HomeUnited KingdomKazakhstan bereavement: death abroad

Kazakhstan bereavement: death abroad


There is no separate Coroners service in Kazakhstan. If the death is being investigated as murder or manslaughter a criminal police investigator will lead on the case.

Kazakhstan: bereavement information

The next of kin may be eligible for government compensation from the Victims Support Fund if the deceased is recognised as victim in accordance with the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan. You will need to seek legal advice on this and apply for the compensation within 3 years providing the relevant documentation. Depending on the article of the Criminal Code under which the deceased was recognised as victim, the compensation may vary from 30 to 50 MCIs (MCI is a monthly calculation index and equals to 3450 KZT in 2023 and 3692 KZT in 2024). In the UK, there are many organisations that can help bereaved families. Some of these are listed in the guide coping with death abroad. There is no legal definition of next of kin in the UK. Please note that if there is a disagreement over who is the next of kin, or the person who died did not choose a next of kin, this can cause additional complications. Access to information concerning a death might be restricted until the Post mortem (autopsy) takes place. In complex cases, release of any information may take several months. The Embassy has a list of local translators/interpreters This country specific information is designed to help you through some of the practical arrangements you may need to make. It supplements the general information on death abroad produced by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, which applies to all countries.

Next of kin

If you choose a local burial, you will need to make the necessary arrangements with the cemetery, or the funeral director can do this for you. There are separate cemeteries for Christians and Muslims and an authorisation must be obtained before burial takes place. You can make specific arrangements depending on your cultural and/or religious beliefs and this will need to be agreed beforehand with the cemetery administration. If you are not the next of kin, they will need to be informed. If required, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office can help you do this. In some cases the deceased will not be released for local burial if there is a criminal investigation ongoing and further forensic examination is required. You do not have to register the death of a British national that occurs overseas with the UK authorities. You can sometimes apply for a consular death registration. This is not mandatory and cannot be used instead of a death certificate from the country where the person died. It is only available in some countries. If you wish to do this, you can find more information and apply online. Live birth is defined as the birth or extraction of a baby from mother’s body at or after 28 weeks of pregnancy, when the baby is born alive with body mass of 1 kg or more and height of 35 cm or more and lives for more than 7 full days (168 hours) after birth.

  • children, spouse, parents; grandchildren by right of representation
  • siblings, half-siblings, grandparents from both sides; nephews and, nieces by right of representation
  • aunts and uncles; cousins by right of representation

There are no specific procedures for deaths involving children and they are investigated no differently to deaths of adults. In certain circumstances Child services and Child Ombudsmen can be involved. If the deceased had insurance, contact the insurance company as soon as possible, they may be able to cover the repatriation costs and make the necessary arrangements. You may need the insurance policy number and the associated 24 hours medical emergency contact number to do this. If the travel insurance company confirm that there is a current policy, you should not appoint your own funeral director or be pressurised by local funeral director to do so. It will be the insurance company that will appoint the funeral director both locally and in the UK. There is no obligation to appoint a funeral director, Russian or Kazakh speaking relatives or friends can help you to register the death and arrange local burial or repatriation if there is no insurance.

Release of information to next of kin

Based on the results of forensic examination and if there is clearly no criminal element in the death, investigator terminates the criminal case within 1-2 days by issuing a Police report. A copy is submitted to the Prosecutor and family of the deceased must be notified. After the case is closed, all case materials are to be sent to the Prosecutor. Free legal aid, including Court representation, is available to victims of crime who are in country and only in those cases where Court hearings or investigation take place. Investigator with Prosecutor’s approval should officially recognise you as victim side. Legal aid will not be available to family outside of the country. In Kazakhstan police investigators, doctors or other authorities may release information to a close relative who can prove their relationship to the deceased and registers an interest, or in some cases to a local employer or legal representative authorised to act on behalf of the next of kin. Some information may also be released to the Embassy upon official request via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A reply may take a considerable amount of time. The form and instructions on where to send it is available online If you decide to hold a funeral in Kazakhstan, the Embassy has a list of local funeral directors. Local support to bereaved families is very limited. Family members that are citizens of Kazakhstan may apply for a compensation for local burial. Depending on the case, police may be able to suggest a social worker or psychologist, but they rarely speak English.


