In contrast to the repatriation of a body, a funeral home does not need to be involved in the transport of an urn containing cremains in Germany. It is possible to ship an urn through a Special Shipping Carrier as long as the recipient in Germany is a burial site manager or a funeral home (it is not possible to turn over an urn to a private person or for a private person to transport one). Information and addresses of Special Shipping Carriers can be found in the internet, e. g. here (list of providers is not final; the Embassy does not assume liabilty for the service provided).
The funeral home or burial site manager is furthermore to be advised of the arrival of the cremains. Details regarding burial and the necessary documents and commissioning should likewise be discussed in advance with the relevant agencies in Germany.
Any additional regulations that need to be complied with at the departure location and any air transport regulations relating to the repatriation of a body/transport of cremains (e.g. zinc-lined coffin, x-rayable urns) remain unaffected by these rules.
With regard to customs regulations, caskets containing the deceased and urns carrying the ashes of the deceased, as well as flowers, wreaths, and other customary decorative items, are exempt from levies under the customs duties exemption ordinance.
Please bear in mind: While the foreign missions of the Federal Republic of Germany in the US issue permits for the transport of cremains also on the initiative of private persons, they cannot assist in the preparation and conduct of the transport.
Certificate for Shipping Cremains
A certificate for shipping cremains may be needed to send an urn to Germany. Please have the need for such a certificate verified with your airline and receiving funeral home in Germany. In case you want to ship a metal urn, please verify with the carrier if this is acceptable for shipment as the screening might cause problems. The certificate is issued by the locally competent Embassy or Consulate General. Please use our interactive Consulate Finder to find the German Mission competent for you.
The following documents have to be submitted (original or certified copies):
Certificate of death
Certificate of cremation with a confirmation from the funeral home that the urn contains the ashes of the deceased person (urn should be sealed and numbered)
If available, copy of the passport of the deceased Person
Fee for the issuance of the certificate by money order: Please contact your competent Mission for the payable fee in advance
Some German missions request a self-addressed and prepaid envelope to be sent in with the supporting documents. Please contact the competent German mission beforehand.
Laissez-Passer for a Corpse
The laissez-passer is issued by the locally competent Embassy or Consulate General. Please use our interactive Consulate Finder to find the German Mission competent for you. The following documents have to be submitted:
Certificate of death
Medical certificate of cause of death
Letter from the Medical Examiner/Funeral Home confirming that the deceased person did not suffer from a contagious or infectious disease
No-objection certificate / permit to transport the human remains from the Department of Health of the City where the death occurred
Certified true copy of the passport of the deceased
Information on the airline, flight no. and itinerary are entered into the laissez-passer and therefore have to be given in Detail
Fee for the issuance of the certificate by money order: Please contact your competent Mission for the payable fee in advance.
Some German missions request a self-addressed and prepaid envelope to be sent in with the supporting documents. Please contact the competent German mission beforehand
- Valid license of the Funeral Home
- Embalming certificate
- Confirmation on the use of a zinc casket
Nine German Missions throughout the US offer consular services. Each Mission covers a specific geographic region. To find out which Mission can assist you, please use our Consulate Finder.
Please Note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with utmost care, we can not accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein.