If things go wrong: to parents

iStock_20413855_XLARGERepatriation of remains

The issues presented when getting a body home depend upon a number of factors, including:

  • Rules of the host country (Does the country require an autopsy?)
  • Cause of death (For example, is murder suspected?)
  • Condition of the body (If there’s been a delay in retrieval, bringing an intact body home may not be feasible. Furthermore, in some countries there is a waiting list for cremation services.)
  • Intention of the study abroad program to assist
  • Intention of the home university to assist

The U.S. Department of State website offers information regarding the return of remains:


If there is no body, this will be a particular and complicated grief. Additionally, legal issues presented by the lack of a body will vary by country, in some cases delaying a death certificate by years.