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Shipping Human Remains to Germany

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When a German national passes away in South Africa, their loved ones often wish for the urn or corpse to be transported to Germany to be laid to rest there. In order for the human remains to be allowed to enter Germany, a permit issued by the local German Mission is required. 

General Information

This information is mainly addressed to funeral homes. Private persons are encouraged to seek professional assistance by a South African funeral home for information on how to transport a deceased loved one to Germany.

Germany has very strict laws on how to handle human remains. As a general rule, all coffins and urns have to be buried in specially licensed graveyards. Private persons are not allowed to have urns in their possession. Therefore, any transport in Germany has to be handled by a licensed funeral home.

Depending on the mode of burial, either a certificate for the import of ashes (“Urnenbescheinigung”), or a corpse transport permit (“Leichenpass”) is required to clear customs; no customs duties are charged.

“Urnenbescheinigung” - Urn Transport Certificate

The following documents have to be submitted in the original:

  • Unabridged certificate of death with Apostille
  • Certificate of cremation
  • Certificate issued by the funeral home confirming the content of the urn
  • Certificate from the South African Department of Health
  • Passport of the deceased
  • Fee

“Leichenpass” - Corpse Transport Permit

The following documents have to be submitted in the original:

  • Unabridged certificate of death with Apostille
  • Non infectious disease certificate
  • Non epidemic area certificate
  • Embalming certificate
  • Certificate from the funeral home confirming the content of the coffin
  • Certificate from the South African Department of Health
  • Passport of the deceased
  • Information on the airline, flight number and itinerary (the information will be entered into the permit and must therefore be given in detail)
  • Air waybill
  • Fee


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