The priority of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is to provide assistance to British nationals overseas who need the most help. The level and type of assistance they can offer is tailored to the individual circumstances of each case. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office will try to obtain as much information as possible after your relative or friend has died abroad. Some of this may be only available to next of kin. Consular officers may be able to obtain this themselves, or they may put you in touch directly with the authorities overseas. They may be able to provide you with details of others who can advocate on your behalf such as lawyers, charities, or other organisations.

Appointing a funeral director

There are no separate procedures for deaths involving road traffic accidents. Surrogacy is legally allowed in Kazakhstan and is regulated by several legal acts. As per the local law all expenses related to the surrogacy before the birth and 56 days after should be covered by the contracted parents and not a surrogate mother. After the birth or extraction of a baby from the body of surrogate mother, the contracted parents have full custody over the child. You can find information on UK compensation for victims of terrorism overseas Normally the local authorities will not be forthcoming with their updates and will not proactively reach out to inform the family. Language may be a barrier as well. The family will have to establish a contact with police themselves or appoint a representative to enquire on the progress of the investigation. Standard working hours of the Public Services Centres are between 09:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday. Some locations have extended working hours until as late as 20:00, some may be able to accept applications on public holidays and weekends, however certificate will be issued on the working day. Staff rarely speak English, so you will need help of Kazakh or Russian speaker. Once you have the medical certificate of death, you can apply for an official death certificate. The issuing authority is local RAGS (Civil Status Registration Office) but applications should be submitted to the local office of Public Services Centre that covers area where the person died. RAGS issues certificate in both Kazakh and Russian languages within 1-3 days. Documents required for registering death are:

Registering the death and obtaining a death certificate

In order to avoid identity fraud, the passport of the person who died should be cancelled with HM Passport Office (HMPO). To do this, you will need to complete a “D1 form”. It is very important to check if the person who died had insurance. If they had insurance, contact the insurance company as soon as possible. They may have a list of approved funeral directors to help you make arrangements, or be able to cover some of the costs. A death certificate can be issued to close relatives or those who had custody of the deceased. Proof of relationship or custody will be required, and if not available the registrar can issue a reference letter confirming that the death has been registered instead of a death certificate. Other relatives, friends or funeral directors can apply for and collect the death certificate by presenting a notarised power of attorney from the next of kin. If you are not in the UK, you can find the contact details of the nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate online Same sex marriages are not recognised under local law, and civil partnerships cannot be registered in Kazakhstan, thus it would be impossible to prove the relationship to the deceased. However, unmarried or same sex partner may be allowed to act as next of kin if there is no other alternative. A medical certificate of death contains personal details such as full name, gender, passport number, date and place of birth, residential address, date and place of death, name of the person who carried out a post mortem, medical condition and cause of death. A detailed forensic report will not be available at this time and may take 30 days or more to be prepared.

  • application form. Template will be provided by the Public Services Centre
  • medical certificate of death (Form № 045/y) issued by hospital, mortuary or forensic institute
  • passport of the deceased (if passport is not available, this needs to be explained in the application form)
  • notarised power of attorney from next of kin if application is submitted by representative or funeral director
  • Court Act, if death is established by court decision
  • proof of relationship to the deceased (in some cases this may not be required)

You can find more information on the steps to take in the UK online. This includes information on arranging the funeral, telling the government about the death, UK pensions and benefits, and dealing with the estate of the person who died. There is a step-by-step guide on gov.uk. Please note, as each country has its own laws and customs when a death occurs, it may not be possible to make the arrangements that you prefer, or at the time you would like. The next of kin of the person who has died will usually need to decide between a local burial, cremation or bringing the person home, which is known as repatriation. Your funeral director will usually be able to explain the options available, the costs, and help you make arrangements. For repatriation purposes, you should immediately contact the insurance company that can arrange repatriation. If there is no insurance, next of kin will need to appoint a local undertaker who can deal with the customs and airlines, prepare the paperwork and obtain the necessary permissions for shipment. The Embassy has prepared a list of local funeral directors in Kazakhstan

Consular death registration

The neonatal period starts from 28 weeks of pregnancy and includes the birth and 7 full days of child’s life (168 hours).

