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Funerals/International transportation of my Dad's cremains

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Question
Hello Lisa,

I have couple questions regarding how to bring my Dad's ashes back to U.S.  I am a U.S. citizen, but my parents live in Hong Kong and they are not U.S. citizen.  My Dad just past away couple months ago in Hong Kong.  I am planning to have his ashes brought back to U.S. (Illinois) and bury here.

My questions are:

1. What kind of legal documentation or approval do I need from the government in order to transport my Dad's ashes back from another country? And where can I get it?

2. Can my mom bring my Dad's ashes to U.S. for me? Or it has to be myself to bring it back?

3. Can it be a carry-on item to the airplane and is there any special kind of urn needs to be used?

Thank you for you help in advance!

Eddy

Answer
Yes, they may be brought in a carry-on by you or your mom. Do NOT use a metal urn as it must be scannable. If in a ceramic urn, go to the airport first to make sure it's scannable as some glazes have metal in them. A wood or cardboard box would go through easily.

I don't believe any paperwork is required but a death certificate might be helpful, especially at the cemetery here.

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Lisa Carlson

Expertise

Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.

Experience

I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Organizations
Funeral Ethics Organization (www.funeralethics.org) Funeral Consumers Alliance (www.funerals.org)

Publications
Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Education/Credentials
Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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