Can I bring pet remains into Germany?
October 3, 2018 6:08 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are relocating from the US to Germany in 2 weeks. We have the ashes of our three cats, each in a pretty little box. The thought of leaving them behind breaks our hearts. Can we bring them into the country? We have no plans of scattering the ashes there.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you are using a transport company for the shipment of your household goods, they should provide to you or you can ask for a list of prohibited/restricted items specific to that country, and to the method of transport, e.g. air or ocean freight.

If you are planning to carry the ashes on your person, as either checked or hand luggage, I would check with the airline re their specific restrictions for transporting cremains.

Not Germany-specific, but when we relocated to Italy, I don’t remember there being any prohibitions regarding cremains; we sent our dog’s ashes in our ocean freight shipment. The ashes/box arrived intact, likely due to our packers being very generous with the packing paper and that the ashes were already contained in a zippered plastic bag inside a wood box inside a cardboard box (how it came from the vet).

Good luck with your move.
posted by subwaytiles at 6:37 AM on October 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you do make inquiries about this, be sure to specify that you're talking about animal cremains, not human. The rules for importing human cremains to Germany are quite stringent.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:28 AM on October 3, 2018

(I am not sure how helpful this will be as it is not Germany-specific)

A few years ago I moved back home to NZ from the USA and had the cremated ashes of my rabbits with me. I double checked with the airline before I flew home that it would be ok because NZ has some very intense biosecurity laws (with good reason, of course) and they didn't care in the slightest. Had the ashes in my check-in luggage and didn't need to declare them or fill out any forms.
posted by BeeJiddy at 2:39 PM on October 3, 2018

i took my cat's ashes with me for a month stay in Vienna a couple years ago. they were in my suitcase and nobody batted an eye.

i know Austria != Germany, but given that Austrians (in my experience) seem overall more uptight than Germans, i imagine you won't have trouble if you just bring them with like any belonging.
posted by hollisimo at 4:01 PM on October 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Don't underestimate how uncooperative German airport staff can be. I'm German, and I've been snapped at and yelled at for ... existing?

If no one else can answer your question, PM me and I'll send a nice German message to the authorities and ask for you.

That said, Google tells me that other Germans have "smuggled" ashes in powder cases (as in, face powder), so...
posted by LoonyLovegood at 3:02 AM on October 4, 2018

I brought my cat's cremains when I moved from the US to the Netherlands (again NL !=Germany, so your YMMV) without a problem. I didn't specifically identify the box as an urn and cremains so the moving company packed and labeled it as a "decorative box" and part of our household goods on the packing manifest. Nothing was questioned or inspected.
posted by PosterGirlwithNoPoster at 7:07 AM on October 4, 2018

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