Legality of bringing cremains to UK

Old Jun 6th, 2006, 05:42 PM
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Legality of bringing cremains to UK

Is it legal to bring cremains into the UK & does one have to say they're doing so?

How would this work with the airlines? Thanks for any information. Couldn't find much doing searches.
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 06:22 PM
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See if this information is helpful:

http://www.tsa.gov/public/display?co...00051980073a84
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 02:42 AM
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Thanks, Spygirl that helps. I just wonder if there are any regulations about having to declare it to British customs, etc. or get any special permission.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 02:52 AM
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This has nothing to do with the UK, but last year I brought a cardboard box containing my father back to France totally illegally (declaration, etc., required). On top of that American Airlines lost the suitcase he was in, but it turned up the next day, no questions asked. Did not even mention the problem to my distraught mother until it was settled (then we laughed about it).
What really amazed me was lack of formalities when I had an undertaker transfer the ashes to an urn and interr it in my grandparents' grave. I did not know the undertaker and do not have the same name as my grandparents (nor does my father), but I just told them what grave to put it in, and they did it. I think I could have had a box of cornflakes added to any grave in the cemetery if I had wanted. After it was all done, I wasn't sure whether to be admirable of their trustfulness or appalled by it. In any case, I'm sure that my father never expected to find himself in a village cemetery in France, but since his father is in North Carolina and his mother is in Texas, I think it's kind of cool.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:10 AM
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I suspect he never expected to be put into a suitcase that was lost by the airlines as opposed to being carried onto a flight by the loving relative, either.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:52 AM
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Hey, it's just ashes.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 05:15 AM
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The official line is on the HM Revenue and Customs site:
http://digbig.com/4hytj

Since we're not talking about endangered species, foodstuffs, dangerous weapons or pornography, it's probably OK, but that page also links to an advice line you can ask.

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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 05:32 AM
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I don't claim to know anything about international transport of cremains, but someone I know who works in the funeral industry told me this:

The temperatures in a crematory are so high that they turn human bone and tissue into mostly fumes. Any ashes left are likely from the box the body was in. So transporting cremains probably isn't any different from transporting the ashes of a wooden box you burned in your backyard.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 05:33 AM
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We recently sent the ashes of a dear friend from France back to Canada. Although we needed special forms from the French government, which the 'Pompes Funebres' - funeral home - arranged, they went by courier to another friend in Toronto, who just had to sign for 'the package.' In our case the funeral home basically arranged everything, which I suppose they would do in other countries - or at least they would know regulations for what needed to be done.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 02:12 PM
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Thanks so much for all your help.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:14 PM
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j_999_9, I must politely disagree. Anyone who has looked into the urn can tell you this is not the case. I too have friends in the funeral business, and paramedic friends who have actually viewed the process, and not to be morose, but the opposite is probably more likely--there is probably more volume left than what is put in the box. I realize that this is not what the OP was asking, but I didn't want anyone else reading this thread to think that that what was left of a loved one was just the remains of the box. pp
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:17 PM
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Can they take the remains aside for a personal search?
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:23 PM
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THere was a story in the UK recently about an urn lost on the underground and kept in the lost property office - it finally made its way home after about 5 years!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 04:53 PM
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My brother brought both my Mum and Dad's ashes from Australia back to UK last November. They were packed in plastic containers provided by the crematorium along with certificates. He packed them in his case and he declared them on entry to UK, but Customs waved him through.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 06:40 PM
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Couple of years ago my friend took his dad's ashes from US to UK in a regular box.

No problems......
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 08:10 PM
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I have been searching on Google for information about scattering ashes in the U.S. . . most of the websites that appear are UK---It seems they have a much more rational approach there. You probably don't need to worry about it. But I suggest you carry on the container rather than pack it in your checked baggage.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 08:21 PM
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My BIL and I took my sister's cremains to Greece, according to her wishes. They were in a plastic box, too.

We were quite worried about customs, but they didn't care at all. Werent even interested. Waved us through while we were trying to explain what was in the box. We could have had anything in there!

Now, read on only if you are interested in what cremains look like. We were to scatter them in the Med off the west coast of Greece and had to break the box open. The cremains were very pebbly, and you could tell that they were bits of bone, mixed with ash. Anyway, that's what we put in the sea...

This trip was, by the way, an utter and complete disaster. We waited 5 years before we went, and we were still basket cases. It was the end of a very close and enduring friendship. If you would have told me that before the trip, I wouldn't have believed it possible. From start to finish, it was a disaster.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 08:45 PM
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Oh Tuscanlifeedit, a sad story..I am truly sorry!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 10:02 PM
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You can do pretty much what you like with ashes in Britain - except bury them.

Burying ashes - at least in a proper cemetery - requires a fair amount of bureaucracy. Ot at any rate so funeral directors insist (the bureaucracy seems to involve unnecessary attendance - at your cost - by one of the undertaker's staff, and an audit trail traceable back to the death certificate)

So if you're planning to scatter someone's ashes over cliffs, just put them in a box, walk through the green channel when you get here and drive off to the cliffs. If you want to bury them in a cemetery or garden of remembrance, you should contact the cemetery some time before departing for Britain to make sure you've got the right paperwork.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 10:13 PM
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Just one more thing..if you are going to scatter the ashes, say on the beach (like we did) just check the container first. Our plastic containers had a plugs in them which we had terrible trouble getting out. In the end we had to borrow a knife from a nearby cafe to prise the plugs out. This actually was quite hilarious from a spectator viewpoint and it certainly broke the tension in our group. I know my parents would have found the whole thing very amusing.
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