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In the case of a life or death emergency involving a U.S. citizen call (8-727) 250-4901 (011-7-727-250-4901 from the U.S.) during business hours. After hours or on weekends, call (8-717) 270-2200 (011-7-717-270-2200 from the U.S.) and ask for the duty officer.
Medical care in Kazakhstan is limited and well below North American and Western European standards. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of English-speaking physicians (PDF 13K). Basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics can be in short supply. Elderly travelers and those with pre-existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. Most resident Americans travel to Western Europe for serious medical treatment. Such travel can be extremely expensive if undertaken under emergency conditions. For more information on medical concerns and medical evacuation companies, please visit Department of State website.
Death of a loved one
Death is a time of crisis for one's family and friends no matter where it takes place. If death occurs overseas the experience can be even more traumatic, especially if the procedures involved are not clearly understood.
To describe funeral and repatriation procedures in Kazakhstan we provide the 2010 Disposition of Remains Report (PDF 44K).
There are also several important things that the Next of Kin must do in conjunction with the Embassy or the Consulate. We stand ready to assist you with any of these steps at any point.
Reporting the Death of an American
Any death of a U.S. citizen should be reported immediately to the police (Local Phone 102) and to the Embassy or Consulate. During working hours call the American Citizen Services Unit.
- U.S. Embassy Astana: +7 7172 70-21-00
- U.S. Consulate General Almaty: +7 727 250-49-00/01
- After hours call the Duty Officer: +7-7172-70-2200
Notification of the Next of Kin
We seek to carry out the wishes of the Next of Kin. Generally the Next of Kin is held to be the spouse, the adult children, the parent(s) or the siblings of the deceased. In case the Next of Kin is not present in Kazakhstan we will make any attempts to notify the Next of Kin of a death abroad of a U.S. citizen by telephone, fax, or e-mail.
Decisions to be made by NOK
There is no Kazakhstani law providing that remains must be interred within a certain amount of time. However, the scarcity of refrigerated storage facilities dictate that the disposition of remains be completed as quickly as possible. The following paragraphs explain the options you have for making your decisions.
You have two options regarding the disposition of your loved one's remains. You may have the remains buried in Kazakhstan or you may have the remains embalmed and shipped to another location (such as the United States).
(a) Disposition of Remains
- Local Interment. In Kazakhstan a burial in a grave is the most common way of disposition of remains. The cost depends on the cost of a plot at the cemetery, the quality of casket desired, and the cost of ceremonial procedures (rent of ceremonial hall, memorial dinner).
- Shipment and Disposition of Remains Abroad. Should you decide to have the remains shipped abroad for burial, the costs would depend on the cost of air freight, the quality of casket desired, and the embalming cost.
(b) Funeral Home
Your loved one's remains will need to be received in the U.S. by a licensed funeral home. You will need to make arrangements for receipt of the remains and provide the funeral home contact information to the Embassy.
The Embassy cannot authorize any preparation of remains until the proper funds are on deposit. Therefore, it is imperative that the necessary funds and instructions are provided as soon as possible after a death occurs.
(d) Disposition of Effects
In the absence of a legal representative the consular officer acts as provisional conservator of the decedent's personal effects, after receiving them from police officials, hospital authorities, tour managers, or other persons who have had temporary custody of the effects.
Then we need instructions from the Next of Kin regarding shipment of the effects. Because of the high costs of shipment, many persons instruct the consular officer to ship only items of commercial and sentimental value and to donate the remaining effects to a local charity or to dispose of them in another manner.
To proceed with the disposition of remains chosen it is necessary to get the local Death Certificate.
In case of medical or natural death, the medical death certificate is issued by a physician. The official Kazakhstan Death Certificate ("Svidetelstvo o smerty") is obtained at ZAGS, the local acronym for the City Office of Civil Records on submission of "Spravka o smerty" and the passport. If the deceased is a foreigner the passport and a copy of ZAGS registration is transferred to the Department of Internal Affairs. Subsequently the passport is forwarded to the U.S. Embassy via the Kazakhstani Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Death Certificate is given to the Next of Kin. Should you decide to have the remains shipped abroad for burial you also need to get the following additional documents:
- Authorization from the Sanitation-Epidemic Station for transportation and burial of the remains.
- Act ("Spravka") issued by the company sealing the zinc casket certifying that the casket only contains the remains.
- Mortuary Certificate issued by the Consular Section
- Consular Report of Death issued by the Consular Section
- Copy of the deceased person's passport
- Customs Declaration
The local documents should be officially translated into English.
Consular Report of Death
Form DS-2060, Report of the Death of an American Citizen Abroad is the official notice of the death of a U.S. citizen abroad. The Embassy prepares a Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad for every civilian American who dies in Kazakhstan. This certificate is based on the Kazakhstani Death Certificate and is valid for use in the United States. In addition, a consular mortuary certificate is prepared if the remains are to be shipped to the United States. Unless the legal next of kin is in Kazakhstan or another person is chosen as provisional custodian, the Embassy acts on behalf of the executor as the provisional custodian of the estate of any civilian American.
20 copies of the Report will be sent to the Next of Kin free of charge. The original Report of Death and the Kazakhstani Death Certificate will be sent to the Department of State for permanent filing.
If in the future you find you need additional copies, they can be obtained from the Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Office. Information about fees for additional copies and how to make a request is available from the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs webpage.
While you are in Kazakhstan, you are subject to Kazakhstani laws and procedures, which are often quite different from those in the United States.
If you are arrested or involved in a dispute with Kazakhstani authorities, you should ask the authorities to notify us. We cannot get you out of jail, but we can help protect your legitimate interests and ensure you are not discriminated against.
Please keep in mind that while our intervention may help, it can take time; ultimately only Kazakhstani officials have the authority to resolve a dispute in Kazakhstan.
Should you be kept in police custody, we can provide a list of local attorneys (PDF 85kb), visit you, and, if you choose, contact your friends and relatives on your behalf. We can also transfer money, food, and clothing to prison authorities from your family or friends.
The U. S. Embassy cannot, however, become involved in private legal disputes, such as between you and your Kazakhstani business partner. In these situations it might be helpful to retain a lawyer. The American Citizen Services Unit maintains a list of lawyers (PDF 85K) in Kazakhstan who have told us they are willing to represent Americans.
For more information, please see Assistance to U.S. Citizens Arrested Abroad on the U.S. Department of State Travel web site.
Natural Disasters and Civil Disturbances
If you are caught in a natural disaster or civil disturbance here in Kazakhstan, you should let your relatives know as soon as possible that you are safe. You may contact the American Citizen Services Unit, which will try to pass a message to your family through the State Department. Be resourceful. U.S. officials will do everything they can to contact and advise you. However, they must give priority to helping Americans who have been hurt or are in immediate danger. In a disaster, Consular officers face the same constraints you do - lack of electricity or fuel, interrupted telephone lines, closed airports, etc. You should monitor news reports and contact the Embassy to find out if an advisory has been issued.
The Embassy encourages all Americans resident in Kazakhstan to plan ahead and consider what they would do in the even of a natural disaster or other emergency.
We have prepared the following documents to help:
- List of Almaty Rally Points (PDF 143K)
- Evacuation: Be Prepared (PDF 34K)
- Earthquake FAQs (PDF 30K)
- Emergencies and Crises on the U.S. Department of State Travel web site. South and Central Asia.
All downloadable documents on this page are provided in PDF format. To view PDFs you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may download a free version by clicking the link above.