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USPS Update for International Shipments of Cremated Remains

Posted: July 11, 2014

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has made an expected change regarding international shipments of cremated remains. Effective July 7, 2014, all cremated remains must be sent via Priority Express International Service. This replaces the option of sending cremated remains via International Registered Mail Service.

Earlier this year the USPS changed the policy of domestic shipment of cremated remains to this similar policy and it is now universal whether sending cremated remains domestically or internationally. The specific policy from the USPS is listed below.

139 Cremated Remains

139.1 Eligibility

Cremated remains (human and animal ashes) are permitted to be mailed internationally under the following conditions:

a. The cremated remains are not otherwise prohibited by the destination country (see the Individual Country Listing).

b. The package is sent only by Priority Mail Express International service. (See the Individual Country Listings for availability.)

139.2 Packaging

The mailer must package cremated remains (human or animal ashes) in a sealed and siftproof funeral urn. The mailer must place the urn into a strong and durable outer container, and must pack the outer container with sufficient cushioning material to prevent shifting during transit. The outer container must be siftproof to prevent powders from escaping and thereby soiling, damaging, or destroying another mailpiece or any postal equipment, or from causing discomfort to a person. Also see Publication 52, Packaging Instruction 9F.

139.3 Markings

The mailer must indicate the identity of the contents on the required applicable customs declaration form (see 123.61).

For more information on domestic or international shipping policies and requirements visit or contact NFDA International Project Manager Corey Eggers at 800-228-6332 (+1-262-789-1880).