UAE: 5 steps to follow when a loved one dies in the country

From cancelling visas to getting death certificates, here is a guide to be followed in the case of an individual's death — be it citizens, expats or visitors

by

Laraib Anwer

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Published: Sat 23 Dec 2023, 3:44 PM

Last updated: Tue 9 Jan 2024, 4:02 PM

Losing a loved one can evoke a roller-coaster of emotions ranging from grief to exhaustion, with the added apprehension about settling formalities and legal matters.

The UAE has established mandatory steps that need to be followed in the case of an individual's death — be it citizens, expats or visitors. Authorities have also created a digitalised and streamlined route for people to avoid any hassle during such times.

From reporting a person's death to paying your final respects, here's a guide to what to do when a loved one passes away in the country.

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1. Reporting the death

First and foremost, those closest to the loved ones have to immediately report the death to authorities. There are two scenarios that may play out here:

Death outside hospital: In this case, one must immediately call the police on 999 to inform them about the death, after which the authorities will file an initial death report and move the body to the government morgue.

Death inside hospital: If a person dies inside the hospital, the authorities file an initial death report and move the deceased to a government morgue.

Officials at the morgue then issue a death certificate declaration. This document needs to be stamped by the police, after which they issue a no objection certificate (NOC). Loved ones of the deceased can get the official death certificate only after the NOC is produced.

In cases of releasing the body, embalming at the mortuary or taking the deceased back to his/her home country, separate NOCs might be needed.

2. Getting the death certificate

After the NOC has been issued by the police, one must apply for an official death certificate. The channels may differ depending on the emirate where the deceased resided. Those from Dubai can do this through the Dubai Health Authority. Abu Dhabi does this through its Department of Health portal. The Ministry of Health and Prevention is another option that offers online services to people residing in any emirate. Here is what the process looks like for each authority:

Ministry of Health and Prevention

  • Register on the website, at a public health centre or the hospital
  • Submit the original passport, visa and Emirates ID of the deceased; original family book is required to be submitted by UAE citizens
  • Provide an electronic death notification from the hospital according to the approved form
  • Acquire a statement from the hospital police office or from district police station if the death occurred at home
  • Submit a forensic medical report in the case of criminal suspicion

A fee of Dh60 is charged to get the certificate. It takes up to a day for the document to be issued.

Department of Health Abu Dhabi

  • Sign into the website to start the process
  • Original Emirates ID, Passport and Residency visa of the deceased are required; original family book is required to be submitted by citizens

A fee of Dh50 is charged.

Dubai Health Authority

If a death takes place in hospital premises, then the medical institution directly provides the death certificate. In the case of a death happening outside the hospital, the deceased's loved ones must call the DHA toll number to complete the process.

It is important to note that the certificate stamped by the DHA or the Department of Health Abu Dhabi is equivalent to the certificate provided by the Ministry of Health and Prevention.

3. Attesting the certificate

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will attest the death certificate. It is important to do this especially if the deceased will be sent to their home country.

Additionally in this case, the death certificate needs to be translated. NOC from the embassy or the consulate of the deceased is also required. These authorities are in charge of cancelling the passport and registering the person's death in their home country.

4. Cancelling the deceased's visa

The Department of Naturalisation and Residency is in charge of cancelling the residents' visa. This process may vary from each emirate.

5. Burial, cremation in UAE/home country

If an expat has died, close ones should contact the embassy or consulate of their home country and inform of their demise. The deceased may be cremated or buried in the UAE or their bodies may be sent to their home countries, on showing the required documents.

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