Apply to exhume human remains

Application form for a licence to remove buried human remains (including cremated remains).



Use this form to apply for a licence to remove buried human remains (or cremated remains) from a grave or memorial in England and Wales.

You might want this licence to examine the contents of the coffin or container, or to move the deceased person’s remains to another location.

Important note on submitting applications

Exhumation applications submitted by post may take significantly longer to process than those submitted electronically at this time, as many of our staff are following guidance on work, social distancing and travel in relation to Coronavirus.

During this time, we would ask you to instead email the completed application to

We will accept legible scanned or photographed copies of the application.

During this period, we will only provide electronic copies of the exhumation licence, this is sufficient for the exhumation to go ahead; a paper copy is not needed.

Please note that we will be prioritising exhumation applications which are required to facilitate new burials (as opposed to facilitating only the disturbance of existing remains). Where this is the case, we would be grateful if applicants or burial authorities could indicate it clearly on the application form.

Thank you for your understanding in these exceptional times.

Published 2 February 2012
Last updated 24 March 2020 + show all updates
  1. Update on submitting applications.

  2. First published.