I was recently contacted by Cheryl from Canada. Her sister had died in Ashford, Kent and Cheryl wanted to arrange a simple cremation ceremony. I met Cheryl on her arrival into the UK and during our chat she explained that it was her sister’s wish that her ashes be placed in a columbarium in Paris, France, where she had previously spent many happy years.
I did some internet research and contacted several funeral directors and cemeteries in Paris. They all said pretty much the same thing – that columbarium niches cost upwards of €1,000 for a 30-year concession (shorter-length concessions available too) and that according to regulations, only residents of Paris can buy a columbarium niche in a cemetery.
In order to fulfil her sister’s wishes Cheryl is considering taking up residency in Paris, which means living there for a minimum of 183 days or 6 months. In the meantime we are looking after Cheryl’s sister’s ashes.
I also did some internet research on travelling abroad with ashes and these are the key things you need to do:
1) Take the death certificate.
2) You need the certificate of cremation.
3) It’s best to travel with a document from the funeral director or the crematorium confirming the urn only contains the ashes of the person who has died.
4) Have proof of relationship with the person who’s ashes you are transporting.
5) Contact the trainline or airline to ask what their guidelines are.
6) The urn will be x-rayed so don’t use a metal container.
7) You may need to declare the ashes at Customs with the paperwork above.
8) Arrive early to allow time for security checks.
9) To double-check, contact the embassy or high commission of the country you are going to and ask what their requirements are.
Simple Kent Funerals.
This article was orginally published in More to Death, the official magazine to The Natural Death Centre.