Is it OK to Mail Grandma's Ashes?

These days, families are often spread across the country and sometimes the globe. When it comes time to place a loved one in his or her final resting place--it might be in a different location than where he or she was cremated. Shipping Grandma’s ashes may be required.

The US Postal Service is the only legal method of shipping ashes within the USA and internationally. You also may transport cremated remains via air as freight, checked luggage, or in a carry-on. Read more about traveling on airplanes with ashes. 

Here are some suggestions on how to pack and ship cremated remains with USPS.

  • Double Box: Contents need to be packed in a container or urn which will not allow any material to sift through. It is suggested that the container itself be bagged in plastic, then surrounded by packing material (paper, bubble wrap or foam), and placed in a Priority Mail Express box.
  • Label Correctly: Check with USPS for label guidelines. They provide Cremated Remains labels to be placed on the address side of the box. Accuracy is important: Make sure that the address is correct.
  • Follow Rules If Shipping Internationally: First check with the embassy in the country you are mailing remains to, as there may be restrictions. USPS has custom forms and international shipping labels for these occasions.
  • Choose Correct Service Level: The US Postal Service requires use of Priority Mail Express service for shipping ashes within the US. You can select 1 or 2 day service.