Disposition of Remains Report – Turkmenistan (September, 2019)

Part I. Name of Country: Turkmenistan
Part II. U.S. Embassy Information
U.S. Embassy
Address: 9 Pushkin Street, Ashgabat, 744000, Turkmenistan
Phone: Country code 993, Area Code 12 Number 940045
Phone number for emergencies:
During regular business hours: Country Code 993, Area Code 12 Number 940045
After hours: Country Code 993, Area Code 63 Number 047683

State Department Country Specific Information on Turkmenistan
State Department Travel Information
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Return of Remains of Deceased Americans

Part III. Profile of Religions of the Host Country and Religious Services Available to Visitors
Country profile: Visit the State Department’s Website “Background Note: Turkmenistan”

Religions: Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, other 2%

Religious Services available to visitors: Mosques are open for religious prayers throughout the country and services are usually held in Russian. Russian Orthodox Christianity is the main form of Christianity in Turkmenistan and churches are located in Ashgabat and other major cities. Catholic mass is celebrated at the Embassy of Apostolic Nunciature in Ashgabat and the service is available in English and Russian.

Part IV. Funeral Directories, Morticians and Related Services Available in Ashgabat

DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons of firms. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance.

There is only one mortuary in Ashgabat. It is state-operated and provides casket sales and lay out services. Municipal morgues provide embalming and autopsy services.

Ashgabat City Mortuary
80, 2023 Street (Former Myati Kosayeva Street), Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Contact: Mergen Ovezov
Office:(+99312) 362787 Mobile: (+99365) 502524

Provides a wide range of services including providing caskets, preparing burial spot in the local cemetery, transportation services related to the funeral, and arranging for the burial. The mortuary can also provide zinc coffins for shipment.

There is one cemetery available for burial. It is located outside of Ashgabat at Choganly place. There is no charge for burial plots. The labor cost for burials is TM 60 Turkmen Manat (TM).

Languages: Russian and Turkmen.

Ashgabat City Morphology Center
Choganly Pl., Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Contact: Ilaman Rejepov
Office: (+993 12) 739341 or 739127
Mobile: (+993 65)405500

Services provided include autopsy, embalming, removal of liquids from the body, and storage of the body.

Ashgabat City Niyazov Hospital
11 Oguzkhan Street, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Tel: (+993 12) 438527, 438466

Services provided include autopsy, embalming, removal of liquids from the body, and storage of the body.

In most cases, foreign citizens will be charged in U.S. dollars (USD). Based on the official exchange rate of September 24, 2019, USD1.00 = 3.5 Turkmen Manat. The current exchange rate can be looked up at: https://www.cbt.tm/kurs/kurs_today_en.html

The overall cost of preparation of the body for burial or shipment, including embalming, dressing, and cosmetics is around USD 100-200.

  • Coffin for local burial: USD 100-200. If the deceased has no relatives or friends to make final arrangements, the body will be buried at the expense of the Government of Turkmenistan.
  • Zinc casket enclosed in a hardwood coffin for international transportation: USD 500-2,000
  • Autopsy: USD 20
  • Embalming of autopsied remains: USD 30
  • Embalming of non-autopsied remains: USD 40
  • Washing, shaving, make up, dressing: USD 20
  • Removal of liquids from the body: USD 10
  • Storage of the body, per day: USD 10

The prices for services vary and change often. The most accurate data may be obtained by contacting these institutions directly.

PART V. Profile of services available in Turkmenistan regarding preparation and shipment of remains

  1. Maximum Period Before Burial
    Turkmen law does not specify the maximum time period in which a body must be interred. Muslim traditions dictate that the body be interred the same day or, if the death had occurred late in the day, the next day. The local laws provide for a guaranteed storage of bodies for up to two days at morgues when immediate interment is not possible. This period can be extended to three days if the next-of-kin of the deceased have not been reached.
  2. Embalming
    Embalming is not a widespread practice in Turkmenistan before most interments. Embalming is required if the body needs to be shipped out of country. Embalming services are available at the Morphology Center and also at Niyazov Hospital.
  3. Cremation
    Cremation is not a practice in Turkmenistan and cremation services are unavailable.
  4. Caskets and containers
    The Ashgabat City Mortuary can provide coffins and caskets. They also can provide zinc coffins which are used for international shipments.
  5. Exportation of Remains
    Exportation of the body to the United States will be a costly process due to expensive air cargo rates. The body must be shipped in a zinc coffin placed in a wooden container. The following are step by step instructions for international shipment:

