The UK has quite a nice service "Tell Us Once" that lets you notify a whole bunch of Government departments about the death of someone.

On the Gov.UK Death Abroad page, it says that the Tell Us Once service is available for deaths abroad in:

You can use Tell Us Once if the person died in:

  • a Commonwealth country

  • a European Economic Area (EEA) country

  • Switzerland

So, based on that, it ought to work for a death of a UK citizen who has emigrated to and died in Australia (which is a Commonwealth country).


When I go to use the Tell Us Once service online, it tells me I need a 12 character reference issued by the UK registrar before I can use the service.

Using the prepare to register a death wizard on Gov.uk:

You can’t register the death with the UK authorities. The death certificate you are given in Australia will be accepted and recognised in the UK.

So, it seems I can't use the Tell Us Once system without a magic reference code, only available when you register the death with the UK authorities, but I can't get one as the UK won't let you register a death in Australia with them...


Am I missing something here? Is there some way to get a reference code to use from the registrar in Australia (Queensland in case it helps)? Or is Gov.UK Death Abroad page wrong, with the service only available from certain Commonwealth Countries but not all?

  • 2
    I tried your link using another Commonwealth country at random (Barbados) and got a different response to the one you’ve posted, indicating that Tell Us Once is only available from some Commonwealth countries. However, the response also said “The service to register a death with the UK authorities is currently suspended. This page will be updated when it has resumed.” gov.uk/register-a-death/y/overseas/barbados/same_country
    – Traveller
    Jun 30, 2020 at 7:06


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