Legality of bringing cremains to UK

Old Jun 8th, 2006, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,528
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Found this info on the website noted above:

6.3 Bringing human remains to the UK from overseas
There is no import VAT or acquisition tax due when a coffin containing a dead body or an urn containing ashes is brought into the UK from overseas. The same rules apply to flowers and wreaths accompanying the coffin or urn.

Here in the US a corpse in its coffin or ashes are considered to be "intangibles" and therefore not subject to entry procedures (not just duty - ie no entry formalities to deal with). One could assume the same would be true in the UK.
bennnie is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 07:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,233
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We're going to have to agree to disagree, patti. My friend insists the ashes contain little or no body tissue.

Who thought we'd ever be debating something like this?
j_999_9 is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 07:36 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,372
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nora I think you asked about scattering in the US. You can do it anyplace without permission, it seems. I had just asked this question of a crematory person last month and he replied something to the effect of "what do you think is underfoot when you walk in Central Park...tons of ashes have been scattered here over the years."
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 37,416
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My friend and I had to take ashes of two sisters to Hawaii a few years ago. They wanted their ashes to be spread on the ocean at Chinaman's Hat. The ashes were in plastic bags and then in cardboard boxes. We carried them on the plane but got questioned at security because I guess the X-ray didn't really show anything so they wanted to know what was in the boxes. We had all the paper work etc. so the screener was very apologetic etc. The sisters were named Betty and Frankie. So when we got to the hotel we were preparing the ashes for their "tip" out to Chinaman's Hat. We had gotten some really pretty fabric. My friend was in the bathroom with the ashes..she was slitting the plastic and transfering each bag of ashes to the fabric. Then the fabric bags would be opened and just the ashes would go into the ocean. So, she got the ashes all transfered over to the fabric bags and then she calls me and said "hey, come here a minute". I go into the bathroom and there are several dark flakes in the bathroom sink. She pointed to them and says "Frankie". I thought I'd die!!! We then rinsed the rest of Frankie down the drain. I know that I'm going to upset someone somewhere with this story, but the older I get, the more I know that death is something we all gotta do, not especially looking forward to it, but I accept it as part of our total experience, so I couldn't help myself..the two of us laughed like crazy over Frankie in the sink, and as per another poster's experience, it helped lighten the whole situation.
crefloors is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,657
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Crefloors, fear not, I suspect I would've creased up to.

Anyway, back to the original question (didn't at first understand what 'cremians' were til I opend this thread - though it must be the brand name of some US drug! We call them 'ashes'). A uick google search found this info on the British High Commission website for Australia.

"I would like to take/send human ashes to the UK. What do I need to do??"
"Answer: The ashes must be in a sealed container with certification from the crematorium and should be accompanied by a death certificate."

Hope that helps!
Kate is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 23,780
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
I would that imagine that different crematoria have different procedures for doing the job, hence different kinds of ashes. I don't think I would go so far as to say that it is like peanut butter preferences, but probably some make a point of having totally smooth ashes (probably by running them through a grinder).
kerouac is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,556
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

Kerouac, you are probably correct, for I have heard that cremated remains can be ground down before being presented to the family. It does seem likely that the procedures and standards may vary from place to place.
Mathieu is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 689
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wasn't transporting ashes internationally, but I was surprised when I had to do the deed personally. When my stepdad died in England, his wish was for some ashes to be scattered in his beloved garden, and some on the hilltop above the house. The funeral home provided a box for me to scatter, and I was surprised by how heavy it was.

When the day for scattering turned out to be alternately drizzly and windy, I had no choice but to pick a rather windy time.... I think you can imagine the rest. Suffice it to say, his remains were certainly scattered, and I have the photos to prove it!

But I was glad to have been able to do it, and had a real sense of peace and closure after some very high-stress times in our relationship.
SB_Travlr is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,326
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ekscrunchy---thank you for the information regarding the U.S. Information I have found so far indicates that it is allowed in national parks (with a special use permit) but not in national forests (which is what we were thinking of).

I may get up my nerve and post the question on the U.S. board.
Nora_S is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 566
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A friend of mine went to the Isle of Arran in Scotland to scatter his father's ashes on the beach. As he started the process, a strong breeze suddenly sprang up and blew the ashes all over him. He always said his father got up his nose!
almcd is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 01:39 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,372
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nora, from what I gathered when I asked the question (which was about my mother's cremains) it is more of a don't ask, don't tell thing. This is what the crematory guy told me, anyway. You may or may not wish to follow his advice... This is not any kind of hazardous waste we are talking about (although some of these people may indeed have been hazardous in life!!) I just heard a totally ridiculous story from my friend who brought his mother back to Argentina and declared the remains; he had to do lots of paperwork which took days and days. AND his mother had to fly on a separate plane and he then had to fetch her at the airport in BA....can you imagine? It turned into a comedy of errors!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,602
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Carrybean-although the HM Revenue and Customs website is probably the last word on what needs to be declared into the UK, I would advise callling the British Embassy in DC, (if in the US, or the Embassy/consulate office in whatever country you're in) to doublecheck on any special permission/requirements for bringing in cremains. You can find their numbers online.

And no, as the TSA website states, under no circumstances may a US screener (I believe this is also true of most of the world) open an urn of cremains for a search.

However, as the website states, you MUST have the cremains in a container that can successfully pass through the screening checkpoint x-ray and EDS machines. Otherwise, it cannot be transported.

This is why it's a good idea to work with a funeral home from the list provided by TSA as they can advise as to the proper container and transfer.

Also, you do really need to call your airline and check what, if anything additional, the airline might require by way of paperwork, etc. in addition to successful checkpoint screening by TSA.

Spygirl is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2006, 08:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,518
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have to wonder about all these posts about the ashes being so light and floating away on a windy day. We scattered our dear dog's ashes recently, in a lake (she was a Labrador, and loved to swim). They were more like sand. . . they dropped immendately, and could not possibly have drifted on the wind. I was worried about doing the same with my mother's until I saw the pup's ashes. Are human "cremains" different? I'm still stressing about the prospect of taking care of this for my mother. Thank you.
enzian is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2006, 05:12 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,372
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Like coarse and fine sand with bits of larger solid material, which I assume is bone.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2006, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 689
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My experience would bear out what ekscrunchy says about the look of the ashes. More sandy/gritty than I had expected, and not like woodashes from the fireplace. This may be more than you want to know...

And almcd, I can relate to your friend's Arran beach experience! Sometimes familiy can surprise us in death as much as they do in life.
SB_Travlr is offline  
Old Jun 13th, 2006, 05:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,667
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
certainly review the latest from the authorities but i had a relative bring remains to the UK 2 years ago...then on to eastern europe. there was absolutely no problem bringing them into the UK or onward to eastern europe. they were in the carryon bag and never questioned.
walkinaround is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Mar 18th, 2013 01:26 AM
United States
Aug 13th, 2006 08:58 AM
United States
Aug 11th, 2006 11:18 AM
Sep 17th, 2005 06:17 AM
Mar 20th, 2005 05:21 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -