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Your Guide To Travelling Abroad With Ashes

Many families take ashes abroad in order to scatter their loved ones in a meaningful place as part of their celebration of life. Sometimes the loved one requests to return to their homeland for their final resting place. This process can be relatively straight forward when done correctly. However, some preparations need to be made beforehand in order to ensure the process runs smoothly. This guide contains general tips and advice for having a smooth and safe flight with your loved one’s ashes.

What you will need

To travel with ashes, you will need:

Some airlines may require:

  • Proof of your relationship with the person who has passed way
General Guidelines 

Once you have gathered the correct paperwork, it’s important to contact the airline you plan to travel with and ask what their guidelines are. This is because the rules tend to vary slightly depending on the airline and destination of travel. Some general rules that apply to most airlines are:

  • Ashes can be taken on the plane in your carry-on luggage
  • The ashes should be stored in a secure, non-metal container or urn. This is because they will be X-rayed by security. 
  • You may need to declare the ashes at customs with the correct paperwork stated above. 
  • It’s wise to allow extra time for security and paperwork checks by arriving at the airport early. 

We recommend contacting the British consulate, embassy or high commission of the country you are headed to. This is because each country has slightly different rules in regards to travelling with a loved one’s ashes.

What kind of container can you take ashes abroad in

The general rules in regards to the container the ashes are carried in are:

  • Don’t keep the ashes in metal, stone or ceramic urn
  • Make sure the container seals tight
  • It’s wise to double or triple layer a few containers; for example, you could place the urn in a plastic bag, pad it with bubble wrap, then put it inside another sealable container to be sure it’s completely safe from being damaged when being handled. 
  • Clearly label the container with your name, address and contact details
Check local laws regarding ashes

Many countries have different laws about what you can and can’t do with ashes. It’s a good idea to research what these laws are, especially if you are planning to scatter your loved one’s ashes as there are restrictions in some countries.

Bringing Ashes into the UK

If you are returning to the UK from abroad with ashes you will need similar documentation listed above:

  • The death certificate
  • The certificate of cremation
  • A signed declaration from the funeral director or crematorium confirming the contents of the urn
  • Ideally, a copy of the deceased passport photo page

We recommend having copies of these documents so if you misplace one whilst travelling you are covered. 

We hope that you found this information useful. If you are in need of any further advice or guidance on travelling with ashes our Neo team are available to help you with any queries you may have. You can call us on: 0808 196 2140, we are always happy to help. We sincerely wish you and your loved one a safe journey.

Holly Roseveare

Operations Associate

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