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Burial Transit Permits

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The burial transit permit is used for notifying the Bureau of Vital Statistics that a death has occurred. The Bureau uses the permit as a tracking device to make sure that a death record is filed for each death that occurs in Alaska. A burial transit permit is also used to help assure that the death was from natural causes and that there is no condition that would require notifying the state medical examiner.

When is Burial Transit Permit needed?

Alaska regulations require a Burial Transit Permit for any of the following conditions:

  1. The final disposition (burial/cremation) of the body or fetus;
  2. moving the body within Alaska;
  3. shipping the body out of Alaska provided that all requirements as to embalming and casket or other container have been fulfilled;
  4. storing or holding the body for a period beyond 72 hours after death;
  5. transportation by common carrier;
  6. holding a public funeral.

A burial transit permit issued in Alaska or a burial transit permit issued in another state or Canada and accompanying a dead body or fetus shipped into Alaska authorizes any of the above conditions.

A Burial Transit Permit is not required:

  1. To transport a body to the state medical examiner or the state medical examiner's designee.
  2. For fetal deaths of less than twenty (20) weeks gestation.
  3. When a burial transit permit has been issued in another state or Canada and is accompanying a dead body or fetus shipped into Alaska.

When does the Medical Examiner's Office need to be notified?

The Office of the State Medical Examiner is responsible for conducting the medical/legal investigative work related to unanticipated, sudden or violent deaths. Alaska law requires the medical examiner to investigate the circumstances and determine the cause and manner of death of all deaths:

  1. That occur suddenly or unexpectedly when a person is in apparent good health;
  2. when the decedent is not under the care of a physician;
  3. that are suspicious, unusual or unexplained;
  4. that are the result of violence;
  5. of that are unlawful or due to criminal neglect;

If a question of foul play exists regarding the death, a burial transit permit may not be issued and the body may not be moved or molested without the permission of the state medical examiner.

If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, the medical examiner’s office should be contacted.

The medical examiner’s office may be contacted by calling 907.334.2200. More information about the medical examiner’s office may be found at

How do I obtain a Burial Transit Permit?

Please call the Bureau of Vital Statistics at 907.465.3391 for assistance in obtaining a burial transit permit.

Before you call, it will helpful if you have the following information available:

  1. The decedent’s full name (first, middle, last) and if female, her maiden name (last name at birth)
  2. The decedent’s sex
  3. The age of the decedent
  4. The date of death
  5. The place of death