TAKING THE DECEASED OVERSEAS
Much of Australian culture is made up of immigrant families of Greek and Italian Australians. Because of this, it is not uncommon for many Australians to want to fly the bodies of their deceased relations overseas to their homeland. If you are considering sending your family member home so that they can be buried in a plot in the country of their birth, there are a few things you should know about the process.
Seek the Help of a Funeral Director
There is a lot of paperwork and labour involved in sending remains overseas. If you intend to do this, it is probably in your best interest to contact a funeral director to assist you with this process.
You don’t need to make an export declaration when human remains or ashes are being exported from Australia for cultural or religious ceremonies. Check with the embassy or health authority of the destination country about any requirements or conditions that might be in place. In addition, consider if the remains fall under the category of Cultural Heritage.
Importance of Timing
Time is paramount if you intend to send a body overseas. If you know that the deceased wished to be buried in their homeland, you should call the funeral home directly in order to begin the process. Arrangements can be made to collect the deceased from the place of death and move them to the funeral facility. From here, the funeral director will oversee preparation for transportation, including a sealer casket and an “approved” receiving country shipping container.
Your funeral director will handle the funeral shipping and liaise with the receiving country to ensure a seamless transportation process.
Checking in with the Destination Country
You must make sure to check with the border control of the destination country to ensure you have taken all proper precautions. Your funeral home director will likely take care of all of this for you, but you should be aware of the procedures yourself. For example, you may wish to have the body embalmed in the homeland country, but they may require the body to already be embalmed before being sent off.
You should also be aware of how the remains will be sent. If they have not been embalmed, they will have to be packed in ice and placed in a refrigerated container. Cremated remains are usually transported in a suitable, airline-approved urn.
Choosing the Casket
If the deceased is not being cremated and wishes to have a traditional burial in their country of origin, you will have to think about the casket. The body will be shipped in a sealer casket and a shipping container. However, this may not be suitable for burial. You can purchase a casket of your choice in Australia and send it with the body or you can wait until you arrive in the destination country and choose a casket with the help of the receiving funeral director.
Hetherington Funerals understands that each family has their own way of giving meaning to life and death. For assistance with exporting or importing remains of a deceased loved one, get in touch with us in Perth today.