Apply for an exhumation licence

You need to apply for a licence to remove human remains from the ground.

Due to coronavirus, applications submitted by post will take longer to process than those submitted by email. Applications to enable a new burial will be prioritised.

‘Exhumation’ means the removal from the ground of the remains of a human being, either in the form of a body or cremated remains.

You may need to exhume human remains to:

  • move a body from the original grave site to a new grave
  • deepen an existing grave for a further burial
  • send them for cremation

You’ll need to get the signature of any close relatives, the owner of the grave plot and the burial authority.

You do not have to pay for an exhumation licence, but there may be fees charged by the burial authority and whoever carries out the exhumation.

There’s a different process in Scotland.