What to Do When a Loved One Dies Away from Home: What to Know About Deceased Transportation and International Transport Rules

What to Do When a Loved One Dies Away from Home: What to Know About Deceased Transportation and International Transport Rules

Losing a loved one is difficult enough when you are by their side and are able to make the necessary arrangements locally. But if a friend or family member dies overseas, getting the body back to their country of citizenship can be very complex and challenging. Due to the necessary Embassy or Consulate documentation, export and import legislation requirements, coordination of funeral cargo shipping, and working out the details of embalming, cremation, or other processes, it is well-advised to use a funeral company that is experienced and specializes in international deceased transportation

Choosing the Right Funeral Home to Handle Arrangements

The best place to start is with a funeral home that has extensive experience with international transport of mortal remains. Flight arrangements for a deceased body cannot be made by an individual person. Arrangements for the transport human remains back to one’s own country need to be made through a specialized transport company who has a “known shipper” designation from the TSA. Several funeral homes are also approved as “known shippers.” Funeral homes have access to several international mortuary shipping companies who they will work with to coordinate the shipment process and the accompanying complex paperwork. 

How Much Does it Cost?

Because of the complexity of the process of shipping human remains internationally, it is more expensive than domestic transport.  There are often additional fees to cover Embassy paperwork and shipment tray requirements for the destination country.  Fees begin around $3,000 - $4,000 for the ship-out fee, but you also have to add the international mortuary cargo fee from the airline.  This is roughly another $2,000 - $6,000. 

How Does Cremation Influence Cost?

Shipping cremated remains is a less costly option to shipping a dead body. Cremation of human remains is available in most countries, but in predominantly Moslem and Catholic countries religious customs and local regulations may forbid cremation. In certain other countries, facilities for cremation may be quite limited, such as only one crematorium in the entire country. This adds additional cost for transporting the body to the crematorium, which could be hundreds of miles from the place of death. Such additional arrangements would, of course, be time-consuming, resulting in delaying the return of the remains to the United States. In these instances, costs for cremation would be substantially greater. 
John F. Fluehr & Sons Funeral Home has decades of experience supporting families with exporting remains throughout the world including Europe, South America, and Mexico. With an in-depth knowledge of international customs regulations and procedures in several countries, John F. Fluehr makes the process as easy and seamless for the grieving family as possible. Their sensitivity, expert care, and intricate knowledge of the systems, airlines, international transport companies and customs in several foreign countries, save their clients time, unnecessary complications and stress. 
John F. Fluehr’s family has been serving the funeral needs of the public for 121 years. Our beautiful funeral home has a spacious stateroom, handsome appointments and a homelike atmosphere that provides comfort and dignity for the bereaved. Please call us at (215) 624-5150 or visit our website for more information on our services. Sí, Hablamos español!

John F. Fluehr & Sons, Inc.

Funeral Home Serving Families Since 1898

3301 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19149


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