Netherlands Worldwide

Death of a Dutch national in Thailand

If your spouse, partner or family member dies in Thailand, the Thai authorities will want to know who they can release the body to. Depending on the situation, they may ask the Dutch embassy to notify the next of kin. Read on to find out what to do in such an event.

Thai authorities inform the embassy

If a Dutch national dies in a Thai hospital, the Thai authorities report the death to the Dutch embassy – even if the death was the result of a crime or accident. The Thai authorities request a letter of authorisation from the embassy, stating who they may release the body to.

If a Dutch national dies at home and the funeral is held in Thailand, the embassy may not always be informed. The funeral is then held without the embassy’s authorisation.

Embassy requests official confirmation

The embassy requests a copy of the deceased person’s passport and official confirmation of death from the Thai authorities. This does not have to be a death certificate – depending on the cause of death, the embassy could also receive a police report or hospital report.

Embassy or ministry notifies next of kin

The embassy identifies the next of kin and finds out whether they have been notified of the death. This may be when the embassy first reaches out to you. If you are in the Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs rather than the embassy will contact you.

Release of body to next of kin

The embassy must determine who the Thai authorities can release the body to. That is why they need to identify the next of kin.

If the deceased person was married to someone who has Thai nationality, that person is considered the first next of kin. The deceased person’s spouse must show their marriage certificate and proof of identity. 

If you are the next of kin and it is up to you to decide what is to be done with the deceased person’s body, you will receive a letter of authorisation from the embassy at no charge. You can use this letter to request release of the body from the Thai authorities. You can then arrange a funeral in Thailand or have the body brought back to the Netherlands (repatriation).

Registering a death in Thailand

If you have received a letter of authorisation from the embassy for the release of the body, you can use it to register the death with the local district office (amphoe). You will then receive a Thai death certificate. Without the letter of authorisation it is usually not possible to register a death or request an official copy of the death certificate.

Help from insurer

If the deceased person had travel insurance, funeral insurance or supplementary health insurance, the insurer will help you from here, taking care of many of the details so you don’t have to. Aside from the embassy helping you with any documents you may need, the embassy and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs will then no longer be involved.

Waiver if you cannot or do not want make funeral arrangements

Under certain circumstances you may not want to or be able to make funeral arrangements. You may choose to have someone else do it instead. In that case you must sign a waiver releasing the body to someone else, thereby authorising them to make the arrangements. If that is not possible the Thai authorities will arrange a funeral. Your wishes or those of the deceased person will then not be taken into account.

Bringing the deceased person’s body back to the Netherlands (repatriation)

If you want to bring the deceased person’s body back to the Netherlands for a funeral, an international funeral director can assist you. AsiaOne is one of the main international funeral directors in Thailand. They usually work with the Dutch funeral director Van der Heden I.R.U. bv.

AsiaOne International Repatriation & Funeral Services

No. 7, Chan Road Soi 46

Watprayakrai, Bangkolaem, Bangkok, 10120 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2675-0501, +66 (0) 2675-0502
Fax: +66 (0) 2675-2227
Website: www.asiaone-thf.com
Email: info@asiaone-thf.com

The embassy provides the necessary letters to the funeral director at no charge. The funeral director can then request the death certificate and have it translated and legalised. The funeral director can also request the deceased person’s passport and personal belongings from the Thai authorities. The embassy arranges a temporary travel document (laissez-passer) allowing the body to be transported to the Netherlands.

The following documents are needed for the repatriation of a body:

  • A laissez-passer for the body. This is issued by the embassy for a fee. The flight details are provided on the laissez-passer.
  • A certified true copy of the deceased person’s passport. This is issued by the embassy for a fee. Once the certified true copy has been made the embassy cancels the original passport.
  • An original, legalised English translation of the death certificate.

In some situations there may not be enough time to have the death certificate legalised by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If that is the case the Dutch embassy can provide a certified true copy of the death certificate and the translation. This copy of the death certificate cannot be used in the Netherlands for arranging other practical matters. The funeral director will send you the translated and legalised death certificate at a later date.

