Traveling Abroad with Cremated Remains

For many families, the wish to take the ashes of a loved one abroad is a heartfelt one, driven by various personal reasons. However, the rules and procedures surrounding this act can often be complex and confusing. Rest assured, you are allowed to transport ashes, also referred to as cremated remains, overseas. To ensure a seamless and respectful journey, there are specific steps and considerations that must be observed.

Documentation Requirements

If you intend to transport cremated remains abroad, the first and foremost step is to obtain a special Overseas Certificate from the crematorium- this document is officially known as the ‘Certified Copy of an Entry of Cremation.’ It contains comprehensive details regarding the cremation, including the entry number in the cremation register. While not always obligatory, it is advisable to bring along a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate and the Cremation Certificate for peace of mind, as certain countries may require these documents.

Adherence to Airline and Country Regulations

It’s vital to recognise that each country has its unique set of regulations concerning the transportation of cremated remains. Some countries are more lenient than others, and, to avoid any complications, it is recommended to consult with the relevant embassy or consulate of your destination. Some countries may necessitate you to notify customs upon arrival. In addition to destination-specific regulations, contacting the airline you will be flying with is crucial, as airlines may have their own policies and procedures when it comes to traveling with cremated remains. For instance, some airlines specify that the ashes container should be hermetically sealed, ensuring an airtight, spill-proof container. It is advisable to carry the cremated remains as part of your hand luggage.

Proper Container and Screening

The container holding the cremated remains should be non-metallic and airtight. Ideally, you can use the container provided by the crematorium. If you plan to transfer the ashes into an urn, it is best to bring the urn separately for the journey. Some urns may be challenging to x-ray, and this could result in complications during security screening, especially if they contain ashes.

Essential Checklist for Transporting Ashes Abroad

In summary, to ensure a trouble-free and respectful journey when carrying the ashes of your loved one abroad:
  • Bring the necessary documentation
  • Certified Copy of an Entry of Cremation
  • Certified Copy of the Death Certificate
  • Cremation Certificate
  • Ensure the cremated remains are in a non-metallic container to pass through security checks.
  • Contact the airline operator in advance to familiarize yourself with their specific regulations.
  • Check with the embassy or consulate of your destination country for their regulations and requirements.

Destination-Specific Regulations

Lastly, it’s essential to recognise that each country has its own set of rules governing the scattering of ashes. Be sure to research and comply with these regulations as well. If you are traveling to a country where you do not speak the language, it’s advisable to prepare a letter detailing what you are carrying and your intentions. Having this letter translated into the local language can facilitate communication and ensure a smooth journey. In conclusion, with proper planning, adherence to regulations, and respectful handling of cremated remains, you can honour your loved one’s wishes and bring their ashes to their desired final resting place, even when traveling abroad.