Most people who choose to be cremated want to have a portion of their ashes scattered or buried in a place that was exceptionally meaningful to them. However, families may hit a snag or two in the transportation process, if they do not plan ahead. The rules to transport cremated remains require some forethought and the purchase of the right cremation urn. With attention to detail and local regulations, families can move the ashes of their loved ones to a fitting final resting place.
Moving Ashes by Car
Deciding to transport ashes by car is the simplest method. Families need not worry too much about the rules they must follow, so long as they do not intend to cross into another country. Urns for ashes comprise quite a large variety of materials, from brass to ceramic, even paper. The right urn for someone moving ashes by car will be easy to carry but difficult to break. The contents of the urn should be sealed very tightly, so that if the urn topples over during transit, there is no concern about the ashes leaving the urn. Many urns offer a sealable container for the ashes that goes inside the urn. This is an ideal solution for motor travel. Once families arrive to the place where they intend to scatter or bury the ashes, they should obey local ordinances for the disposition.
Transporting Biodegradable Urns
Since 2004, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has affirmed its commitment to helping families bring a loved one’s cremated remains with them by plane. However, the TSA requires that certain standards be met. In order to pass security, urns for ashes placed in a person’s checked luggage must be able to be seen in an x-ray viewer. Many urns do not meet this requirement, as the urn itself shows opaque on the screen. Inspectors will not open urns under any circumstances.
As a way to mitigate this concern, the TSA recommends that families wishing to transport urns by plane should select urns that have a removable container that may be shown to TSA officials. In particular, many biodegradable urns are ideal for this purpose. They do not block the TSA from viewing the contents. Most biodegradable urns also contain a bag for the ashes, which may be shown to TSA inspectors as necessary. Airline passengers are encouraged to contact TSA directly to confirm that their chosen urns will safely pass through security.
Sending Cremated Remains by Mail
Many families realize that they must send remains by mail because transport by car or plane is simply not an option. Residents of the United States must follow governmental regulations to ensure that the ashes arrive as expected. Since 2013, the United States Postal Service (USPS) asserts itself as the only legal method for shipping cremated remains in the U.S.
People who wish to ship remains to a domestic location need only to follow USPS guidelines. The selected cremation urn must have two containers–an outer urn and an inner container to hold the ashes. The inner container must be sift-proof, meaning that the ashes cannot spill out during transit. USPS suggests that families put the inner container in a sealed plastic bag, just in case. The urn should also be sift-proof, as well as wrapped in padding and placed in an appropriate box.
USPS recommends using a Priority Mail Express box, as this is the only mail service that USPS will approve for the transport of remains. The postal service provides stickers that senders may attach to the outside of the box to identify its contents. If people cannot obtain one of these stickers, the contents of the box should nevertheless be cleared identified. Under these circumstances, the USPS will consent to ship urns for ashes to a domestic location.
Families who want to ship remains to a foreign locale (e.g. to a loved one’s birthplace) must follow all the rules for domestic shipment, as well as other regulations. Some countries do not permit the transport of human remains by mail. USPS maintains lists of countries that will accept human remains through postal service. The remains must be sent by Priority Mail Express
International service, to a country where this service is available. With these standards obeyed, families are free to follow USPS instructions for packaging. They must complete appropriate customs forms and declare the contents. At that point, the remains will be shipped to the correct international address.
Moving a cremation urn to its final resting place requires some attention to detail. If families wish to transport by car, all they really need is an urn that is tightly sealed. For transit by plane, the urn should be made of materials that can be seen through security checkpoints and x-ray scanners. People who want to ship remains through the postal service must package the boxes correctly and follow all rules for shipment to international addresses. This knowledge helps families to decide on the appropriate urns for ashes for their needs, and ensure that the remains arrive intact in the proper location.