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Can I ship remains once cremated?

Unlike the old days when families tended to live near each other, today's families can be spread far and wide. Although this doesn't regularly cause any issues, there are special circumstances in which those distances can present unique challenges and problems. One of these circumstances is the shipping and transport of cremation ashes.

There are many reasons why families may want (or need) to ship a loved one's or pet's remains once the cremation process has occurred. Perhaps the families want to share a portion of the cremains with each other through the use of cremation keepsake memorials. Families may want to send a loved one's remains to an artisan who will incorporate them into a work of art, such as a cremation diamond or a blown-glass sculpture. Other times, a deceased individual may have provided detailed instructions about how and where they wanted to be interred.

Whatever the case may be, it will be necessary to ship the ashes to accommodate sharing them, burying them, or scattering them in a specific area.

Can I Ship Cremation Ashes?

The short answer is "yes." As you can imagine, however, there are very specific laws and regulations that have been imposed by the United States Postal Service (USPS) that regulate the shipping of human or animal remains.

What Company Will Ship Cremains?

Currently, USPS is the only way that you can ship cremation ashes domestically or internationally. FedEx, UPS, and DHL will not knowingly accept cremains or transport them. USPS offers Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Express International services for shipping either animal or human remains.

What Type of Packaging Should I Use to Ship Cremation Ashes

According to the USPS, a sealed primary inner sift-proof container, cushioning material, and an outer shipping package are all needed to ship cremains. Any strong, durable, and protective vessel that prevents loose powder from sifting or leaking out is consider a sift-proof container. This can include both cremation urns and wooden boxes. If you know that you will need to ship cremation ashes, it's a good idea to consult with a licensed funeral director for advice on what kind of container will be best for shipping. There should be adequate cushioning surrounding the inner container to prevent shifting.

The outer shipping box must be either USPS Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail Express International. For simplicity, you can order these boxes at The Cremated Remains Kit 1 contains the approved box with the required Label 139 and tape; Cremated Remains Kit 2 includes the box with Label 139, tape, bubble cushioning, and a self-sealing plastic bag.

The Importance of Labeling

Although your loved one's remains will be handled with care, damage can occur, and shipping labels may become separated. For this reason, you will want to make sure your loved one's ashes are adequately labeled, both inside the box and outside. Before sealing the package, be sure to include both the sender's and recipient's name, address, and contact information.

Shipping Cremains Internationally

In addition to the correct labeling and packaging as described above, shipping human ashes internationally will require more steps. As in other shipments that cross countries' borders, custom forms need to be filled out. USPS recommends that the cremation certificate should be easily accessible or attached to the outer box. Because each country's laws and rules are different, it's vital to check the country's specifications for mailing ashes. USPS has provided more information about countries on their website in alphabetical order.
If you have any questions about the considerations you need to account for when shipping a pet's or loved one's ashes, OneWorld Memorials can help. Please contact us with any additional questions you might have about this process.