No Objection Certificate – Transport Ashes To India

by | Nov 25, 2022 | Indian Law, Indian Law Weekly Round-Up, NRI Legal Services, OCI, PAN, Power of Attorney

Requirements & Process

This section details the requirements for a No Objection Certificate – Transport Ashes to India. What are the requirements & process in relation to anyone wishing to fulfill the ceremony/rites of a deceased person whose cremated ashes need to be transported to India. 

What Is A No Objection Certificate 

You may have heard the term – NOC, this is the common abbreviation of No Objection Certificate.

It is a written document, a legal certificate with legal authority. It contains specific details for a specific purpose. 

As the name suggests, “no objection” on the issue of NOC, means that there is “no objection” to the covenants of the certificate. Ie, there is an agreement or approval to the written information presented within it.

Certainly, the NOC is a popular document in India.

Furthermore, an NOC is also used in certain other areas such as property matters in India. For example, you may require an NOC from legal heirs of a joint property as an additional document for a particular purpose.

However, in this segment we describe NOC in relation to taking ashes on a plane to India.

Transporting Cremated Remains – Ashes To India From The UK

Respectively, transporting mortal remains and transporting cremated ashes of deceased are two separate areas for the purpose of application for NOC. If you are applying for NOC, it is important that you select the right appointment for Consular Services, depending on ashes or remains transportation. Mortal remains would mean the physical body of the deceased and not ashes, respectively.

This segment details “transporting cremated ashes” which means once cremation of the deceased has been completed, you require to transport their ashes to India. This may be due to performing the last rites or for reasons of a similar nature.

It is a common practice for persons of Indian origin to perform practices in India as per the customs or last wishes of the deceased. If you’re transporting ashes on a plane there are certain documentary formalities that would be required.

Given these points, as advised by the High Commission of India, London, you will need a No Objection Certificate. The NOC will be obtained by application and subsequent in person appointment with the HCIL.

Who Issues The NO Objection Certificate

Namely, it is issued by an authority, agency, organization, institution or sometimes an individual(s). In some cases where required you may also have a NOC notarized.

In this instance, you will obtain an NOC to transport ashes from the UK to India via the Indian Consulate. (Consulate is an official branch of the embassy).

When an NOC is issued by the Indian Embassy it maintains an official stamp. Due to the document maintaining an official stamp notarization would not be required on the NOC for the purpose of transporting ashes to India from a foreign country, e.g. the United Kingdom to India.

Correspondingly, in other countries the process is similar for India – obtaining an NOC to transport ashes.

Is The No Objection Certificate Mandatory For Traveling

Although the term mandatory has not been clearly outlined on the application process with the Indian Consulate, yet it is detailed that to transport ashes to India you would require to obtain an NOC. The document is an official No Objection Certificate issued by authorities and therefore serves as verification for airport checks, customs and the like.

It is advisable to ensure you obtain an NOC prior to travel to avoid any potential delay to your journey.

1. Process Involved to obtain NOC

There are a few steps to the NOC application. Firstly, detailed below, a statement by HCI UK in relation to NOC for ashes;

  • “For transporting ashes, the next of kin/ relatives/ family members of the deceased wishing to transport human ashes to India for some religious/customary purpose, the High Commission of India in London or its Consulates in the UK issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC) in this regard.”

Subsequently, from the UK you will obtain the NOC through application to High Commission of India UK from one of their official branches – Indian Consulate. You will select Consular Services.

Once you’re clear on the HCI guidance, go ahead and book your appointment to avoid delays. You will receive confirmation of appointment immediately via email. (Whilst booking the appointment, you can state other family member names but the application will be processed only on the main applicants details).

Forms & Documents Required For No Objection Certificate

Secondly, there are two main application forms to download and complete. However, the Death Registration Form may or may not apply to you follow the outlined instructions.

Go through the full list of documentation required on HCI, you will find a list of supporting documents required for application.

Also ensure that you read the guidelines fully so that you do not miss any copies as well as originals of documents requested for your NOC appointment. The Two application forms for NOC, HCI UK are titled;

  • Form 1- Miscellaneous Application Form
  • Form 2- Death Registration Form (if the deceased was an Indian passport holder) duly filled in and signed by the applicant.
  • Two Photographs 2”x2” of the applicant (the applicant means the primary person applying to obtain NOC, ie, you).

(You will only require the Death Registration Form if the deceased was an Indian passport holder)

You must ensure that you obtain the following important documents for your appointment with HCI in advance. These are imperative to obtain your NOC;

  • Cremation Certificate (of the deceased) in original and photocopy.
  • Certificate from the Funeral Director/ Undertaker confirming that the urn contains ashes/mortal remains of the deceased person indicating name, age, date, time and cause of death of the deceased. Contents of the package must be mentioned in the Certificate from the Funeral Director/ Undertaker.

Miscellaneous Application Form

On the Miscellaneous Application Form, provide the details of the primary applicant. The main applicant should be present for the appointment in person. For example, if you are the next of kin of the deceased and you are applying to transport ashes yourself and on behalf of family members, you will provide your details (main applicant) and attend the appointment. (Whilst booking the appointment, you can state other family member names but the application will be processed only on the main applicants details).

