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Repatriation of Human Remains - Republic of Ireland

The death of a loved one abroad is particularly distressing because of the complications of being away from home and dealing with strangers. But you can get help from the Irish authorities in Ireland and overseas.

In many cases the repatriation of someone who has died abroad will be covered by their health insurance or travel insurance policies. The first step is to establish if such cover is in place, as the insurance company will appoint a repatriation company who will make all arrangements for repatriation to Ireland.

Whether insurance is in place or not, you will need to appoint a funeral director in Ireland Searching - Irish Association Of Funeral Directors (iafd.ie), who will liaise with the repatriation company, receive the deceased person on arrival in Ireland and make the local funeral arrangements. If there is no insurance in place your local funeral director can also arrange for repatriation.

Families who are not covered by insurance can apply for financial assistance from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust https://kbrtrust.com/

Helpful Links

Department of Foreign Affairs

Citizens Information

Repatriation of Human Remains - Northern Ireland

The death of a loved one abroad is particularly distressing because of the complications of being away from home and dealing with strangers. But you can get help from the British authorities in the UK and overseas.

We recommend you contact your local funeral director Searching - Irish Association Of Funeral Directors (iafd.ie) who will in turn employ the services of an international repatriation company to work on your behalf.

Helpful Links

NI Direct

What to do after a British national dies abroad - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Transporting Cremated Remains Internationally and inside Ireland and the United Kingdom

With the number of cremations increasing there is a growing need for people to transport cremated remains from one point to another. There are several reasons why you might need to transport ashes; from sending them to another family member, scattering them at a significant location, or to repatriate a loved one’s remains back home after a cremation abroad.



International Transport of Cremated Remains

By Air
As a general rule, you can transport ashes by air as cargo or travel with them on the plane as carry-on or checked-in baggage. These forms of air transport are permitted only if certain guidelines are adhered to.

The Urn
The ashes must be in a sealed container made of scannable material to provide a clear view of the contents during security checks e.g. wood or plastic. The urn will not be allowed through the checkpoint if its contents cannot be viewed clearly.

We strongly advise you to carry the remains onboard in your hand luggage.

Each airline has its own policies when it comes to transporting cremated remains. You should contact your airline prior to departure.

Depending on where you are travelling to you may need to get export paperwork from your consulate/embassy. Transporting cremated remains internationally can be complicated as each country has its own set of rules and regulations about receiving cremated remains, which you must adhere to.

As a general rule, you should have at the least the following documentation:

  • The Official Death Certificate
  • Cremation Certificate
  • A letter from the crematorium/funeral home stating that the special container/urn contains only the cremated remains of the deceased
  • Out of state papers from the local coroner


Sending and Transporting Cremated Remains Internationally

If you are sending cremated remains abroad, the process is further complicated by foreign rules and regulations. Some countries, including Ireland do not allow posting of human remains, some only allow a specific carrier, and others require you to send ashes to specific organisations. For this reason, you must contact the destination country’s Embassy to ask if there are any additional requirements regarding shipping cremated remains.


The cost of transporting ashes internationally will depend on the country you need to send to.

Transportation of Cremated Remains Inside Republic of Ireland

Transportation of cremated remains by post is prohibited Items prohibited or restricted by An Post | Personal | An Post

 You should contact your funeral director and discuss options for transporting cremated remains.

Transportation of Cremated Remains Inside the United Kingdom

In the UK cremated remains can be transported by post and a limited number of couriers. You should contact your funeral director and discuss the best option for you.

Please note weight restrictions apply to posting cremated remains in the United Kingdom Prohibited And Restricted Goods | Post Office

IAFD strongly recommends against sending cremated remains by post or courier. Unaccompanied cremated remains should be transported in the same way as human remains and consigned from one funeral director to another.

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