Department of Health

Key messages

  • An application for cremation authorisation can be made to the relevant cemetery trust provided the documentation requirements under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 can be met.
  • An application for cremation authorisation may be made to the department when authorisation cannot be granted by a cemetery trust.

In exceptional circumstances, an applicant may apply to the department for cremation authorisation under s. 134 of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act.

Exceptional circumstances include when the documentation requirements under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act cannot be met – for example, if the deceased died overseas and their remains have been transported into Victoria for cremation.

In these cases, a funeral director is usually responsible for liaising with the department and relevant interstate or international authorities on behalf of the deceased’s family or representative.

Applicants must complete the application for cremation authorisation for deceased persons of known identity (Form 3) and provide supporting documentation to enable the department to be satisfied that:

  • a medical cause of death has been confirmed by a relevantly qualified person
  • the circumstances surrounding the death were appropriately and thoroughly investigated by the authorities in the jurisdiction in which the deceased died
  • the department is satisfied that the cause of death does not need to be reported to a coroner for investigation.

The applicant or funeral director should provide the department with all available supporting information and documentation relating to the considerations outlined. It is mandatory for certified translations of original documents to be provided for any foreign language documents.

Applications are submitted by email to

Reportable deaths

Under the Coroners Act 2008, there is an obligation for any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that a reportable or reviewable death has not been reported, to report it without delay to a coroner or the officer in charge of a police station.

When considering applications for cremation authorisation, the department needs to determine if the death is reportable under the Coroners Act. The absence of clear documentation authorised by an appropriate authority in the jurisdiction where the death occurred will raise questions about the death.

Any funeral director who does not have appropriately authorised documentation about a death that occurred interstate or overseas should discuss this matter with Coronial Admissions and Enquiries at the Coroners Court of Victoria on 1300 309 519.

Where a notification of a reportable death is made to the Coroners Court, the department will not provide a cremation authorisation until a coroner has made a determination about the death.

The time the department takes to grant cremation authorisation will vary depending on the circumstances and documentation available in each case. For this reason, cremation bookings should not be made before receiving written cremation authorisation from the department.

More information about reportable deaths is available on the Coroners Court of Victoria websiteExternal Link .

Cremation of remains of unknown identity

If bodily remains to be cremated are of unknown name or have an identifier, an application must be made to the department for cremation authorisation under s. 134 of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act.

Bodily remains of unknown name may have an identifier in some circumstances, for example a cadaver imported as part of an overseas voluntary body donor program for the purposes of surgical teaching.

To seek cremation authorisation, the applicant must submit a completed application for cremation authorisation of bodily remains of unknown name or with an identifier (Form 3A) to the department.

When granted by the department, the cremation authorisation is attached to Form 3A and both documents are submitted to the cemetery trust by the applicant.

More information

More information about cremations is available in Topic 13 of the Manual for Victorian Class B cemetery trusts.

Reviewed 05 September 2023


Contact details

Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm

Cemetery Sector Governance Support GPO Box 4057, Melbourne , VIC 3001

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