The Dead Body Transportation from USA to India

The Dead Body Transportation from USA to India

Table of Contents

Many Indian families live in the US. Sadly, some loved ones pass away overseas. It has become more common to send the deceased back to India for final rites. While a difficult time for grieving families, certain steps must be taken to transport the body safely internationally. 

Proper documents and processes are followed to comply with regulations between countries. This ensures the departed can be respected on their final journey home. In this article, I have covered all the steps involved for dead body transportation from the US to India.

Obtaining Necessary Documents

The first step is getting the important paperwork together. This involves obtaining a death certificate from where the person passed. An embalming certificate is needed as well. The Indian consulate also requires a consular mortuary certificate. They issue this after reviewing the cause of death documents. With all these in order, the transport can be arranged.   

The consulate issues the latter after verifying the cause of death mentioned in other documents. A No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is also needed along with an acceptance letter from the receiving funeral home in India.

Embalming the Body

Once the documents are ready, the body must be embalmed. Embalming means a mortician treats the body with chemicals. This prevents decay and ensures safe transport. The process replaces blood and fluids to preserve the deceased. 

Only a trained funeral home staff can do the embalming according to international health rules. The body will also get disinfected. Then it gets placed in a secure, leak-proof casket for the journey.   

Booking Cargo Space on the Flight  

After embalming, the shipping agent works with an International Cargo Carrier like Lufthansa Cargo or Singapore Airlines Cargo to book space for transporting the casket containing the human remains in the cargo hold of a commercial passenger flight. 

Flights with 1-2 connections are usually preferred to minimize transit time. Perishable human remains like organs cannot be transported on passenger aircraft and may require a chartered cargo plane.

Transit via Designated Airports

Internationally, only certain designated airports are authorized to process and transfer human remains in transit. In the USA, these include major cargo airports like New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles and Newark. In India, designated airports include Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. The cargo is securely held in a temperature-controlled facility at these airports during connections to the final destination airport in India. 

Receiving in India

Upon arrival in India, an authorized person from the receiving funeral home takes custody of the human remains from the airport cargo terminal. All documentation is checked and customs clearance is obtained. The body is then transported directly to the funeral home or crematorium by the family. The entire process, subject to flight schedules, usually takes 5-7 working days for the dead body transportation from the USA to India.

Additional Considerations

There are a few important factors to keep in mind when transporting a body internationally. Weather conditions, public holidays or pandemic situations could impact flight schedules and delays are possible. Extra time buffers need to be built in. Transporting an unembalmed body requires charter flights or shipping by sea in a refrigerated container, which is a much longer process. 

Proper identification of the body with name tags and secure sealing of the casket is critical to avoid disputes. Overall coordination by an experienced shipping agent is advisable.

Cost Factors

The overall costs of transporting human remains from the US to India can range from ,000 to ,000 depending on the originating city, flight routings, time of year and specific services used. This covers expenses like obtaining documents, embalming, casket, cargo shipping charges, local transportation in both countries and agent service fees. 

Air charters or shipping by sea are significantly more expensive options. Most Indian communities raise funds through charities to support transportation of bodies for financially struggling families.

Are there any restrictions on the type of coffin used for transportation?

Yes, there are some restrictions on the type of coffin that can be used for dead body transportation from USA to India:

  • It must be made of sturdy, durable material like wood or metal to withstand long flights and handling during transfers. Cheap, thin coffins are not allowed.
  • The coffin must be hermetically sealed to prevent any leakage or escape of fluids/odors. Most carriers require a zinc-lined wooden casket sealed with screws. 
  • It needs to have proper handles/lifts on both ends to allow for mechanical loading and offloading using cargo belts and nets. Coffins without appropriate fittings cannot be transported.
  • Dimensions are also specified – a standard air-shipping casket cannot exceed 108 inches in length, 28 inches in width and 28 inches in height as per IATA guidelines. Oversized coffins cannot fit in cargo holds.
  • Additional weight restrictions may apply depending on the airline/flight. For example, some carriers only allow caskets weighing up to 300 lbs including the body. Heavier coffins require special arrangements.
  • Unfinished, particle-board coffins that can break easily or cardboard boxes are prohibited for transporting human remains on passenger aircraft by international regulations. 

So only sturdy, hermetically sealed and appropriately sized zinc-lined wood or metal coffins meeting IATA standards are allowed for the dead body transportation from USA to India on commercial flights between countries.   

How do I obtain a NOC certificate from AAI?

Here are the basic steps to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for a dead body transportation from the USA to India:

1. Contact a licensed mortuary/repatriation service in India that is authorized to handle import of human remains. 

2. Submit an application form along with required documents like the death certificate, embalming certificate, consular mortuary certificate to the authorized mortuary service in India. 

3. They will process the application on your behalf and submit it to the nearest AAI office (usually at the destination airport in India). 

4. The AAI office will verify all details like cause of death, ports of exit/entry, flight details etc. 

5. Once approved, the AAI office will issue the NOC either directly to the applicant/family or through the handling mortuary service. 

Documents Required for Dead Body Transportation

  • Death Certificate 
  • Embalming Certificate 
  • Consular Mortuary Certificate 
  • No Objection Certificate (NOC) 
  • Acceptance Letter from receiving funeral home in India 
  • Passport/visa copy of deceased (if applicable)
  • Air Waybill from cargo airline mentioning ports of exit/entry, flight details, handling instructions, emergency contact details etc. 
  • Zinc

Ensuring all the necessary documentation is complete and presented to the airline is important for customs clearance and smooth transport of the deceased internationally.   


In conclusion, while transporting a loved one’s body across the world is an emotional challenge, following proper international protocols and using experienced handlers can help assure safe and respectful transportation. With the large Indian diaspora, such repatriations of human remains will remain an important service connecting families separated by vast distances. 

Planning well in advance and understanding all steps involved for the dead body transportation from USA to India can reduce stress for grieving families during this difficult time.

Kaashimukthi, the name itself says everything has 24*7 support for their comprehensive services with care and versatile team for the dead body transportation. You can their funeral manager on 9845819660

Also Read : Hindu rites are performed after cremation.

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