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.
  • When documentation requirements cannot be met, an application for cremation authorisation may be made to the department.

When documentation requirements cannot be met due to special circumstances, an applicant may apply to the department for cremation authorisation under s. 134 of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act. Special circumstances include:

  • when the deceased died overseas, and their remains have been transported into Victoria for cremation
  • when bodily remains are of unknown identity, such as cadaveric material for surgical training.

In these cases, a funeral director is usually responsible for liaising with the department and relevant authorities and organisations on behalf of the applicant.

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 authorisation from the department.

If granted, the cremation authorisation from the department must be provided to the relevant cemetery trust prior to the cremation taking place.

Cremation authorisation for deceased persons of known identity

Applicants are required to complete Form 3 (Application for cremation authorisation for deceased persons of known identity) and provide supporting documentation for 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 cause of death does not need to be reported to a coroner for investigation.

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.

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

Cremation authorisation for bodily remains of unknown identity

Applicants are required to complete Form 3A (Application for cremation authorisation of bodily remains of unknown name or with and identifier) and provide supporting documentation detailing the source and, if known, the history of the bodily remains.

The following documents outline the process for applying to cremate remains of unknown identity.

Applications are submitted by email to

Note: The application process for the cremation of body parts of unknown identity differs from the process outlined above for bodily remains of unknown identity. More information is available at Cremations.

Reviewed 19 October 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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