Ask The Funeral Planning Expert:
I need information on what is involved in transporting one’s body from Montreal to the U.S., specifically Arizona, including cost. – Alexandra
Funeral Planning Expert Reply:
When it comes to transporting human remains internationally, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the required clearances and red tape deemed necessary by two different governments. Families who have suffered a loss often do not know where to start and thankfully can rely on their local funeral home to help them make preparations. Your first step would be to check with your local funeral home and make sure they are familiar with the complexities of international mortuary shipping. Here is our directory of Montreal funeral services.
And our directory of Arizona funeral services can be found here.
While some funeral services can arrange for complete international transportation, it is important to take the steps to understand the protocols and terminology of funeral shipping so you will be better informed and able to take control of the process and ultimately avoid unnecessary and overly expensive costs.
If you do not have a specific funeral service in mind or your local funeral home does not offer mortuary transport, you would need to first contact both a Canadian funeral service that is able to prepare the body for shipping and an Arizona-based funeral home or mortuary transport service that can receive the remains upon delivery. In your searching, you may find a funeral home with full international services. They can arrange for the necessary paperwork, certificates (with translations if necessary), air-tray or container and air transportation on your behalf. Some funeral homes will have a specific airline that they use and discounts applicable to the bereaved. Fees for these services can vary greatly and also depend on whether the body is embalmed or cremated.
There are regulations in Canada and the United States that govern the movement of human remains. Here is what the U.S. Customs and Border Protections has to say about transporting remains.
If you are making the travel arrangements yourself, be it that is your wish to do so, or it is necessitated by managing costs then helpful information is available on most of the major airline’s cargo web sites. Each major carrier will detail exact requirements, including paperwork and approved containers or air trays for international travel of human remains. Often carriers will have special staff members dedicated to helping make these arrangements and work directly with you to ensure safe and honorable transport and delivery. Here are a few direct links to get you started:
If shipping a body for burial, you will have to work with a coroner or Montreal-based funeral service to complete documents, prep the body in an approved container and arrange delivery to the airport. Be aware that you will need to have an English death certificate and embalming/cremation certificate ready to present when traveling into the United States. Upon arrival in Arizona, you will need to work with a local funeral service to arrange for pickup. The costs for these services in both countries can vary so request estimates when contacting funeral home providers.
If traveling with cremated remains, most airlines allow ashes to be taken as passenger carry-ons provided the container can travel through TSA x-ray machines. TSA personnel are not authorized to open an urn and will not inspect the contents of an urn if you open it for them. If the sealed container cannot pass through the x-ray machine, it will not be allowed as a carry-on. Because of this requirement, containers made of plastic, wood or any non-lead based ceramic are used for transport. Most funeral services are familiar with this requirement and can recommend a suitable option at time of cremation. If a stone or metal urn is desired, a temporary container can be selected and once arriving at the final funeral service destination, the ashes can be transfered to a permanent receptacle. Different airlines have protocol for checking in cremated remains with airline cargo and baggage so it is best to search a specific airline’s website or call the company before flying. Be sure to travel with the death certificate and cremation certificate to present at customs.
Thank you for using FSN Funeral Homes. I hope this information is helpful.