Post mortem examinations (autopsies)

The Kazakh law on marriage and family gives the Kazakh legal definition of close relatives (‘близкие родственники’) and they are parents (including adoptive parents), children (including adopted children), siblings and half-siblings, grandparents, grandchildren. The local authorities will need to be told if the person suffered from an infectious disease such as hepatitis or HIV so they can take precautions against infection. State language in Kazakhstan is Kazakh while Russian has a status of official language. Most of the Government documentation is in Kazakh, but Russian is also widely used in a day-to-day life. Staff at the Government organisations speak both languages. A good percentage of young people in country can speak at least basic English. The older generation do not speak English. You will need an interpreter to assist you when applying for documentation. This information is not meant to be definitive, nor is it to be taken as a substitute for independent legal advice. Neither His Majesty’s Government nor its staff take any responsibility for the accuracy of the information, nor accept liability for any loss, costs, damage or expense that you might suffer as a result of relying on the information. Some of the information may not be relevant to your circumstances. The language used is intended to be general and factual and is not meant to cause offence. There is a lot of information below, but you may have questions. You can speak to someone by phone 24/7, any day of the year by contacting the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in London on 0207 008 1500. You do not need to register the death with the UK authorities. The local death certificate can usually be used in the UK for most purposes, including probate. If it is not in English, you will need to obtain and pay for an official translation. The Embassy has a list of translators/interpreters.

Mortuary facilities

Please note if a local burial or cremation takes place, then an inquest in the UK will not be possible. For more information on inquests, see the information on UK coroners and inquests. If you repatriate the person who died to Scotland, the Procurator Fiscal may decide to call for a Fatal Accidents or Injuries Inquiry. Personal belongings found on the deceased at the time of death are either handed over to the family, if they are present, or taken by the police. Any local undertaker will need a power of attorney from the next of kin to collect the belongings from police. The local police should produce an inventory which will be given to the family.

Burial, cremation, repatriation

If the local police have confirmed that they are investigating the death as a murder or manslaughter a dedicated team within the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office will be available to provide support, including by referring you to a specialised organisation. You can find more about what they can do online. During a post mortem organs will be removed from the body for examination and weighting, and after all the procedures everything will be inserted back. The sale of organs in Kazakhstan is strictly prohibited by law. Organs can be transplanted only with the prior permission of the donor or their close relatives. Some organ or tissue samples may be removed and retained for further testing if required. This is done in order to better understand the cause of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that might be present. Mortuary facilities in Kazakhstan are of a lower standard than in the UK. The cold storage facilities in regions may not be consistent with Astana standards. Mortuaries are usually attached to the hospitals, but there are also independent state mortuary facilities. Private funeral agencies can also provide cold storage on a paid basis. If you plan to repatriate the person who died to the UK, you may require their passport to do this. In these circumstances, you should cancel the passport after they have been repatriated. There are currently no cremation facilities available in Kazakhstan and local scattering of ashes will not be possible. The newly built cremation facility in Almaty is not functioning yet. The closest cremation facilities are in Russian cities Novosibirsk and Chelyabinsk. If you decide to bring the deceased to the UK for burial or cremation, you may only need to appoint an international funeral director. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office produces a list of international funeral directors based in the UK. If a person dies outside of hospital, police must be informed immediately to record the death. A police officer will issue a protocol and will arrange for the deceased to be delivered to the mortuary or forensic centre for post mortem. In most cases the post mortem is done within 24 hours, after that the deceased can be released for burial or repatriation. The family will not be charged for the post mortem examination and storage for up to three days. After the three days grace you will be permitted to purchase extra days of storage, if required, paid up front. If there is an ongoing investigation of an unnatural death, the investigating authorities may require the body to be stored in a mortuary for a longer period.

