Travelling overseas with ashes

The final resting place of a loved one needs careful consideration, especially if you’re planning to take ashes overseas. But what permissions do you need to have in place? 

Q. Sara
My friend is going to the UK to take her husband’s ashes there. He was a sea captain and she wants to drop them into the North Sea where he was normally based. Does she need any permissions, paperwork or certificates to do this?

A. When travelling with a person’s ashes, you will need to contact the carrier airline to find out what requirements it has. Some will allow you to have the ashes in your hand luggage, while some may require them to be specially wrapped and placed in the hold. 

You should carry with you the certificate of death and also the certificate of cremation.

There are no special rules for taking ashes out of Australia and most countries have no problem with you taking them into a country as long as you declare them and have the proper paperwork as above. It’s also worth noting that in the UK, Scotland and N. Ireland may have different rules. You should contact the British High Commission in Canberra to confirm the process and requirements. 

In the UK you do not need a licence to scatter ashes in a coastal tidal water, however, you probably want to choose your final location carefully.

Written by Debbie McTaggart



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