IMM Revision: Mailing Cremated Remains Internationally

Effective July 28, 2013, the Postal Service™ will revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®) to add new Part 139 to reflect mailability and preparation requirements for cremated remains (human ashes) mailed internationally.

Currently, requirements for cremated remains appear only in Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, but not in the IMM. The current requirements stipulate that cremated remains mailed internationally must not be prohibited in the destination country (as noted in the Individual Country Listing in the IMM) and that the mailer must send the remains by First-Class Package International Service™ using Registered Mail™ service only.

However, the new requirements will also authorize mailers to send cremated remains by Priority Mail Express International™ service (where available). This option accommodates cremated remains that exceed 4 pounds in weight (which is the current maximum weight for any First-Class Package International Service item).

Consequently, we will revise the IMM accordingly. (Publication 52 is also revised, as noted in the article titled Publication 52 Revision: Sending Cremated Remains Internationally in this issue of the Postal Bulletin.)

Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM)

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1 International Mail Services

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130 Mailability

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[Insert new Part 139 to read as follows:]

139 Cremated Remains

139.1 Eligibility

Cremated remains (human ashes) are permitted to be mailed internationally under the following conditions:

a. The cremated remains are not otherwise prohibited by the destination country (see the Individual Country Listing).

b. The package is sent by either of the following methods (with the selected method being available for the destination country):

1. Priority Mail Express International service.

2. First-Class Package International Service using Registered Mail service.

139.2 Packaging

The mailer must package cremated remains (human ashes) in a strong and durable container. If powders could escape from their containers and thereby cause damage, discomfort, destruction, or soiling, the mailer must pack the powders either in a sift-proof container or in other containers sealed in durable, sift-proof outer containers.

139.3 Markings

The mailer must indicate the identity of the contents on the required applicable customs declaration form (see 123.61).

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We will incorporate this revision into the next update of the online IMM, which is available via Postal Explorer® at