Shipping Cremated Remains

Here is information on shipping cremated remains through the United States Postal Service:

How to Package and Ship

Cremated Remains

Publication 139

October 2014

United States Postal Service

How to Package and Ship

Cremated Remains

The United States Postal Service offers the only legal method of shipping cremated remains domestically or internationally. When a family member assumes the responsibility of shipping a loved one’s cremated remains, they can trust the USPS Priority Mail Express® Service.

You may be reading this brochure because:

■ A relative, someone you know, or a pet has died and been cremated, and you need to ship the remains to someone at another location within the United States or another country.

■ You and your family have opted to distribute the cremated remains of a loved one between family members at other locations within the United States or another country.

■ You are sending cremated remains to an artisan or craftsperson to incorporate the remains into blown glass, jewelry, or other works of art.

There are specific requirements for preparing, packaging, and shipping human or animal cremated remains. The Postal Service is here to help you understand how to meet these requirements and take the necessary steps to protect this special mailing. By

following these requirements, you can be confident that you have done everything you can so that your loved one’s remains can arrive at the intended destination safely.


Choose A Container

There are many options available to store cremated remains — from simple wooden boxes to decorative urns. However, if you plan to ship the cremated remains, you will need to have padding and two containers — an inner container and an outer container:

Your Inner Container

■ We recommend that you consult with a licensed funeral director to help you select the best container. This will be helpful especially if you have plans to divide the remains among family members.

■ The inner container must be strong and durable and be constructed in such a manner as to protect and securely contain the contents inside and it must be properly sealed so that it is siftproof. A siftproof (continued on next page)

container is any vessel that does not allow loose

powder to leak or sift out during transit.

■ For international shipments, the inner container must

be a funeral urn.

While not a requirement, the Postal Service

recommends that you PUT THE SIFTPROOF


Use Padding to Protect Your Container

If you are shipping cremated remains in a decorative

vessel or urn, use proper padding to keep the

container stable and prevent breakage due to

processing and transportation. For example, wrap or

cushion the container with:

■ Foam peanuts, or

■ Air bubble wrap.

Your Outer Container

The outer container must be strong, durable, and

siftproof. We recommend that you line the shipping

box with plastic or other material that will prevent

leakage in case of damage. Insert your inner container

into the shipping box and add padding to the bottom,

sides, and top to prevent movement. Make sure there

is no movement of contents within the shipping box.

Before closing and sealing the shipping box, add a

slip of paper with both the sender’s and addressee’s

address and contact information inside the box. If, for

any reason, the address label on the box is obscured

or lost, postal employees will still be able to identify 

(continued on next page)

the sender and receiver of the package.

We recommend you use a Priority Mail Express box.

The Postal Service offers the boxes free to customers

who use Priority Mail Express service.

Clearly Identify and Mark the Contents

To make sure the Postal Service can identify your

loved one’s cremated remains during processing and


■ Mark the identity of the contents on the address side

next to the shipping label.

■ Use the Postal Service Cremated Remains label

(Label 139), which is available at your local Post


Verify Address, Legibly Write or Type It, and

Recheck It

To help ensure delivery to the correct address make

sure you have the correct address and telephone

number on the following:

Domestic Items

Service: Priority Mail Express

Label or Form: Label 11-B 

Title: Priority Mail Express

International Items

Service: Priority Mail Express International

Label or Form: PS Form 2976-B 

Title: Priority Mail Express International Shipping Label and Customs Form

■ Print the address in block-style letters or print your

Priority Mail Express label from your computer.

■ Double check the mailing address, especially the ZIP

Code™. You can Look Up a ZIP Code™ on


Ship Using the Postal Service’s Required 

Shipping Service

The U.S. Postal Service is the only shipper that allows

the shipment of cremated remains. Here are the

guidelines for domestic and international shipping of

cremated remains:

If you’re shipping to a domestic address

You must ship cremated remains using Priority Mail

Express service. The Postal Service offers 1-Day or

2-Day guaranteed service with delivery by 10:30 a.m.

(for an additional fee), 12 noon, or 3 p.m., depending on

the origin and destination ZIP Codes location. Sunday

or a.m. delivery is available to select destinations for an

additional fee.

If you’re shipping to an international address

Cremated remains are permitted to be mailed to an

international address, under the following conditions:

■ Cremated remains are not otherwise prohibited

by the destination country. You can verify this by

checking the Individual Country Listing in the Mailing

Standards of the United States Postal Service,

International Mail Manual (IMM®).

■ The package is sent by Priority Mail Express

International service (with this method being available

for the destination country).

■ Package the cremated remains as described in the

Packaging section of this brochure.

■ Complete the required, applicable customs

declaration form and indicate on the form that the

package contains cremated remains. To determine

the applicable, required customs form, see

IMM 123.61.

■ The Universal Postal Union requires cremated

remains to be packaged and mailed in a funeral urn

per the IMM.