How do I transfer ashes or human remains to Mexico?

When a Mexican citizen dies outside the country, the Mexican consulate can help with the necessary paperwork to return their body to Mexico.

How do I transfer ashes or human remains to Mexico?
Procedures necessary for bringing cremated remains or human remains into Mexico. Photo by Mayron Oliveira / Unsplash

If a Mexican resident living in the United States dies and his or her relatives want to return his or her remains or ashes to Mexico, consular offices can assist them as long as they follow certain requirements.

The many procedures that can be carried out are part of the Mexican government's official programs to connect citizens with their homeland. This is the case with the Soy Mexico campaign, which allows children born in the United States to get dual nationality for free.

The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a list of the procedures that must be followed to repatriate human remains or ashes, specifying that the following papers must be submitted in original and one copy:

Death certificate with Apostille

This means that documents issued in the United States that are to have legal force in Mexico must be "apostilled" by the respective state's Secretary of State.

The apostille confirms that the signature or seal on a foreign document was issued by a public official while performing his or her duties.

Permit for the transfer of human remains or ashes, issued, stamped, and signed by the Health Department or Local Registrar, specifying the name of the cemetery town or city and state of final disposition.

Certificate of embalming on funeral home official paper, stating the type and quantity of liquids used for body preparation. The document must be duly signed by the embalmer and notarized.

Cremation certificate issued by the crematory that performed the service. The document must be signed and notarized by the director.

It is vital to highlight that documents that have been corrected or altered will not be accepted.

All documentation must be translated into Spanish, printed on official funeral home paper, and notarized.

If any doubts occur during the process, the Mexican Foreign Ministry advises contacting the consular offices immediately for help.

Also, if the eventual destination of the body or ashes is Mexico City, it is important to contact the Civil Registry Department of the consulates to obtain a Mexican death certificate.