Losing a loved one is an emotionally difficult experience, and finding closure can be a personal journey. Some people find it helpful to take their loved one's ashes to a special place overseas as part of that process. Whether it's a final resting place, a favourite destination, or a spot that holds sentimental value, there are some things to keep in mind when transporting ashes across borders.

In Australia and when travelling overseas, there aren't any strict laws about taking cremated remains with you. However, it's a good idea to check out some general guidelines before your trip to ensure everything goes smoothly.

The following steps should be taken to ensure a smooth and compliant process:

Contact the Consulate.

To comply with the local regulations of the country you intend to take the ashes to, it is advisable to contact the consulate or embassy of that country. They will provide you with the specific requirements and guidelines for bringing cremated remains into their jurisdiction. It is important to seek this information well in advance to allow for any necessary preparations.

You can find a list of embassies and consulates at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Prepare the required documentation.

In addition to the ashes, you will need to carry certain documents to support the transportation of cremated remains. These typically include:

a. Death Certificate: Obtain a copy of the death certificate of the deceased person, as it serves as proof of their passing.

b. Statement from the Crematorium: Request a statement from the crematorium that conducted the cremation. This statement should include details such as the deceased person's name, the date of cremation, and the location of the crematorium. It helps to establish the authenticity of the ashes being transported. If you are a Bare Cremation customer please contact us to organise the required document. 

Carry the ashes in hand luggage.

When travelling with cremated ashes, it is recommended to carry the urn or container containing the ashes in your hand luggage rather than checking it in as part of your checked baggage. This ensures that the ashes remain in your possession throughout the journey and minimises the risk of loss or mishandling. Make sure that the container used for the ashes is clean and doesn't have any soil or other impurities. Both the container and the packaging may undergo inspection or examination. It is important to seal the container tightly to prevent any leaks.

Public Health Unit Approval.

In Australia, it is important to note that you do not require approval from the Public Health Unit to transport cremated ashes overseas. However, it is still advisable to inform the relevant authorities, such as the consulate or embassy, as they can provide guidance and assistance based on their country's regulations.

It is crucial to emphasise that the regulations and requirements for transporting cremated ashes may vary between countries. It is always recommended to check with the consulate or embassy of the destination country to obtain accurate and up-to-date information regarding their specific procedures.

If you wish to travel within Australia with your loved one’s ashes, you can head here to learn more.

Specific airlines and their requirements.

Bringing your loved one’s ashes on a Qantas flight:

While ashes can be transported as checked or carry-on baggage, it's important to know the general guidelines listed on Qantas website before your travel:

  • The container holding the ashes should be free from contaminants like soil.
  • The container and packaging may be inspected during the screening process.
  • Passengers carrying human ashes must have an official document from the crematorium confirming the contents.
  • The weight of the container of the ashes cannot exceed 7kg.
  • The container must be properly sealed to prevent any leakage.
  • The container will need to go through the screening process.

Bringing your loved one’s ashes on a Virgin Australia flight:

You can bring cremated ashes with you on Virgin Australia flights, either in your carry-on or checked baggage. However, there are some guidelines to follow:

  • The ashes must be in a sealed container, like a funeral urn, to prevent any accidental spills.
  • The container must be securely packaged to protect it from breakage during shipping.

If you want to carry the urn in the cabin as carry-on baggage, it must meet the following conditions:

  • The ashes must be in a sealed container (funeral urn) that won't accidentally spill.
  • You need to have a letter from a funeral director or crematorium confirming that the contents are human remains.
  • The urn must go through security screening along with you.
  • If the urn is stored inside another bag, the outer bag will need to be opened to see the actual container holding the ashes.
  • The urn, along with the carry-on bag it's in, must comply with the size and weight limits for carry-on baggage.
  • Both the bag and the urn should remain closed during the flight.

Alternative options from travelling via plane. 

If you're not planning to travel by plane, there are alternative methods to bring your loved one's ashes overseas from Australia. Here are some options:

  • Shipping: You can arrange to have the ashes shipped internationally through a reliable courier or postal service. Ensure that you comply with the specific regulations of the destination country regarding the importation of human ashes.
  • Consult with the embassy or consulate: Contact the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to bring the ashes to. They can provide you with information on any required documentation, permits, or specific procedures for transporting human ashes.
  • Seek assistance from a funeral director: Reach out to a funeral director experienced in international repatriation. They can guide you through the necessary steps, including obtaining the required paperwork and coordinating the transportation of the ashes.

It is essential to research and adhere to the specific regulations and requirements of both Australia and the destination country when transporting human ashes internationally. 

Final thoughts on bringing loved one's ashes overseas.

It's important to keep in mind that not all airport staff may be familiar with the rules regarding travelling with ashes. To avoid any potential issues, it's advisable to allocate extra travel time. For added convenience, consider printing out pertinent information from official websites. This will help streamline the process and alleviate any potential misunderstandings that may occur. 

We hope this article about bringing your loved one's ashes overseas has equipped you with a clearer understanding of the general guidelines.

If you have any further questions or to get a quote for a cremation visit this page or call our team on 1800 071 176.