Bringing ashes to the Netherlands

If the deceased person’s body has been cremated in Thailand you can bring or have someone else bring the ashes to the Netherlands in an urn. The following documents are needed for this:

  • A certificate of cremation from the temple.
  • A laissez-passer for the ashes. This is issued by the embassy for a fee. The flight details are provided on the laissez-passer.
  • A certified true copy of the passport. This is issued by the embassy for a fee. Once the certified true copy has been made the embassy cancels the original passport.
  • An original, legalised English translation of the death certificate.
Attention: Whether you may bring the ashes onto a plane is up to the airline. Check with the airline to find out what your options are.

Registering a death in the Netherlands

You may have to register the death in the Netherlands with various organisations, such as the municipality where the deceased person was registered. The relevant organisation will also have to be informed if the deceased person received Dutch state pension (AOW) or still paid tax in the Netherlands. To register a death you must show a legalised English translation of the death certificate. It is often difficult for an individual to request a death certificate in Thailand.

Requesting a death certificate from the Netherlands

You can request a death certificate from the Netherlands for €131 through the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague.

If the death has already been reported to the Dutch embassy, you can request a death certificate through the Consular Affairs Division of the Consular Affairs and Visa Policy Department (DCV/CA):

dcv-ca@minbuza.nl 
Tel: +31 (0)70 348 4770.

In all other cases you can request a death certificate through the Consular Service Centre:

info.consular@minbuza.nl
Tel: +31 (0) 70 348 4333.

It usually takes at least 2 to 3 months from the time the payment is made before the document is ready. Depending on the situation it may also take longer.

Having a death certificate translated and legalised yourself

If you would like to have the Thai death certificate translated into English yourself, it is best to have this done by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ local translation agency in Bangkok. It is unknown what the translation requirements are of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ offices in Songkhla, Chiang Mai and Ubon Ratchathani.

Legalisation of a death certificate by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs must legalise the original death certificate together with the translation in order for it to be accepted in the Netherlands. If you request the legalisation but are not a family member with the same surname, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs will request a letter of authorisation from the embassy stating that you are authorised to request the legalisation. The letter of authorisation is provided at no charge.

Having a death certificate translated and legalised by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes 2 working days. Express same-day service is also available; you can drop off your document in the morning and collect it in the afternoon.

Find out more about having foreign documents legalised

Legalisation by the Dutch embassy

Once the death certificate has been legalised by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch embassy must also legalise it. Make an appointment for this online. You must pay the legalisation fees for both the original death certificate and the translation. Documents dropped off in the morning can be collected in the afternoon on the same day.

Addresses of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Bangkok (Central Thailand), 2 locations:

Legalization Division, Department of Consular Affairs
123 Chaeng Wattana Road, 3rd Floor
Tung Song Hong, Laksi, Bangkok 10210
Tel: +66 (0) 2575-1057/1058/1059/1060
Fax: +66 (0) 2575-1054

Legalization Office at MRT Khlong Toei Station
Opening hours: 8.30–15.30 (Express service: 8.30-9.30)

Chiang Mai (North Thailand)

Government Complex Chiang Mai Province
Legalization Division, Department of Consular Affairs
Chotana Road Changpueak
Mueang Chiang Mai Province 50000
Tel: +66 (0) 53-112-748/749/750
Fax: +66 (0) 53-112-764
Opening hours: 8.30-14.30

Ubon Ratchathani (Northeast Thailand)

Ubon Ratchathani City Hall
Legalization Division, 1st Floor (located at the back of East Building)
Chaengsanit Road Chae Ramae
Mueang Ubon Ratchathani Province 34000
Tel: +66 (0) 45-344-5812
Fax: +66 (0) 45-344-646

Songkhla (South Thailand)

Government Complex Songkhla Province
Legalization Division, Department of Consular Affairs
Ratchadamnoen Road
Mueang Songkhla Province
Tel: +66 (0) 74-326-508/509/510
Fax: +66 (0) 74-326-511

Claiming an inheritance

If you are a beneficiary and would like to claim your part of an inheritance, keep in mind that it is often difficult to gain access to a deceased person’s bank account. Thai banks are very strict and, in most cases, a Thai court must give authorisation before you can access someone else’s bank account. The court investigates kinship ties and determines who is officially entitled to the deceased person’s bank assets.

Attention: The Dutch embassy never gets involved in inheritance claims. For legal advice on such matters it is best to consult a Thai lawyer.

See the list of Dutch- and English-speaking lawyers in Thailand

Contact

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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