
First, a fax must be addressed to either the sponsor or any close friend of the deceased stating that they have no objection to the body being buried (note: this is applicable only for Muslims) or that the body has to be transported back to the home country. This fax must authorize the sponsor or the friend of the deceased to take charge of the body and complete the remaining formalities in the kingdom. I would like to mention here, that as per Saudi Labor Law, the sponsor is supposed to bear all expenses for transportation of the body to the home country or for burial in the kingdom, so please be aware of this.
For transporting the body to the home country, the legal heirs of the deceased must submit an affidavit to the nearest office of the Airlines in the nearest international / domestic airport saying that they would collect the mortal remains of the deceased without any delay, as soon as the same arrives in the cargo terminal. A copy of this affidavit must be faxed to the sponsor, cargo agent and to the Embassy of the deceased. Note that without this important fax, the cargo agency will not accept to transport the body.
The rest of the formalities have to be done by the sponsor or the person authorized by the legal heirs of the deceased, (for the sake of clarity, let's call this person as "Authorized Person" in this post) and are as follows:
The hospital will issue a Death Intimation Report based on which the police would issue a Police Report. The personal belongings of the deceased will be listed and handed over to the Authorized Person, in front of a witness.
The Authorized Person must now contact the embassy of the deceased with all required documents and obtain a No Objection Certificate for either burying locally or for transporting the body to the home country. In case of burial, the mortuary, after receipt of the NOC, will issue a Burial Permission Certificate to the local cemetry. In case of transportation to the home country, Police clearance has to be first obtained for embalming the body. This clearance, along with the NOC must be submitted to the mortuary along with the required fees (SR2093 for embalming and around SR800 for the coffin).The hospital authorities would guide the Authorized Person on this.
Next, the Authorized Person must submit the iqama of the deceased to the Passport Department cancelling the same and for stamping exit visa in the passport of the deceased. All these documents must be handed over to the cargo agent, in case of transportation of the body to the home country.
To summarize, the following documents are required:
1. Copies of Iqama and passport of the deceased.
2. Medical report from the hospital with English translation
3. Copy of Power of Attorney from the legal heir with Arabic translation (signed and attested by Notary Public)
4. Police Report copy (only for unnatural deaths)
5. A letter from the sponsor regarding dues of the deceased.