The Foreign Missions of the Federal Republic of Germany in the United States issue permits to transport a body/human remains (Laissez-passer for corpse) and certificates for shipping cremains (urn). The following information concerning the repatriation of a body/human remains is intended primarily for funeral homes because, under current burial regulations (state law), the repatriation of a body within Germany may be performed by a funeral home only.

In contrast to the repatriation of a body, a funeral home does not need to be involved in the transport of an urn containing cremains in Germany. It is also possible to ship an urn through a parcel service so long as the recipient in Germany is a burial site manager or a funeral home (it is not possible to turn over an urn to a private person or for a private person to transport one).

The funeral home or burial site manager is furthermore to be advised of the arrival of the cremains. Details regarding burial and the necessary documents and commissioning should likewise be discussed in advance with the relevant agencies in Germany.

Any additional regulations that need to be complied with at the departure location and any air transport regulations relating to the repatriation of a body/transport of cremains (e.g. zinc-lined coffin, x-rayable urns) remain unaffected by these rules.

With regard to customs regulations, caskets containing the deceased and urns carrying the ashes of the deceased, as well as flowers, wreaths, and other customary decorative items, are exempt from levies under the customs duties exemption ordinance.

Please bear in mind: While the foreign missions of the Federal Republic of Germany in the US issue permits for the transport of cremains also on the initiative of private persons, they cannot assist in the preparation and conduct of the transport.

Certificate for Shipping Cremains

A certificate for shipping cremains may be needed to send an urn to Germany. Please have the need for such a certificate verified with your airline and receiving funeral home in Germany. In case you want to ship a metal urn, please verify with the carrier if this is acceptable for shipment as the screening might cause problems. The certificate is issued by the locally competent Embassy or Consulate General. Please use our interactive Consulate Finder to find the German Mission competent for you.

The following documents have to be submitted (original or certified copies):

  • Certificate of death

  • Certificate of cremation with a confirmation from the funeral home that the urn contains the ashes of the deceased person (urn should be sealed and numbered)

  • If available, copy of the passport of the deceased person

  • Fee for the issuance of the certificate: 25.00 euros, payable in US dollars by money order (approx. 27.00 to 29.00 US dollars depending on the exchange rate of the German Mission). Personal or company checks cannot be accepted; cash or credit cards only if certificate is applied for in person

  • Self addressed prepaid USPS certified mail envelope

Laissez-Passer for a Corpse

The laissez-passer is issued by the locally competent Embassy or Consulate General. Please use our interactive Consulate Finder to find the German Mission competent for you. The following documents have to be submitted:

  • Certificate of death

  • Medical certificate of cause of death

  • Embalming certificate

  • Letter from the Medical Examiner/Funeral Home confirming that the deceased person did not suffer from a contagious or infectious disease

  • No-objection certificate / permit to transport the human remains from the Department of Health of the City where the death occurred

  • Certified true copy of the passport of the deceased

  • Information on the airline, flight no. and itinerary are entered into the laissez-passer and therefore have to be given in detail

  • Fee for the issuance of the laissez-passer: 25.00 euros, payable in US dollars by money order (approx. 27.00 to 29.00 US dollars depending on the exchange rate of the German Mission). Personal or company checks cannot be accepted; cash or credit cards only if laissez-passer is applied for in person

  • Self addressed prepaid USPS certified mail envelope

Consulate Finder

German Missions in the United States

Nine German Missions throughout the US offer consular services. Each Mission covers a specific geographic region. To find out which Mission can assist you, please use our Consulate Finder.

Please Note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with utmost care, we can not accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein.

Consulate Finder

German Missions in the United States

Nine German Missions throughout the US offer consular services. Each Mission covers a specific geographic region. To find out which Mission can assist you, please use our Consulate Finder.

Your are leaving the mobile version of the German Mission website.