Taking Ashes to India From the UK
To take ashes to India you will need a No Objection Letter, the death certificate, the cremation certificate, the deceased’s original passport & a funeral director declaration.
Here we explain how to get everything, in order to make this as easy as possible for you.
Can You Take Ashes to India?
Yes, you can take human ashes with you to India. There are a few options available to you should you need to.
- Ashes can be taken in your carry-on or hold luggage on many airlines.
- Ashes can be transported from the UK to an international airport in India for collection.
- Ashes can be transported directly to an address in India by a funeral director (not a courier.)
- We can arrange to have all the paperwork and transportation sorted out for you.
Transporting ashes to India Involves you collecting ID documents, filling out an application, and obtaining a No Objection Letter/Certificate from the Indian consulate.
To obtain the No Objection Letter you must go through a provider called VFS Global, which processes your paperwork on behalf of the Indian High Commission.
On top of this paperwork, you will also need to apply for a visa to enter India.
We Can Transport the Ashes for You
If you would like us to handle the paperwork and transportation, please fill in the form below for a free quote
Read our guide for more information about shipping ashes abroad
Paperwork You Will Need
Whichever method you opt for to transport the ashes, you will need all of this documentation (as you cannot transport them without the No Objection Letter issued by VFS Global.)
- Death certificate original and photocopy
- Cremation certificate original and photocopy
- Deceased’s original passport (can be expired.) If the deceased has dual nationality, provide both passports if possible
- Passport copy of the deceased
- Sealing certificate/Customs sealing letter/Funeral Director Declaration: Issued by a funeral director or crematorium, it confirms that the ashes container is sealed and only holds the deceased’s ashes and provides details about the deceased
Once you have gathered these documents together, the next step is to obtain a No Objection Letter/ Certificate:
- The Indian High Commission issues this document. To obtain this, you must go through VFS Global.
- On their website, select your location as “UK” and your destination as “India.”
- You must then apply for “Consular Services.” This involves filling out details, printing forms and making an online appointment at an application centre.
- At your appointment you will hand over all the documents you’ve collected.
- VFS Global will send your application to the Indian Embassy for completion, and within a week, they will courier all the documentation back to the address you’ve provided.
- Currently, the service is provided for a £40.00 fee.
The application form for the No Objection Letter requires:
- A Miscellaneous Application Form and VFS Global Death Registration Form (if the deceased was an Indian passport holder) completed and signed by you. Can be found on the VFS Global website
- Two Photographs 2″ x 2″ (passport size)
- If you’re an Indian passport holder: Original valid passport, and signed copies of the first two and last two pages of the passport and the pages containing a passport officer’s observations (if any)
- If you’re a foreign passport holder: Original valid passport and signed copies of the passport pages containing your personal information
- Proof of residence
When travelling to India, you must have the No Objection Letter and all the deceased’s documentation to hand (alongside any additional paperwork your airline requests.)
India Restrictions / Things to Know
At least 48 hours before arrival, you must email the Health Officer at your destination airport, explaining that you’re travelling with human ashes. Your airline will also inform them. The Health Officer will check over the sealing certificate and the container the ashes are in and ensure everything is in order before allowing it off the plane.
The No Objection Letter is not a Visa – if you’re a non-national travelling from the UK to India, you will also need to apply for a tourist visa.
This process is different if you’re travelling with ashes to India from outside the UK.
Air India is the most popular airline flying from the UK to India. They may require additional paperwork. They will also require you to carry the ashes in a funeral urn. If you’d like to find out more, we have all the information you could need on taking ashes on board an air India flight.
All airlines are different and reserve the right to refuse your travel, so make sure to check their requirements before flying. After getting the correct forms, the last thing you want is to be turned away over a mistake.
Scattering Ashes in India
There are no laws restricting the practice of scattering ashes in India. Many people travel to the Ganges River to scatter ashes there in particular. Generally, it is advised to check with the local authorities for any restrictions that might apply.
It’s also important to be respectful of the cultural and religious sensitivities of the region, as some areas have specific customs and traditions that should be followed when scattering ashes.