  • permission from Customs for transportation which is issued based on submission of the following documents
  • death certificate or medical certificate of death (or a notarised copy of one of these documents)
  • a letter (Act) from a funeral director to confirm there were no foreign objects in the coffin before it was sealed, and a list of items that will accompany the deceased (passport, personal belongings)
  • medical certificate from Health Inspection Services that is issued based on a confirmation of embalming and death certificate
  • contacts and/or guarantee letter from a receiving company in the UK
  • local authorities may require a letter of no objection from the British Embassy to authorise repatriation. We can issue a letter of no objection if we have written permission from the next of kin

The British Embassy will do whatever they can to trace the next of kin as soon as possible and would ask UK police to pass on the sad news. You might be notified about death directly by someone else, for example a friend, a doctor or police officer, an employer or a colleague. A post mortem (autopsy) will be carried out in most cases and is mandatory when the death is not by natural causes and cause of death is unclear or unknown. When a person dies in a hospital, the cause of death is known and there is a full medical history of the patient, next of kin can request the head doctor of the hospital not to perform a post mortem.

Return of personal belongings

In some cases, it may be necessary to have a further post mortem (autopsy) in the UK even though one has been carried out overseas. The local authorities will not provide translation or interpretation in English. You can find more information on Coroners and the Procurator Fiscal in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office guide on Death Abroad. If the person who died did not have insurance, the next of kin will usually have to appoint a funeral director and will usually be responsible for all costs. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office cannot help with these costs.

Steps to take in the UK

If an offender is identified and charged, the pre-trial court may decide to remand the suspect in custody for the duration of investigation, initially for 2 months but can be extended. If a suspect has been detained but then let go they can be investigated again. Once the investigation has concluded the case will be passed to a Public Prosecutor, who will either order a trial, file the case if there are insufficient grounds or evidence to prosecute or extend the period of the investigation.

British passport cancellation

It is possible but not mandatory to visit the mortuary to identify the deceased. In some cases local funeral directors arrive at the location of the death as soon as the police or ambulance leave. Although they will be very well informed of local practices and procedures, their services might be more expensive. If the person who died had insurance, check with the insurance company if this covers the return of their personal belongings. Otherwise, the costs for the return of belongings to the family, including shipping overseas, will need to be covered by the next of kin.

Child deaths

Please note, the British Embassy, cannot take responsibility for the personal belongings of the deceased. When someone dies outside the hospital, police must be informed as soon as possible and the deceased cannot be taken to the mortuary until the police officer issues a protocol. If a death is registered as suspicious, police will investigate in full and will request a forensic examination of a body. The results of forensic examination should be available in 30 days, or longer. Please note, Procurators Fiscal and Coroners do not have jurisdiction in another country, nor do they seek to apportion blame to a named individual. You should note that if the deceased is repatriated to parts of the UK a coroner or procurator fiscal may decide to hold an inquest. See the section on UK Coroners and inquests below. Under local procedures, the police will notify the next of kin of a death. When the next of kin is in the UK or abroad and police are unable to establish the next of kin in country, they will notify the British Embassy or local employer. The local authorities very rarely contact the Embassy directly and if need to they send a Diplomatic Note via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which may take 3 to 7 days. If you repatriate the person who died to Northern Ireland, there will be no coronial inquest or further inquiry. Passport of the deceased may be retained by RAGS in case of local burial. RAGS will submit it to the Migration Service by the end of the corresponding month and it will then be returned to the British Embassy via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This process can take a considerable amount of time. If you wish, you may hire a lawyer or an interpreter yourself. The Embassy has a list of local translators/interpreters and a list of English speaking lawyers.

Deaths in road traffic accidents

When the case reaches the judicial stage, it may take several months for it to conclude.

