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How to Package and Ship Cremated Remains- USPS

How to Package and Ship Cremated Remains


You may be reading this because:

  • A relative, someone you know, or a pet has died and been cremated, and you need to ship the remains to someone at another location within the United States or another country.
  • You and your family have opted to distribute the cremated remains of a loved one between family members at other locations within the United States or another country.
  • You are sending cremated remains to an artisan or craftsperson to incorporate the remains into blown glass, jewelry, or other works of art.

Whether your situation is described above or not, there are specific requirements for preparing, packaging, and shipping human or animal cremated remains. The Postal Service is here to help you understand how to meet these requirements and take the necessary precautions to protect this special mailing. By following these requirements and precautions, you can be confident that you have done everything you can so that your loved one's remains can arrive at the intended destination safely.

For the full brochure, click here.


Choose A Container

There are many options available to store cremated remains — from simple wooden boxes to decorative urns. However, if you plan to ship the cremated remains, you will need to have padding and two containers — an inner container and an outer container:

Your Inner Container
  • We recommend that you consult with a licensed funeral director to help you select the best container. This will be helpful especially if you have plans to divide the remains among family members.
  • The inner container must be strong and durable and be constructed in such a manner as to protect and securely contain the contents inside and it must be properly sealed so that it is siftproof. A siftproof container is any vessel that does not allow loose powder to leak or sift out during transit.

While not a requirement, the Postal Service recommends that you PUT THE SIFTPROOF CONTAINER IN A SEALED PLASTIC BAG

Use Padding to Protect Your Container

If you are shipping cremated remains in a decorative vessel or urn, use proper padding to keep the container stable and prevent breakage due to processing and transportation. For example, wrap or cushion the container with:

  • Foam peanuts, or
  • Air bubble wrap.
Your Outer Container
  • The outer container must be strong, durable, and siftproof. We recommend that you line the shipping box with plastic or other material that will prevent leakage in case of damage. Insert your inner container into the shipping box and add padding to the bottom, sides, and top to prevent movement. Make sure there is no movement of contents within the shipping box.
  • Before closing and sealing the shipping box, add a slip of paper with both the sender's and addressee's address and content information. If, for any reason, the address label on the box is obscured or lost, postal employees will still be able to identify the sender and receiver of the package.
  • We recommend you use a Priority Mail Express™ box. The Postal Service offers the boxes free to customers who use Priority Mail Express service.
Clearly Identify and Mark the Contents

To make sure the Postal Service can identify your loved one's cremated remains during processing and transportation:

  • Mark the identity of the contents on the address side next to the shipping label.
  • Use the Postal Service Cremated Remains label (Label 139), which is available at your local Post Office™.
Verify Address, Legibly Write or Type It, and Recheck It

To help ensure delivery to the correct address make sure you have the correct address and phone number on the following:


Label or Form


Domestic Items

Priority Mail Express

Label 11-B

Priority Mail Express

International Items

First-Class Package International Service®

PS Form 2976

Customs Declaration CN 22 — Sender’s Declaration

Priority Mail International® parcel

PS Form 2976-A

Customs Declarations and Dispatch Note — CP 72

Priority Mail Express International

PS Form 2976-B

Priority Mail Express International Shipping Label and Customs Form


Ship Using the Postal Service's Required Shipping Service

The U.S. Postal Service is the only shipper that allows the shipment of cremated remains. Here are the guidelines for domestic and international shipping of cremated remains:

If you're shipping to a domestic address

  • You must ship cremated remains using Priority Mail Express service. The Postal Service offers 1-Day or 2-Day guaranteed service with delivery by 10:30 a.m. (for an additional fee), 12 noon, or 3 p.m., depending on the origin and destination ZIP Codes location. Sunday or a.m. delivery is available to select destinations for an additional fee.

If you're shipping to an international address

  • Cremated remains are permitted to be mailed to an international address, under the following conditions:
    • Cremated remains are not otherwise prohibited by the destination country. You can verify this by checking the Individual Country Listing in the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®). (See Postal Service References).
    • The package is sent by Priority Mail Express International service (with the method being available for the destination country):

Package the cremated remains as described in the Packaging section of this brochure.

    • Complete the required, applicable customs declaration form and indicate on the form that the package contains cremated remains. To determine the applicable, required customs form, see IMM 123.61. (See Postal Service References).

For the full brochure, click here.