|This guide to
shipping cremated remains aims to highlight exactly what you need to know
to transport cremated remains, either within the United States or to another
country. As the cremation rate increases, and families are more dispersed,
so there is a growing demand for the easy transportation of cremated remains.
In some cases family wish to transport the mortal remains of their loved
one back for interment or scattering in their home state. In other
cases family move and wish to transport cremains, or simply wish to distribute
cremated remains between family members.
Cremated remains are basically
sterile, organic matter and therefore pose no threat to health and safety
when transported. Typically the average cremated remains of an adult
weigh between 6 and 10 pounds and are therefore quite easily packaged for
More stringent security measures
imposed on travel and shipping in recent years mean that there are now
rules in place that do govern exactly how you can transport cremated remains.
What are my options for transporting
You have a couple of options
open to you. Probably the cheapest and easiest option to transport
remains within the United States in the US Postal Service. Alternatively
you can transport cremated remains by air. We have outlined your
Shipping cremated remains domestically
with the United States
should also mark the outside
of the package as containing ‘cremated remains’. It is also recommended
to place a card inside the package with the remains with your contact details,
just in case of the event of the outer of a package being damaged.
|Shipping cremated remains
by U.S. Postal Service
Transporting cremated remains
within the continental USA is quite easily facilitated by the U.S. Postal
Service. This provides an efficient and inexpensive method to ship
remains between states.
You will need to use registered
mail with a return receipt, and can even send by express mail to ensure
a speedy delivery. As you are sending the package by registered mail,
it will need to be signed for at the destination address, so do ensure
you are sending it to an address where someone can receive it. You
According to the USPS guidance
governing a shipment of human cremated remains:
"452.2 Cremated Remains
Human ashes are permitted
to be mailed provided they are packaged as required in 463b. The identity
of the contents should be marked on the address side. Mail pieces must
be sent registered mail with return receipt service.
453 Packaging and Marking
The following conditions
....b. Powders. Dry materials
that could cause damage, discomfort, destruction, or soiling upon escape
(i.e., leakage) must be packed in siftproof containers or other containers
that are sealed in durable siftproof outer containers."
Shipping cremated remains
by Courier Service
It is not possible to ship
cremated remains within the United States by courier service. DHL,
FedEx, and UPS do not transport cremated remains.
Shipping cremated remains by
You can transport cremated remains
by air. You have the options to ship by an airline carrier using
their cargo or freight service, or to transport remains with you when you
travel. Cremated remains are permitted in carry-on luggage if certain
guidelines are adhered to.
You do need to check individual
airline guidelines for transporting cremated remains by cargo. Some
airlines do require 7 days notice for a shipment and will require the production
of certain documentation. The death certificate and cremation permit
will be required and further export and embassy paperwork may be required
for an international shipment of cremated remains. It is also advisable
to have your funeral home or cremation provider provide you with an Affidavit
of non-contraband on their letterhead to accompany you when you travel.
Ensure documents are packaged with the container carrying the cremated
What type of container can I
transport cremated remains in?
|The Transportation Security
Administration TSA are responsible for ensuring security and safety when
we travel, and their guidelines concerning the transporting of cremated
remains state that “passengers transport remains in temporary or permanent
‘security friendly’ containers constructed of light-weight materials such
as plastic or wood.” This means that you need to ensure you are traveling
with the ashes in either a temporary container or a cremation urn constructed
of x-ray friendly material.
TSA employees are not permitted
to open an urn to check the contents, so if your container will not pass
through the x-ray machine, it will not be allowed on the aircraft.
If your cremation provider
has provided you with a temporary plastic or cardboard cremation container,
this should be suitable for transporting the remains. If you have
a cremation urn, you do need to ensure it is purely wood or plastic, and
can be x-rayed.
The example temporary container
featured above is designed specifically for the purpose of safe shipping.
It is available to purchase online from Perfect Memorials for $24.95 and
can safely transport the cremated remains of a person who weighed up to
Shipping cremated remains internationally
from the U.S.
||It is quite feasible to
ship cremated remains internationally from the U.S. to other countries.
What you need to do is check the specific embassy requirements of the country
you are shipping to. Countries do have different regulations about
receiving cremated remains and what additional importation documentation
must be completed. For example, in Germany a licensed cemetery must
receive the cremated remains, and a funeral director must be involved in
handling them over to the family.
It can take a little time
to make the necessary arrangements to send cremated remains overseas, so
it is advisable to allow at least 2 – 3 weeks. Although you can contact
the embassy concerned and complete the necessary legal paperwork, it can
be a help if you have the services of a funeral director to assist you.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.
Mailing of Cremated Remains
International Shipping Regulations