Death and Dying in Dubai

Information on how to proceed if you need to report the death of a family member in Dubai. Plus information on wills...

There are a number of practical and legal requirements even at this difficult time.

Consulates are a useful source of information and assistance for expatriates, although they do not usually provide any financial assistance. The costs associated with burial and repatriation can be quite high and in many cases only cash payments are accepted.

Reporting a Death

In the event of a death in Dubai there are a number of legal procedures that need to be followed which involves quite a lot of paperwork. It is advisable to seek advice from the relevant consulate as soon as possible.

If the death occurs at a hospital they will fill in a death report and the body will be transferred to the Rashid Mortuary Hospital. If the death does not occur at a hospital, call the Police.

  • Tel: 999

An initial death report is filled out and the body is transferred to the Rashid Hospital Mortuary. The mortuary determines the cause of death and issues a report called a Death Certificate Declaration. The cause of death should be stated and the document must be stamped by the police.

If the death has occurred under suspicious circumstances or as the result of an accident, then common practice is for the deceased be taken to the Police Mortuary.

If the deceased was employed in Dubai, 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.

Obtaining the Death Certificate

The next step is to take the death certificate declaration to the local Police Station (this should usually be done within 24 hours). The following documents are required:

  • Deceased's passport and visa page
  • Death report
  • Death certificate declaration
  • To contact the Dubai Police: Click here

The person declaring the death must also take their passport. A fee has to be paid. The police then issues a No Objection letter. If the deceased is to be repatriated to their home country, No Objection Letters are also required for the airport, the mortuary and for the hospital so that they release the body.

To obtain the official death certificate, take the documents issued by the Police to the Al Baraha Hospital - Preventive Medicine Department, along with the death notification and the deceased's passport - plus copies of each.

A 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. This must be done by a legal translator.

There are fees associated with each process.

The death of foreign nationals should also be reported to the deceased's embassy or consulate. They cancel the deceased's passport and also issue No Objection Letters for the local authorities, which show that there is no objection to burial, cremation or repatriation.

Registering the Death

Once the official death certificate has been issued, and the death has been registered with the appropriate consulate, the death must be registered with the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must then attest the death certificate and the translation, and the Department of Naturalisation and Residency cancels the visa. There is a fee associated with each procedure. For each of the procedures take all of the previously collected documents to each department.

Once the death has been registered with the appropriate authorities, it is possible to organise either funeral arrangements within Dubai or repatriation to the deceased's home country.

  • For information on dealing with death and bereavement from the Dubai government: Click here

Wills

UAE courts will accept wills from expatriates of any religion as long as they are resident in the UAE at the time of death.
Expatriate Muslims and non-Muslims who are on a visit visa cannot, however, make a will.

For a will to be valid it must be registered and legalised at the courts in the UAE. In addition, it must be legally approved and attested by the authorities in the home country.

As this is a complex area, those with property to dispose of after their death should seek professional advice to ensure that their wishes are carried out.