Transporting cremated remains overseas may require more planning and research.
The main reason is that each country has its own set of rules, and you must follow these rules.
When traveling internationally, it is best to give yourself more time to plan.
One of your first actions should be to contact the embassy of the destination country to ensure that they accept the cremation of the remains.
In addition, you need to understand their regulations and determine the paperwork that must be completed.
This can usually be done by contacting the U.S. Embassy or the National Association of Funeral Homes.
If you feel that making these arrangements by yourself is not something you want to try, in most cases, the funeral home can do it for you.
In addition, they often provide airline-friendly containers.
After 9/11, TSA was prompted to develop specific guidelines for the transportation of ashes.
They work with funeral homes around the world to protect the safe passage of cremated remains through airport security checkpoints.
In the past, the only rule was to obtain documents from the funeral home stating that the contents of the container were indeed cremated remains, but this was no longer enough.
It is now required that all cremation containers must pass X-ray equipment.
TSA Approved Urns
Suitable ashes container
If you want to use your own urn, the following guide will help you choose the correct urn for easy passage.
TSA recommends avoiding the use of granite, stone or metal containers.
The best type is a lightweight structure, such as wood, cardboard, fiberboard or plastic.
These materials can usually avoid X-ray problems.
Open the container
It is illegal for airport staff to open the container with ashes.
As a result, many funeral homes, crematoriums, and online vendors now offer urns with screw caps.
The lid can be permanently sealed, but if you decide to spread the ashes in the future, this may cause problems.
The best solution is to use temporary containers for transportation and then transfer the ashes to permanent containers.
If you don’t like to handle the remains yourself, the funeral home that cooperates with TSA will usually provide body transfer services.
There may be a charge for this service, but it is usually free.
If pets are cremated, whether they are dogs or cats, you can also transport their ashes.
Be sure to plan ahead and ask the airline in advance.
TSA Recommendation: Cremation Certificate and Death Certificate
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what paperwork is required, especially on international flights.
The reason is that airline rules may be different, and different countries/regions have their own regulations.
Ask for help
Therefore, the best option is to get help from a licensed funeral director at both ends of the journey, preferably one who works with TSA.