Deaths investigated as murder or manslaughter

A birth certificate cannot be issued in this case. If requested by parents, local authorities can issue a document confirming the fact of state registration of a stillborn child. A post mortem will be carried out and police will be notified. Exceptionally, by request of parents and when a full history of pregnancy is available the head of medical organisation may decide not to perform the post mortem. Local authorities will not call the next of kin if they are in the UK or abroad. If you are not in Kazakhstan, you will need to appoint a representative or funeral director by issuing a power of attorney. Local authorities do not normally share information on the progress of any investigation into the cause of death; you will need to pro-actively approach the police to get information or updates. Stillbirth in Kazakhstan is defined as fetal death at or after 28 weeks of pregnancy before the extraction from mother’s body and when the baby shows no signs of life. Next of kin can apply for a copy of death certificate via the Public Services Centre. A duplicate can be issued within 5 days, but if a referral has to be made to other authorities, the processing time can be extended up to 30 days. The following information will be required: full name and residential address of the deceased, date and place of death registration, reason for requesting a duplicate, ID or passport details of the applicant. If the date of death registration is unknown, this may require an investigation and delay in processing the request. You may be able to apply for a copy of death certificate from outside the country via the Kazakh Embassy. If a family is unable to pay for funeral arrangements, or it is impossible to find and contact the next of kin or other relative/friend, unclaimed remains can be stored in a mortuary for up to 20 days and after that the Communal Services Department of the city administration office will arrange a burial at a local cemetery at their expense. In case of a stillbirth or child death during neonatal period the hospital staff will record the fact of birth in RAGS (Civil Status Registration Office) and then the fact of death providing parent (s) with the Medical certificate of neonatal death (form № 046/y) issued by the hospital pathologist. You will need to make a formal request for legal aid. Most of the time the state appointed lawyer will not speak English and you may request a translator as well. The lawyer will be provided by the Bar Association of the city/region where legal aid is required. The result of post mortem is a medical certificate of death (Form № 045/y). The document contains personal details of the deceased, observations of pathologist and cause of death. Next of kin can officially request a detailed post mortem report. The detailed forensic report should be issued within 30 days. On practice and depending on the capacity of the forensic centre this can take up to 2-2.5 months. The medical certificate of death as well as post mortem report will be in Kazakh or Russian. Funeral directors will have as much authority as the next of kin allows them to have by issuing a power of attorney. Funeral director will be able to apply for and collect an official death certificate on your behalf; arrange for it to be translated and apostilled for use overseas; arrange local burial or repatriation; liaise with airlines, customs and funeral director in the UK; request and collect any additional documents relating to the deceased from local authorities such as forensic report; arrange for the personal belongings of the deceased to be returned to the next of kin.

UK coroners and inquests

The local murder rate in Kazakhstan is relatively low. All deaths in Kazakhstan must be registered. The mortuary or forensic institute where the post mortem took place will issue a medical certificate of death (also known as Form № 045/y). In most cases, this document will be enough to arrange local burial or repatriation. Mortuaries can charge for additional days of storage beyond their standard times. If there is an investigation into the death, items that constitute evidence related to the cause of death are not returned until the court case is finished. The next of kin of the person who died will usually need to make decisions and practical arrangements. The next of kin can sometimes appoint another person to act on their behalf.

The medical organisation is in charge of arranging a local burial of a stillborn child or a child who died during neonatal period. Parents may ask to arrange local burial or repatriation themselves. Next of kin can decide whether they wish for the body to be embalmed. Depending on the circumstances embalming may be necessary and it normally takes place after the post mortem. Local funeral directors provide a wide range of services including ablution, dressing, embalming, barber services etc. The local authorities will need to be told if the person suffered from an infectious condition such as hepatitis or HIV so they can take precautions against infection.


If there is a dispute over who should be acting as the next of kin, the local law applies the line of succession outlined in the Civil Code, however in practice co-residents of the deceased may have priority: When a relative or friend dies abroad, the different procedures, laws or language can cause additional distress. You may be uncertain about what to do or who to contact.

Translation and interpretation

All paperwork in Kazakhstan is in Kazakh or Russian, and officials rarely speak English. You will need assistance of a translator if you do not speak local languages. Documents that are not in Kazakh or Russian will need to be translated and notarised. You will need to register the death with the local authorities in the country where the person died. A funeral director or anyone else who you appoint with power of attorney can do this for you. You will usually need documents about you and the person who has died, which include information such as full name, date of birth and passport number.

Additional support

Local support organisations

Embalming is mandatory in case of repatriation, and the funeral director can advise on the type of embalming required in each specific case. The body must be transported in an airproof sealed zinc coffin (container). The container must be delivered to the cargo terminal of the airport no later than 4 hours before the flight and the following documentation will need to be prepared beforehand:

Support organisations in the UK

If you repatriate the person who died to England and Wales, there may be an inquest. The decision on when to hold an inquest is made by HM Coroner. Please note, an inquest will usually only happen in certain situations, for example, when someone has died in suspicious, unnatural, and violent circumstances or whilst in detention. If the person who died is cremated and only their ashes are brought home, there will not be an inquest.



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