 Step 1. The local medical facility (morgue or hospital) issues a medical assessment report. It is usually issued immediately upon death as a result of natural causes. It is recommended to request embalming as soon as possible. In cases where death has not occurred as a result of natural causes, a law enforcement investigation will take place and next steps will depend on the nature of the case.

 Step 2. The morgue will request the next-of-kin’s statement of consent or non-consent for an autopsy within 24 hours. The autopsy is mandatory and not optional in cases where death has not occurred as a result of natural causes. 

Step 3. The district Civil Registry Office issues a death certificate based on the medical assessment report.

Step 5. Shipment logistics should be arranged with the airlines.

Step 6. The preparation of the body for shipment should be arranged with the mortuary (zinc casket, transportation of the body from the morgue to the airport, sealing the casket etc.). 

Step 7. For outgoing shipment of remains the government requires representatives from the following government agencies to be present during the sealing of the zinc casket:

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • The State Customs Office
  • The State Border Service
  • The State Migration Service
  • The National Security Service
  • The mortuary service
  • A representative from the Embassy of the deceased foreign citizen’s home country

All members should sign and place their seal on the “Act of Disposition of Remains” document. This is a statement confirming the casket contains only human remains and also a certificate of export. Note that the remains must be embalmed prior to export.

  1. Costs
    For travel within Turkmenistan:
    Internal transportation by truck from regions – USD 150-300For International Export of Remains

Via Lufthansa:

  • Airway bill fee and handling fee – USD 10-30 based on gross weight
  • Human remains cargo fee: USD 170
  • Airfreight surcharge 0,83 USD/1kg based on weight (subject to change)
  • Washington (IAD Airport) – USD 23 per kg
  • New York – USD 23 per kg
  • Boston – USD 23 per kg
  • Chicago – USD 23 per kg
  • Atlanta – USD 23 per kg
  • Dallas – USD 23 per kg
  • Miami – USD 23 per kg
  • Houston – USD 23 per kg
  • Los Angeles – USD 23 per kg
  • San-Francisco – USD 23 per kg
  • Philadelphia – USD 23 per kg

Via Turkish Airlines: 

  • Airway bill fee and handling fee – USD 17 + USD 40
  • Airfreight fuel and security surcharge 0,25 USD/1kg based on weight
  • Washington (IAD Airport) – USD 15 per kg
  • New York – USD 15 per kg
  • Boston – USD 15 per kg
  • Chicago – USD 15 per kg
  • Atlanta – USD 15 per kg
  • Dallas – USD 15 per kg.
  • Miami – USD 15 per kg
  • Houston – USD 15 per kg
  • Los Angeles – USD 15 per kg
  • San-Francisco – USD 15 per kg
  1. Exhumation
    Exhumation is not available in Turkmenistan.
  2. Autopsies
    The autopsy is mandatory if the death occurred due to unnatural causes and in cases where Law Enforcement is involved. Family members of the diseased can also request an autopsy. The request should be in writing. The autopsy can be done at Morphology Center or at the Niyazov Hospital in Ashgabat.
  3. Local Customs Regarding Funerals, Disposition of Remains, Mourning, Memorial Services
    According to Muslim traditions, the death is announced immediately to neighbors, relatives and friends. All try to visit the grieving home the same day or the next day if the death occurred late at night. The burial is almost always within 24 hours of death. All present men attend a special prayer service called a “Jinaza”. Only men go to the cemetery for the funeral. Relatives and friends continue visiting the family for the next three days to support them and to recite short prayers in the memory of the deceased. Several special remembrance events are held after 3, 7, 30 and 40 and 365 days after the death. Thirty day remembrance traditions vary by region.

According to local Christian traditions, the body may be kept for more than a day, but interment is arranged as soon as possible.