Ash Shipping: How to Do It and the Rules to Be Aware Of
It’s not uncommon to need ash shipping services after a loved one has been cremated. Find out the regulations and options you have here.
After loved ones pass on, those left behind are often left wondering where the ashes of their loved ones belong.
Do they belong on the mantel, in a monument, or should they be laid to rest in their favorite city far away from where they are currently? Whether declared on the will or not, ash shipping can seem like a daunting process.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be, so long as you meet proper guidelines and regulations before and during shipment.
Can you ship ashes fast? The answer is yes.
Read this guide on everything you need to know on how to ship cremation ashes and the required rules you must follow when doing so.
Ash Shipping Preparation
Before you proceed with shipping the ashes, you need to make sure that you have all the proper documentation that states and governments may ask for while journeying. This includes both you and your departed loved one.
On hand, you will be required to show identification through the form of licenses or passports, or in some rare cases, birth certificates. Without these, you will not be able to fly or travel to the designated ash-resting location.
The next thing is to prepare any paperwork the shows proof of identification of your deceased loved one. The death certificate and paperwork prepared by local cremation services should state that the person in the urn is, in fact, the person in question.
Depending on the mode of travel, you will need to prepare sealed containment and packaging in advance. Sift-proof containers, for example, are required if your loved one is traveling via a shipping company. On the other hand, traveling by airplane requires the stored remains in a thin, lightweight plastic or wood urn for security and TSA-friendly purposes.
Shipping by Air
Shipping ashes and flying them on an aircraft is the fastest way to relocate your loved one over a long distance. With the proper preparation, passing TSA requirements to ship ashes via plane can be a smooth process.
Your day of travel will generally follow this type of flow:
You arrive at the airport earlier than the departure time; with the proper documentation, you verified adequately with a call to the airport and airline. On your person is the ashes of your loved one in an x-ray compliant container. Note that TSA will automatically deny entry through security if not stored properly because they do not open the contents out of respect for your loved one.
Your local cremation experts often offer to handle ash-compliant packaging for you.
You pass through security with the ashes in tow and head to either the bag check line or the designated gate. It’s essential to check with the airline on the proper suitcase packing of the ashes. Some require the ashes to check in with luggage, while others permit personal safekeeping with a carry-on.
It’s best to never assume what the airline approves.
You then wait for boarding your designated flight. If you’re getting assistance with baggage, make all the necessary staff aware of the ashes, so they know to handle them with more care than usual.
If the dream resting place requires international travel, relocating the ashes will require some extra steps to make it there. Preparation for this should be weeks or months in advance to adhere to the country’s regulations properly.
Germany, for example, requires all ashes to be received by a proper crematorium and shipped by a partnering cremation professional.
A guideline of steps to achieve hassle-free shipping are as follows:
- Call the designated county’s consulate office for a list of all the rules and requirements
- Obtain the proper legal documents from the Embassy with the help of cremation experts or a legal advisor
- Process the forms in an appropriate time frame (you could wait a minimum of two weeks)
- Research where ashes can be placed or spread without breaking any foreign air and water pollution laws (some countries may require citizenship)
You can use a proxy in your absence if you’re not able to make the trip, but further research the requirements they will need. Overall, as long as you gain foreign approval, your loved one is welcome to rest at the international destination of their choice.
Shipping With Local Post Office
The United States Postal Service is the only legal way to ship the remains of loved ones throughout the states. Other carrier services like UPS and FedEx will not knowingly send the remains on your behalf. Illegal shipping can lead to significant issues if they lose the remains or if damage occurs.
Shipping with the local post office can be a pain-free process if you prepare and coordinate with the post office staff.
Here’s the step-through process you will need to go through to achieve a safe passage.
You will first need to package the ashes with an inner box and then a container for an outer package that the staff can easily view on all sides. U.S Postal Priority Mail and Priority Express boxes can count as outer packaging, which sells at every location.
After finding proper boxing, you must use the ‘Label 139’ label to indicate that the package is cremation remains. It tells the staff that it should be handled with care during the shipping process.
Include in the inner box filler or styrofoam to prevent damage and a card containing your contact information and the receiver destination.
Lastly, you must follow up with the package through the valid tracking numbers and ensure the post office updates every scan.
Can You Ship Ashes Internationally With the Post Office?
The answer is yes; you can ship internationally through the United States Post Office. You will follow the same steps above for international shipping but will change the mail status to the mandatory Priority Express Mail International.
To ensure you’re not missing steps, you can always contact your local Post Office or visit the USPS website for further explanation and updates on any regulation changes.
Shipping With a Car Road Trip
The most uncomplicated process you can go through when traveling with cremated ashes is with a car. It is still recommended to carry all identification and paperwork necessary for proof to be shown to any local law enforcement agents if needed. Still, it is not required within state lines.
Remember car safety if you are stopping for a break by parking in an open lit area. Never leave anything valuable out on the seats or visible from windows, including the urn or the packaged remains.
It’s best not to leave the remains in a car during hot days for long periods to avoid any possible desecration. In the event of car trouble, keep a list of insurance information and sign up for roadside assistance if you haven’t already.
As long as you follow the rules of the road, it’ll be a smooth, memorable ride.
Can I Cross Border Lines With Ashes?
If desired, it is possible to cross into Canada or Mexico with your loved one’s ashes. Keep in mind the steps that come with international travel, as they still apply even when driving in a car.
Certain countries like Canada require a declaration of the remains at the border check-in to monitor where the remains are, where they are destined to go, and monitor the proper spreading if that is the intended goal.
Mexico requires similar requirements, but they also need death certification to be translated to Spanish for proper authentication.
When in doubt, you can contact the consulates and Embassies of both countries.
How Much Does It Cost to Ship Ashes?
Prices can vary depending on the mode of transportation. It is crucial to budget costs and plans for any unforeseen payments beforehand. A cremation supervisor can oversee the small details and help with any budgeting, no matter the journey you and your loved one take.
Through proper arrangement and forethought, your loved one can be laid to rest peacefully and respectfully.
We’re Here to Help
Ash shipping doesn’t need to be a stressful part of the grieving process. Lone Star Cremation Services wants you to have the knowledge you need to make the best cremation decisions for you and your family.
Online service arrangements allow for fast cremation services from anywhere worldwide. Packages are affordably available and take care of everything on your behalf.
Let Lone Star make all the arrangements.
For more information on services offered, visit our site and view our info tab.