Transporting the body of your loved one

How do you arrange for your loved one’s body to be transported to another state?

Contact a funeral home or director to coordinate the transport of your loved one’s body to another state. Each state may have different rules and guidelines about transporting the decreased. Usually, the deceased will need to be transported directly from funeral home to funeral home. Your funeral director can help you make sure all the rules or guidelines are met for the state to which you are transporting your loved one.

How do you arrange for your loved one’s body to be transported to another country?

Transporting your loved one’s body to another country requires coordination between you, your social worker, funeral home(s) and the consulate. Before transporting your loved one’s body to another country, both the requirement of that country and the type of transportation must be met. These usually include:

  • Informing the consulate for the country where your loved one’s body will be transported
  • Having necessary documents notarized by the consulate prior to transport. In most cases, the funeral director or home will take the necessary paperwork to the consulate to be notarized. This may include:
    • Death certificate
    • Certificate of embalming
    • Letter from the attending doctor or the forensic doctor from the funeral home stating the cause of death
    • Transit permit for the airline of choice, if flying

Personal transport (Mexico only):

Due to the proximity of Mexico to Houston, your loved one’s body may be transported in a personal vehicle by the family when following these guidelines:

  • The Mexican Consulate must be notified prior to transport.
  • Your loved one’s body must be embalmed and in a casket or approved transport container.
  • You must have a vehicle that is large enough to carry the casket/container inside the vehicle (such as a van, station wagon or truck with camper top).
  • You will need to be prepared to give the Houston funeral home the name of the funeral home and cemetery in Mexico.
  • Travel with all necessary documents which include certificate of death, certificate of embalming, and other specific documents provided by the consulate.
  • Remember to allow 1-2 business days for the consulate to get the paperwork in order. The consulate’s office is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (the office is not open on weekends). If you need to speak to someone at the Mexican Consulate in Houston, call 713-271-6800.

Air transport:

  • Contact international air cargo to make arrangements for the transportation of your loved one’s casket/body by airplane. This may be done by your funeral home.
  • Each airline will have requirements for the casket/container your loved one’s body is transported in. The airline may require that the casket be sealed shut before transport can occur.
  • Fees for transporting a casket will usually be determined by weight and destination. Fees may differ between airlines.
  • Any family members or friends traveling to the destination need tickets and valid passports. Your loved one’s casket does not need a ticket.
  • Remember that there may be limited flights to the country to which you are traveling, and there may be limited space for air cargo. Most airlines will not transport more than one casket per flight.