Some people wish to have their remains taken to a home out of the country, or scattered in foreign location. There are specific rules governing the international transportation of ashes by plane or shipping. By following these laws and learning more about the regulations of your destination country, you can avoid difficulty as you fulfill your loved one’s final wishes.
Transportation by Air
When you plan to travel internationally, it is likely that you will travel by plane. If you do, you must follow the laws regarding the transportation of cremated remains by air. Call the airline and ask to speak to a representative about airline requirements for transport. The airline may tell you to put the urn in your checked baggage or in your carry-on luggage. Contact the Transportation Security Administration to learn about its laws concerning the inspection of urns going through security as carry-on luggage. If you do not plan to use a permanent urn for travel, make sure that the temporary container has a tight seal and is not going to open or spill during transit.
Transport by Shipping
Should you want to ship the urn using the mail, the U.S. Postal Service requires you to follow certain rules for packaging the urn and ashes. To ship cremated remains, USPS says that you must use an outer container and an inner container for the ashes, not including the shipping box. For international shipments, the inner container must be an urn that seals tightly and is completely sift-proof. USPS also recommends that you put the urn into a sealed plastic bag for additional protection. The urn must be placed into a padded box, declared upon shipping, and shipped via Priority Mail Express services.
Laws for Specific Countries
Before you plan to take the remains with you, you should contact the embassy in the country of destination. Some countries do not permit remains to be brought in. Others have rules about who can send the remains, as well as who can receive them. The process of obtaining approval to bring the remains may take several weeks, depending on the country. Give yourself plenty of time to contact necessary authorities and prepare the appropriate forms, before you take or send the urn.