Transporting bodies overseas

Transporting bodies into or out of Australia is very expensive, because of the cost of both preparation and transportation. Funeral directors must be engaged in both countries to ensure that international health and transport regulations are adhered to.

When sending bodies overseas, the receiving country’s consular and health regulations must be followed. In general, embalming of a body is required for transportation internationally. Freezing the body or using dry ice can be used during transportation of an unembalmed body as an alternative method of preservation. A certified copy of the death certificate needs to be provided. Clearance must be obtained from the country’s quarantine authorities and health department. The recipient at the final destination must confirm that they have received the body.

Bodies being brought into Australia must be similarly embalmed and sealed in a coffin. The following documents are required:

  • a full death certificate stating the cause of death (generally an autopsy
  • is performed to ensure accuracy of the cause of death)
  • a certificate from the health authorities of the other country confirming
  • that the body is free of infectious disease
  • an embalming certificate.

The name and address of the receiver must be specified. Bodies coming in to Australia must also have quarantine approval.

The funeral director coordinates the procedure, which also involves customs and consular staff or the Australian High Commission in the other country. Customs and airlines will want to be satisfied of the accuracy of the documentation. Costs will start from about $8500, plus freight, to transport a body to Europe.

Transporting ashes

Transporting ashes into and out of Australia is a simple procedure, but to ensure a smooth process it is best to consult a funeral director. Ashes can be posted or carried in hand luggage.

The ashes must be in a container accompanied by a cremation certificate (which confirms the contents) and a customs declaration. Ashes contained in a polyurethane container can be sent by airmail through Australia Post.