Death and Dying
Information on how to proceed in the event of the death of a family member in Taiwan. Also information on the repatriation of remains for a burial or cremation...
At this difficult time there are a number of procedures and formalities that must be observed, and these may be quite different from those in the home country. This page gives an overview of the procedures following a death in Taiwan.
Following the death of a person in a hospital or clinic, a death certificate is issued by the hospital or medical institution who confirms the death. In the event of a death within the home, the police should be contacted.
Once the death certificate has been issued, the death must then be registered at a local police station. Documents for both the deceased and the person registering the death are needed.
The following documents are required in addition to a completed Death Registration Form:
- Full name and the date of birth of the deceased (for example, as shown on an Alien Resident Card)
- The deceased's passport (and one photocopy)
- Passport of the person registering the death (and one photocopy)
- The death certificate
No charge is levied for registering a death. The police and medical authorities should be informed if the deceased was known to be suffering from an infectious condition, such as HIV or hepatitis.
Death of a foreign national
In the case of a death of a foreign national, contact the embassy or consulate so that the death can be registered in the deceased's home country.
The death of a foreigner should also be reported to the local service centre of the National Immigration Agency. This needs to be done within 15 days; the report can be made by a relative or friend of the deceased or by their nation's institution in the country.
- The National Immigration Agency has a list of Service Centre contact details
Both burial and cremation are possible in Taiwan. However, burial is very expensive as land in cemeteries is at a premium. Furthermore, it is difficult to organise without a local contact to help locate a site.
Funeral homes can arrange a burial or cremation. They organise all the necessary paperwork once the next of kin has given them permission to do so. Funeral homes are either private- or government-run and tend to involve a lot of bureaucracy; it is therefore advisable to contact the local embassy or consulate for assistance in dealing with a death.
Cremation is cheaper and easier to organise than burial. It is now the most popular form of funeral in Taiwan and usually takes between three and five days to organise. Following a cremation, ashes can either be interred locally, scattered at sea or sent overseas.
Repatriation of the Body
Advice on repatriating a body should be sought from the consulate or embassy of the home country concerned. The death should first be registered (see Registering a Death above).
Repatriation should be arranged with an undertaker who works with the funeral home or crematorium. The undertaker also prepares the required documents: quarantine, embalming and inspection certificates, as well as an export permit. Specialist repatriation companies are also available.
Regulations vary on how a deceased's remains may enter a country. Many countries require that a body is properly embalmed for both infection control and preservation. In Taiwan, a body is usually injected with a decomposition retardant fluid which is suitable for shipment by air. Full embalming is obligatory for repatriation to many countries, as is the use of a zinc-lined coffin or metal casket.
Euthanasia is not legal in Taiwan, although in some circumstances a life support machine can be turned off, ending a person's life, with the family's consent.