Transporting a Body Across State Lines

by MSO

When transporting a body between state lines in the U.S. you'll need a burial-transit permit.

All states regulate the transportation of bodies across state lines, thankfully the process of getting a permit for this is quite straightforward. Burial transit laws ensure that the deceased and their family will be protected, and is also in place to curb the spread of disease. Several states, such as Massachusetts have no laws for private citizens transporting a body, just funeral directors. In any case, a funeral director can assist you with this process.

In most states, the body may be released to the family of the deceased for transport, rather than requiring the body to be moved by the funeral home. The remains must be transported by ‘common carriers’ such as rail, car and air. In some states, such as North Carolina, a death notice must be filed within 24 hours by the person taking possession of the body, some states, such as Washington State allow you up to 72 hours. Make sure that you contact your local authorities as soon as possible to ensure that you do not wait too long. Burial-transit permits can generally be obtained from a local registrar.

Some states require that the body be embalmed or cremated prior to transit, although not all do. In the case of the person dying from a communicable disease such as AIDS, HIV, smallpox, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease hepatitis B or rabies, a physician must notify those that are transporting the body to take extra precaution.

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