Other/Additional Supporting Documents Not Specified

  • You should also take a photocopy of your Indian visa or OCI card if you are a Non Indian Passport Holder, along with your original passport. Where your Indian visa has expired (you may be making new arrangements to travel but require to begin NOC formalities), the Consular Services may accept a copy of the last Indian visa on your passport for record purposes. This does not mean you’re automatically issued a new visa. You would still have to obtain an Indian Visa or OCI for whenever you plan to travel with ashes to India. The copy of your most recent Indian visa at the appointment is for record purposes for NOC issuance only. Therefore, as well as the outlined documents required on HCI, you should also take a photocopy of your Visa page for non OCI, as well as your original passport to your appointment. Your Visa copy or OCI demonstrates your link to India for the purpose of NOC issuance. (This information has not been detailed on their site for some reason).
  • In like manner, if the deceased was not an OCI holder and had a British Passport, then you should also prepare a letter stating (a) the status of the deceased, ie; was a (Non Resident Indian of Indian Origin with a British passport), and (b) the purpose of travel to India by primary applicant. Also, as primary applicant, you should sign/print-name and date the letter (official letter format). This letter/document should be taken with you to your NOC appointment along with the rest of your documents, it may be needed.

2. Steps To Apply

NOC appointment: follow the online application process and obtain an appointment with the Consular Services in the UK.

  • Read the guidelines – Certificate For Transporting Human Ashes To India
  • Check overview, fee, documents sections
  • Book an appointment at your nearest branch – (you would need to book an appointment for Consular services near you. HCIL Holborn does not provide this service at the Holborn location, as it is a Consular Service).
  • Prepare your documents in advance.
  • Download the form(s) applicable to you & fill accordingly.
  • Obtain the required photographs.
  • Attend your appointment in person on time with all forms and documentation.

The location of your appointment would depend on the nearest location of Indian Consulate that you apply with. The NOC can be obtained from designated Consular Service centers such as the VFS office in West London to name a few.

Remember, once you have confirmed your appointment slot online, you would then prepare your documentation for your upcoming NOC appointment. To avoid delays and documentation panic, you should obtain Cremation certificate and Funeral Directors certificate as soon as possible as these are dependent on the subsequent individuals.

No Objection Certificate
No Objection Certificate

3. Fee & Processing Time

Thirdly, the fee for obtaining an NOC from the Indian Consulate, UK, including postage expense ranges between £24-£48 approximately. You pay the fee at the time of your application in person. Usually a debit or credit card or cash is accepted at your appointment.

The appointment may take up to anywhere between 2-5 hours and this depends on how busy the Consular Services are on the day. Despite your booked slot, you will require a token on arrival. You should be prepared in terms of time on the appointment day.

Once the appointment has been completed and application accepted, providing there are no issues with your application, you will receive the NOC and you original passport back within 5-7 days. However, in some instances it can take longer. If you have booked a visa appointment with Consular Services then you should ensure there is enough time between your NOC appointment and Visa appointment for your original passport to be returned by CS. Your original, valid passport will be required on either appointment.

(The applicant may be advised to submit some more documents, after scrutiny of the application and documents by the High Commission of India or its respective Consulates, on case to case basis).

4. What Does The No Objection Certificate State

In particular the No Objection Certificate will detail the following information;

  • Reference number of the death certificate of the deceased, date, and whom it was issued by.
  • Name of the deceased, date of birth, passport nationality, passport number, age, date of death and place of death.
  • Reference number of the cremation certificate, date, issuer, place of issue, and cremation confirmation in relation to ashes.
  • Certificate or sometimes called ‘letter’ from the Funeral Director/Undertaker, full address and confirmation of the contents of urn (what is inside the urn as well as ashes-name of deceased).
  • Statement from the High Commission, “High Commission has no objection” if the said Container (containing Ashes only) is sent to India by the relatives of the deceased.
  • Signature of High Commission and official stamp.

In addition, the NOC details the official HCI address, contact number, email address, the date the NOC is issued and the HCI reference number.

As it stands, there is no name detailed of the family member or relative (next of kin) on the NOC. However, on the NOC appointment these particulars are provided on application as per the documents provided. Therefore, a subsequent record is maintained of the primary applicant(s).

5. Validity

Currently, the NOC does not state a valid to date (indefinite), therefore it allows for you to organise your travel accordingly. Subject to HCI changes.

Example of a No Objection Certificate;

No Objection Certificate
Example No Objection Certificate (HCI UK)

You may be traveling to India shortly due to circumstantial reasons such as the main details of this article. If you require to begin other formalities and processes in India such as property transfers, sale of property, pan card for your property or providing a Power of Attorney to a trusted individual/firm in order to begin a course of action(s), we can assist.

Alternatively, you may wish to consider taking a consultation to discuss a course of action in India.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you take ashes on a plane?

Yes you can and rules differ from country to country. Check before you travel.

Can NRI obtain No Objection Certificate from UK to transport ashes to India?

Yes, you would obtain NOC via application from Consular Services, HCI UK

Can OCI obtain No Objection Certificate from UK to transport ashes to India?

Yes, you would obtain NOC via application from Consular Services, HCI UK

Can Foreign Citizen obtain No Objection Certificate from UK to transport ashes to India?

Yes, you would obtain NOC via application from Consular Services, HCI UK

Do I need to carry documentation with me if I am carrying ashes of deceased/loved one on a plane?

Yes you are required to ensure you have documents with you. An NOC for India would be required.

Can I use a service provider to transport ashes of loved one/deceased to India?

Yes there are providers that offer this service. You would need to obtain an NOC from the Indian Consulate and provide it to the service provider that you are using. They can then fulfill the necessary obligations to transport from country country.

Why do I need an NOC to take ashes on a plane to India?

As per the official guidelines, an NOC is required to transport ashes on a plane to India.

I don’t understand the application process to obtain the NOC from the Indian Consulate. Can you help?

Yes, we offer application preparatory services, visit our services section.

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