With cremation becoming more prevalent, there is a growing demand for cremation remains to be transported from one location to another. You may need to transfer ashes for a variety of reasons, including shipping them to another family member, dispersing them at a significant site, or repatriating a loved one’s remains after a cremation overseas.
There are several difficulties to consider while shipping ashes, but with a little forethought, you can make the procedure go as smoothly as possible.
Although some carriers are afraid to handle such valuable items, there are plenty who will guarantee that your loved one’s remains arrive safely at your desired location.
Air travel, mail, and even driving across borders are
all choices for delivering ashes. We’ve put up a guide on how to transport cremated ashes both domestically and abroad to assist you prevent any errors during your time of bereavement.
PLANES, TRAINS…AND REMAINS
For many families, August is a huge vacation month. Vacations provided some of the finest experiences (and images!) for my family. Returning to areas where beautiful memories were formed is a frequent method to honor the life of a departed loved one.
I get a lot of calls from families arranging life celebrations that require travel, especially in the summer and fall. It is completely possible, and it is one of the benefits of cremation. You have the freedom to hold your memorial wherever and whenever it is most convenient for you and your family. I’ve had the honor of hearing about families’ intentions to commemorate their loved ones’ lives in places like beloved family vacation sites, hometowns, and even multigenerational family cemeteries.
TRAVELING WITH CREMATION REMAINS
Cremated remains can be mailed to your destination ahead of time or taken on a plane if they fulfill airline and Transportation Security Administration requirements. If you’re driving by automobile, the documents given by your cremation service provider should suffice; nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to double-check. If a cemetery or columbarium is involved, this is extremely crucial. (Note that some jurisdictions, such as California, may require supplemental permission if the remains are not transported straight from the crematory or funeral home to the ultimate destination.)
Be aware that there are a lot of elements to consider and integrate into your strategy to avoid potential complications before transporting remains. Depending on your destination, a number of paperwork such as a burial transit permission, death certificate, cremation certificate, and other country-specific authorization forms may be necessary. If you want to bury the remains as part of your travel, make sure you have all of the papers, authorizations, and licenses the cemetery will require before you arrive. It’s possible that you’ll need to enlist the help of a qualified funeral director to deliver and/or receive the cremated remains.
SHIPPING BY MAIL
Within the United States, the most prevalent shipping method is still via the U.S. Postal Service. Service Postal (USPS). You should send your package by registered or express mail with a return receipt request. Make sure the contents of the box are clearly marked on the outside. In addition, there are stringent packaging and labeling standards. Most cremation services will prepare and dispatch your remains for you, ensuring that they fit USPS criteria. Cremated remains are currently not transported by UPS, FedEx, or DHL.
If you want to transport your belongings worldwide, the USPS gives a list of countries where they may ship. You should check with your local Post Office to see if your destination country accepts USPS remains and if there are any additional requirements.
TRANSPORTING BY AIR
Most airlines allow cremated remains to be transported as flight cargo, carry-on luggage, or checked luggage (traveling with you). Determine the airline’s specific regulations on shipment or handling as baggage by contacting them. You can generally get this information by looking for “cremated remains” on the airline’s website.
Examine the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) criteria as well. Airport security equipment must be able to scan the container. You should bring the death certificate, cremation certificate, or other necessary papers with you. Consult a licensed funeral director at your point of departure and destination to see if there are any local laws to be aware of.
When going overseas with remains, I recommend calling your target country’s embassy or visiting their website – or both. If you need special forms, you may usually get them through the Embassy.
Most essential, give yourself plenty of time to get the necessary papers. Because certain nations may need numerous processes, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) suggests waiting at least two weeks for the process.